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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hillary’s Speech

posted by on August 27 at 9:00 AM

As Annie mentioned in last night’s LiveSlog, while she was up in our increasingly messy work space…


…I was down on the floor of the convention hall watching Hillary Clinton address the delegates (and also Bill in his sky-box, and Michelle in hers, and the thousands of press people looking for any hint of on-stage peevishness).

It was so packed on the floor that one couldn’t really move. I was told to watch my elbows and had a lot of delegate flesh pressed up against me. But that’s not unusual. It seems, actually, to be a nightly occurrence on the floor. The people who come to Democratic conventions want to be at the center of it all—who wouldn’t, really?—so everyone’s always angling for a floor pass and, outside the hall, eying everyone else’s credentials to see if they got one.

Two nights ago I went out to the post-speech parties wearing a Hall Pass (which doesn’t get you on the floor), and got some “Yeah, me too” looks. Last night I went out wearing my Floor Pass and got a lot of compliments, questions, and “Wish I’d had one of those” looks.

The floor was great. Everyone seems drunk, either off the excitement of the moment or pre-speech boozing, and everyone’s there. I wiggled my way into a spot near the Pennsylvania delegation, and was standing next to Gov. Ed Rendell and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell (who definitely validates the notion that TV can makes a person seem taller). Convention staffers wearing neon traffic-cop-like vests ran back and forth hauling garbage bags full of placards and signs on long white cardboard tubes, passing them down the aisles at the appointed moments, yelling at certain enthusiastic delegates not to hold their “Hillary” signs aloft too soon.

I felt bad for Clinton when she walked onto the stage and the convention was all thunderous cheering and “Hillary” sign waving. If you didn’t know the back-story, you’d have thought by the crowd reaction that she was walking out to accept the Democratic nomination. She seemed to register this irony, and also the hard reality that Democrats love her—just not as much as him. That’s got to hurt.

She was magnanimous. Her “No way, no how, no McCain” line seems sure to join some of the other speakers’ catchy phrases from last night—”Four more months!” and “That’s not a maverick, that’s a sidekick”—in Obama surrogate talking points from here on out. And her appeal to her supporters to ask themselves what they were really supporting—a person or a set of principles, just Hillary Clinton or the veterans and teachers and invisible Americans she championed—was, I thought, her best, most selfless moment.

The deep affection Democrats have for Hillary Clinton (and Bill, who caused all manner of heads to turn when he entered his sky-box) recalled the reception Ted Kennedy received on Monday night. And this, it occurred to me on the floor, may be where Hillary Clinton is heading. The reality is that Kennedy is likely to die soon. Hillary, with her devotion to healthcare and her failed presidential bid and her stature within the party, is the natural heir to Ted Kennedy’s Senate role—the champion of needy Americans who tried for the presidency, lost, and returned to the Senate to become its leading voice on healthcare and other difficult liberal concerns.

That’s not the role she wanted. But it’s not a bad one to take on.

Full video of the Clinton speech is in the jump, and up tonight: Bill Clinton and Joe Biden.

RSS icon Comments


uh, I read that speech as "I'm hedging my bets 'cause Obama could lose and I'm setting myself up for a run in 2012". She praised Obama, somewhat, and urged her followers to get behind the Democratic candidate, but it was a very political speech and more about her and her followers and what lies ahead, than about the here and now...

Posted by michael strangeways | August 27, 2008 9:07 AM

so tired. so very very tired. can obama be president already? this charade wearies me.

Posted by max solomon | August 27, 2008 9:19 AM

uh ... Hillary said about 10 times at the end of each lead in something like - I amsoupporting Obama and wemust work to make him presidedn

just what more do people like you want?

she was as good as it get - it certainly rankswith one of the best convention speeches in the last 25 years by anyone ... she delivered her support, attacked Mc Cain and Bush - Twing ccity metaphor was gret - many other good quips.

AND, for all the style fags, her makeup was flawless the color yellow orange was perfect and the looked rested, not a moment of falter.

BY FAR the best speech so far by anyone and biggest audience - Hillary and Michelle are carrying the show so far - along with Kucihich who really got into a grove, but only had a five minute slot.

YOU Need to get that wax out of your ears and give her a break.

She will be presidedn, only a matter of time. What other wowman of stature can challenge her in he next twenty years?

Posted by mike | August 27, 2008 9:23 AM

Well said.

Posted by dawicksta | August 27, 2008 9:24 AM

The only way Clinton would have satisfied some people (ahem #1) was if she shoved a stick of dynamite into her vagina and lit the fuse.

I could care less which one of them won the competition for class prez, they are practically the same damn person.

Perpetuating the appearance of ideological difference between them is done only to continue putting off the orgasm.

Its time to stop stroking, Democrats, and come already for fucks sake.

Posted by patrick | August 27, 2008 9:24 AM

Yeah, infighting is the main reason why I'll never join a political party. Everyone needs to stop being so damn petty.

Posted by Tony | August 27, 2008 9:32 AM

@5, she may as well have stuck the stick of dynamite up there, God knows Bill ain't hitting it no more.

