The Resurrection of Hillary Clinton
October 22, 2008 3 Comments
Or “Hillary comes around.”
It’s not that we don’t like her – I voted for her in 2000 – or that we did not think she was qualified for the job, it’s that (as we repeatedly stated) she did not represent the type of change the country needs at this time and because of the polarizing nature of her personality, name and history, we believed that even if she could eke out a victory (I still maintain she would have lost), it would be of the 50+1 variety, resulting in the same partisan gridlock we have seen for decades in Washington.
Plus, the country would have continued the same, stupid tye-dye era fights we’ve been waging since the Vietnam era, despite the fact that all that happened 40 years ago.
Even today, we see the attempts at this with the McCampaign’s continued focus on Bill Ayers and his doings back when Obama was 8.
That being said, as we have stated before, Hillary is absolutely needed in the Senate, where her wonkish ways, attention to policy detail and brutal political gamesmanship would come in very handy. We need her in there on Capitol Hill making the legislative sausage. And here’s hoping she becomes a Lion of the Senate in the Teddy Kennedy mold.
But at the same time, Hillary was repeatedly chided and often vilified through the primaries because of her poor strategy (the big state/white voter/experience strategy) as well as her tactics (that “as far as I know” he’s a Christian bullshit, for example) that made her come off as a visionless, domineering type who was so hungry for power she was willing to burn the Democratic party in order to save it, another Vietnam-era bit of bullshit that thankfully did not work.
Initially, following Obama’s victory in the primaries, the Clintons were cold and distant toward the new standard-bearer. There seemed to be no love lost between the two camps and questions began to arise about Hillary potentially sabotaging Obama’s chances in order to keep her own 2012 dream alive and/or force her way onto the ticket.
In the run-up to the convention, Hillary supporters – who took the loss personally – were in open revolt, vowing to vote for McCain despite his not having anything in common with Hillary and blaming the media – which people forget crowned Hillary the nominee back in late 07) – for her loss.
But at the convention, the Clintons seemed to quash their beef with Obama. Hillary herself moved Obama’s nomination, ending a potential floor fight. And though her speech seemed to be more about herself and about the democrats than about Obama, Bill Clinton’s convention speech knocked it out of the park for the new nominee.
Since then, the pair have been campaigning for Obama in their own way.
At first, Hillary’s approach seemed odd to me, but at least it seemed heart-felt. She still seemed to think she would be the better candidate, but because we could see that, her campaigning for Obama comes off to me as honest. Sure, she was just setting herself up for 2012, but it really didn’t look as though she was sabotaging him in any way.
She made the case in September as to why voters should support Barack Obama, why it would be in their best interest and why it would dangerous and stupid to vote for McCain. She still hadn’t quite bought into Obama but because she wasn’t over-the-top, her message came off more sincere than we might otherwise expect after the brutal primary campaign:
Drawing cheers and applause from the 1,600 people in the room, Mrs. Clinton said that “we must work as hard as we possibly can” to elect Mr. Obama, and suggested that her supporters needed to put aside personal loyalty to her former candidacy and embrace him as the best hope for their interests.
“Who are you for?” Mrs. Clinton said. “That’s the wrong question. It should be: Who is for you? Who will fight for you?”
and this is a killer line:
After someone in the audience yelled, “Tell us about Palin,” Mrs. Clinton replied: “I don’t think that’s what this election is about. Anybody who believes that the Republicans, whoever they are, can fix the mess they created probably believes that the iceberg could have saved the Titanic.”
She doesn’t attack (though I am sure her expression was great – she’s a pro, she’ll communicate in a way that isn’t quotable), but she subtly points out that the Republicans are trying to change the topic and trick voters with their new “change” message (something she tried and failed).
But that was then and things have changed.
This week, Nightline ran an interview from a rally in Florida where Hillary walked into the shot and she and Obama looked very natural and very friendly and Hillary gave a rousing endorsement.
And you know what? It’s because she finally seems to get it.
She said something about how Obama actually represents that change and doesn’t just say it.
And more importantly, she seems to know why she lost and I think she not only accepts it, but understands.
“We’re going to win,” Clinton said. “We are going to win. This campaign has so much momentum for all the right reasons…”
Clinton said Obama “is offering the kind of change that is needed. It’s not just a campaign slogan. It is absolutely at the root of everything he stands for. The more I campaign across the country, I am seeing people really make up their minds that they are really voting for themselves by voting for Obama.”
Exactly. It’s not just a campaign slogan. It may have taken Hillary a long, long time to understand that, but now that she does and is on board, she is a formidable ally.
More than a campaign, Obama is at the head of a new, generational movement. Even Colin Powell saw that. It’s why he endorsed him.