Archive for August 17th, 2008

Hillary Clinton’s hour

It seems I’m in a zone of talking electoral politics the past few days. I’ll snap out of it soon. Today will be a short one.

The media seems to be full of commentary that Obama has “blinked” and given in to Hillary Clinton to allow her not only to speak at the convention, but have a major prime time role, and roll call vote. To many, Obama is risking letting her take center stage.

I have no idea how anyone can think a campaign that was so disciplined and successful to this point would really make such an error in judgment. Hillary and Bill will speak in a way that will not only urge her delegates to vote for Obama (many would anyway) but give passionate support for Obama’s Presidency. The reason is simple: if Hillary is to have any chance to run as the Democratic nominee in 2012 she has to both distance herself from the anti-Obama ‘puma’ folk who have gone into full groupthink mode and seem to have lost touch with reality, and she has to erase any impression that she in any way, shape or form hindered an Obama victory. If people blame her and her supporters for a potential Obama defeat, she’ll have no chance four years from now. Of course, that’s for the cynical. It’s probably the case that she wants Obama to defeat McCain and have a Democratic majority, so as a Senate leader she can craft historic legislative accomplishments.

So expect Hillary and Bill to be talking about Obama, in a way that is passionate, and will have Obama’s supporters screaming approval. Expect Hillary to urge all her delegates to vote for Obama, and give the Republicans a strong message. Expect the hopes of some for some kind of divided and bitter conference to be completely dashed. If Hillary can pull this off, she’ll erase lingering doubts that a lot of people have concerning her trustworthiness in supporting Obama and having it not be “all about her.” Bill Clinton also has a chance to regain his position as a party statesman, an ex-President the Democrats can be proud of. His reputation is now tarnished, a strong performance in favor of Obama will go far to redeem him.

There is no way Hillary can gain the nomination. Obama’s raised a lot of money, she’s in debt, and Obama has an army of committed volunteers ready to fight in the fall. If all this got turned around by insider “super delegates,” the Democratic party would collapse. The party leaders know that, they won’t let that happen. More importantly, Hillary knows that. If she really had wanted to fight it out in Denver, she’d not have ceased her campaign and called so aggressively for unity.

So expect a lovefest between Obama and the Clintons. They may not mean it, but it will not only go far to undo the bitterness of the campaign, but help Hillary and Bill recover from the beatings their reputation took towards the end of the campaign. It’s Hillary’s hour, moreso if she gifts it to Obama.