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 27, 2008 9:32 AM

Um, "mike", Hillary is almost 61. She's not going to be "presidedn" in twenty years. This was her shot, unless Obama loses.

Her speech was excellent. She will continue to be a huge asset to the Democratic party.

Posted by Fnarf | August 27, 2008 9:33 AM

She gave a great speech with some terrific lines. Way to go, Hillary! And thanks.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | August 27, 2008 9:34 AM

I think she went far beyond just giving a basic stamp of approval, and she did a terrific job; if she'd been able to give more speeches with this level of narrative, enthusiasm and dynamic delivery, she wouldn't be conceding. Further, she owed it to her followers to acknowledge the race that was run - that acknowledgement is key to encouraging their transition to Obama.

I think we're seeing some continued sexist foolishness as people report on how it was "calculated" for her own potential future run. She's a politician - of course she's preserving options; that's something no one gives a second thought to when it comes from Mark Warner or any other male politico - but it makes the headline when it's Hillary.

Posted by bohica | August 27, 2008 9:50 AM

Thanks for this , Eli. Well said.

I also felt bad for Hillary and suppose that the slow start of her speech last night may have been the result of the conflicting emotions she must have been battling. But, she really pulled it out and delivered the fire that made so many folks support her in the first place.

She lost my support in her Presidential bid a long time ago, but she's definitely an asset to the Party and will continue to do great things.

Bill bummed me out last night.

Posted by kerri harrop | August 27, 2008 9:51 AM

bohica, sexist how? do you know what that word mean, right?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | August 27, 2008 9:55 AM

@3 Was her makeup flawless? I thought I kept noticing some lipstick on her left, front tooth. Maybe it was just my TV.

Posted by Clint | August 27, 2008 10:03 AM

That was the Hillary I supported before January when her advisors started wrecking it all.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | August 27, 2008 10:08 AM

@2 I'm with you.

But, since we are going to gabble about it until election day no matter what, I've gotta say I am completely tired of the Clinton narrative. Let's get to the business of exposing McCain for the liar and hypocrite he is, and how dangerous his presidency would be to all but the wealthiest. It's much more exciting and is less about individual egos.

And I repeat, hot frigging pantsuit. That was some couture weight silk. It's rude to ask who made it, I guess? It would seem sexist or something?

Posted by It's Mark Mitchell | August 27, 2008 10:08 AM

"Champion of the needy"????

Hillary's original corporate health care reform package FAILED. We then heard peep from her on it for over a decade.

Has she ever repudiated ending welfare as we know it? No.

Has she ever repudiated NAFTA or the WTO for being passed without adequate provisions to help protect workers or the environment? No.

War on drugs? She supports it.

Her plan to pay for the programs she promoted on the campaign trail? More budget deficits, because she doesn't want to raise taxes on the upper middle class, and because she won't reduce military spending. Economic reality would have bitten her in the ass if elected, and we would have seen precious few of her promises materialize.

Hillary is NOT a champion of the poor. She flirted with the idea when she wrote an academic paper on Saul Alinsky in the 60s. But she didn't become an organizer. She got into politics and joined the Board of Wal-Mart.

She is no Ted Kennedy.

But she's a good leader for the DLC, with its elitist super-delegates and its fear of direct democracy and its worries that the party will cater too much to an activist base if its leaders don't create a firewall between themselves and the poor (especially African Americans) and focus more on middle class concerns.

Her populist rhetoric this election? An accident, stumbled upon in desperation, after Edwards stepped down and she needed to mobilize "white working class" support to save her campaign. It's sad that working class people were so desperate to have someone speak about the needs that they were willing to look past her record on these issues, which is middling at best.

Posted by Trevor | August 27, 2008 10:10 AM

1. that is one sad looking personal pizza box

2. this is why I'm glad that Clinton wasn't offered the VP spot. I would have loved to see her as president, but I think she's well suited to a a lifetime of great work in the Senate and we're lucky to have her there.

Posted by josh | August 27, 2008 10:26 AM

Also, here's how far Hillary's appeals for unity reach. She can't even convince her own husband to stick around for Obama's acceptance speech. And more than half her voters less than "solidly behind" Obama.

Many rank-and-file Hillary Clinton supporters said they would leave town after her speech last night. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, 42% of Clinton voters say they are "solidly behind" Obama.

Another 20% say they plan to vote for the Republican nominee, John McCain, even though he is solidly anti-abortion, staunchly supports the war in Iraq and differs dramatically from Clinton on most other policies.

Posted by Trevor | August 27, 2008 10:26 AM

It was a good speech, for her. Hillary has never been as good a speaker as Bill is, and doesn't have Bill's charisma.

Really, there isn't much difference, policy wise, between Hillary and Obama. Primary blather aside, 95% of their political views are identical. The main advantage Obama has is his charisma and his ability to give good speech.

This was probably as good a speech as Hillary has ever given, or will likely give. She did fine.

