Hillary’s Perfect Metaphor

by lestro

Last night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver (you know, the one where the Dems are going to nominate Barack Obama as the first African American to ever top a major party ticket) Hillary Clinton was given a hero’s welcome unlike anything I have ever seen for a vanquished contender.

And while there were thoughts that Hillary might pull a Reagan and upstage the candidate (valid thoughts, given the whole placing her name into nomination and the fact that about 20 percent of her supporters still won’t support the candidate), Clinton gave a rousing speech that while lackluster in its support, contained all the right words about party unity.

From the very beginning of her speech, Hillary made it clear that she supports Barack Obama (though again today, she made it very clear to her delegates that she won’t advocate that they cast their votes for him) and her support is nice, but after that, the speech became an almost perfect Clintonian metaphor.

The speech was everything we’d expect in a Clinton speech: it was rousing, it was personal, it was emotional and it revved up the crowd. It really was a great speech that showed why she is a Top Dog in the party and why she deserved a primetime spot.

But the speech was also all about Hillary and her accomplishments, with an afterthought of support for her one-time opponent.

Yes, the words were there, but Hillary’s heart was not. Hillary’s heart, however, was very much in that vast middle section about her campaign and its accomplishments, which sounded suspiciously like the Hillary 2012 campaign kick-off.

And Hillary must be reading the Kiwi, as one part of her speech asked her supporters if they supported her or the ideals for which she fought:

I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

And judging by the interviews after and the polls and such, the answer is that about 20 percent of her supporters were Cult of Hillary members, expecting it was “their turn” to take a run at the presidency.

The August Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found just 52% of Clinton primary voters now say they plan to vote for Sen. Obama. An additional 21% say they will support Republican Sen. McCain, with the rest undecided or not planning to vote.

But Hillary also, in a pure Clintonian move, never admitted she was wrong about Obama, never took back the things she said (like that he is not fit to be Commander-in-Chief and she thinks that John McCain is, for example). She did not have much to say about Obama at all, and instead reinforced her role as the establishment candidate by ticking off reasons Democrats need to support Obama instead of McCain.

But more than anything, the perfect moment came towards the end of the speech, when Hillary brought the screaming and cheering crowd to its feet with a Harriet Tubman quote about having to “Keep going.”

If you hear the dogs, keep going.

If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

If they’re shouting after you, keep going.

Don’t ever stop. Keep going.

If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

And even in the darkest of moments, that is what Americans have done — we have found the faith to keep going.

But instead of recognizing that she’d reached a peak, a high point and that she should immediately turn it into a “so we need to keep going for Barack Obama! all the way to the White House!” Hillary let the moment die, watched everyone sit back down and finished the last two lackluster minutes of her speech.

I’ve seen it in you. I’ve seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military you always keep going.

We are Americans. We’re not big on quitting.

Just like the candidate she is, and in a perfect metaphor for why she lost, Hillary Clinton couldn’t see it was time to finish and stayed on the stage just a bit too long.  She literally had the crowd on their feet in a frenzy but she did not know how to hit a high note and get off the stage.

And I can’t think of a better metaphor than that.

3 Responses to Hillary’s Perfect Metaphor

  1. Pingback: Bubba-licious « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi

  2. crypticynic says:

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  3. Pingback: The Resurrection of Hillary Clinton « The Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi

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