I think she needs to continue to give the same speech about a dozen more times between now and November. People will forget. Or won't quite be convinced yet. She needs to actively and publicly campaign for Obama, not just sit on the sidelines. She campaigned hard against him for many months; now she needs to campaign for him just as hard to help move her supporters to vote for Obama.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | August 27, 2008 10:28 AM

oh, sexist because people feel just fine about making jokes about her sticking dynamite up her vagina and stuff like that. That's all. Or, always subjecting her to withering suspicion of being ambitious and caluclating when we know for a fact that male politicians like LBJ or JFK or John Edwards of B. Obama are never, ever ambitious, nor calculating. Stuf like that.

Hey didja see the Gallup dailies whowing McCain ahead now?

It's all unfolding exactly as predicted. HEre's where Obama is falling short:

from Gallup:
PRINCETON, NJ -- Barack Obama has been struggling to maintain his Democratic base thus far in August, and according to weekly averages of Gallup Poll Daily tracking, the problem seems to be with conservative Democrats.

... The 63% of conservative Democrats supporting Obama over McCain in Aug. 18-24 polling is the lowest Obama has earned since he clinched the Democratic nomination in June. ....
As a result of this, support for Obama among all Democratic registered voters fell from 81% in early August (Aug. 4-10) to 78% last week (Aug. 18-24).

....The 78% of Democrats backing Obama from Aug. 18-24 ties for the lowest seen since early June.

He's dropping among Democrats. The theory propounded here, earning continual derision and sneers, is that Democrats lose when they elect Northern urban liberals; that the swing voters are not like you and me, they are the conservative Dems; and Obama doesn't have much connection to them; he lost them in the primaries; he must win those types of voters as Gibbs acknowledged this week (he said it all boils down to swing voters in Youngstown, Scranton and Macomb county MI); now that Obama stupidly passed up Clinton as VP, which would have united the party but made him uncorrtable with a rival so close at his heels for the next four years in the White House, we hope he will get it together to speak economics to these folks so we win, instead of the vague generalities about hope and change and the continued inability to attack McCain on our terms (rather than just respond to McCain's attacks, e.g., Michelle saying "I am too an American"). And again all the teeth knashing and moaning by Sloggers and others on board with Obama, calling the Bubbas racist and mulletheaded and trailer park trash as folks have done here on Slog, calling the Hillaryites who won't move over to OBama insane and deranged, doesn't do anything to get votes or win the election, but merely demonstrates how out of touch the Obama base is with politics, and with the voters who need to be won over.
Oh will the youth vote and higher turnout carry the day? I sure hope so. But why not add the Bubbas to the colation to to not just eke it out but to have that grand sweeping chagne election we need and that the Obama folks said we would get?

Remember when Kerry lost and everyone went around failing to get it how the country could vote that way? Most Democrats had no clue. This still seems to be true.

Maureen Dowd's column today referred to
Democrats as having a shtetl mentality.

What does this term mean if anyone knows?

Posted by PC | August 27, 2008 10:30 AM

When she mentioned Harriet Tubman, I wondered where that was going.

It was spine tingling. Tubman told the escaping slaves in the 1800's that when you hear the dogs don't look back, keep running; when you see the torches go faster, keep going ... Hillary then made it clear that quitters don't win, get to work and run to the end of this thing.

Win or lose fight the good fight. America is not the land of the quitters.

I loved it. Sounded like my dad and his old country folk wisdom.

Posted by Ted still in bed | August 27, 2008 10:34 AM

@PC Maureen Dowd took the lowest road possible today and should be ashamed of herself.

Posted by it'smarkmitchell | August 27, 2008 10:41 AM

shtetl (shttl, shttl)
n. pl. shtetls or shtet·lach (-lä)
A small Jewish town or village formerly found throughout Eastern Europe.

Posted by Andrew | August 27, 2008 10:47 AM

Frankly, I could care less what set of genitals makes it's home in Hilary's trousers, if I think her speech was crafty and calculating and politically and personally very astute. I would have expected the same of any candidate in her shoes. But, I had hoped for a little bit more, "let's get out there and make Barack Obama the next PUSA because he's the better candidate for the job". She went there, but I wished she'd had hit it a little harder...and the whole, "John McCain is a good man" bit was unnecessary and uncalled for and not at all helpful.

She gave a good speech overall; great for her and ok for Barack.

Posted by michael strangeways | August 27, 2008 11:19 AM

I thought the same thing while watching the Kennedy tribute. Hillary is gonna end up being a distinguished perma-senator. In the long run, might a person make more of an impact that way than as president? John Kennedy made bigger inspirational waves, but hasn't Ed Kennedy actually had a greater role in shaping our laws/government?

Posted by violet_dagrinder | August 27, 2008 11:54 AM

Oh, PC. Honestly. When one calls those supporters of Hillary Clinton who CAN'T LET GO crazy it doesn't translate into calling ALL of Hillary Clinton's supporters crazy. Or is reading comprehension not your strong suit?

Of course Obama needs votes. But the media's focus on the few lunatics out there does a disservice to the American public. And the insane PUMAs are playing into it. It's stupid. The vast majority of HRC supporters will vote for Obama. Fact. Move on.

Posted by Balt-O-Matt | August 27, 2008 12:29 PM

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