Hillary Clinton: Booyah!

August 26, 2008 by barbara

barbara writes

Hillary Clinton’s Tuesday night speech at the Democratic convention will be sliced and diced, micro’d and macro’d, critiqued in extremis. It is the way of things. So I thought I’d write a few lines before we’re all influenced by the punditocracy.

I was nervous about her speech. Found myself holding my breath for a while, wondering what she might say. Turns out she was terrific, start to finish.

David Brooks, of all people, scooped my scoop. I was blown away by the question Hillary put to her supporters. In essence, what she asked was whether they were supporting her or Democratic principles. A poignant and pointed query, since some have not yet begun to heal from Barack Obama’s emergence as the presumptive Democratic candidate. Read on.

Much of the time she was speaking, I tried to think how I might have felt had Obama been in Hillary’s place. And I wondered how he might have reached out to me, to us, while at the same time attempting to build a bridge, bind deep wounds, set the course for what is yet to come.

It’s hard to imagine how much pressure was brought to bear on Hillary Clinton to deliver what must surely be one of the most pivotal speeches of this campaign. “So, Hillary. What you need to do is get out there and comfort your supporters, reassure Obama’s supporters, gather in the undecideds, say nothing that McNasty can use against you or Obama (good luck with that!), and be gracious and composed throughout. Any questions?”

It was interesting to see the cameras take in the reactions of Michelle Obama, Joe Biden, Chelsea Clinton and assorted delegates. The tension was almost palpable. How will this go? How will it be received by the convention? By the pissy press? By the savages who represent the Bush Republicans in the media?

I wondered all through her speech what she might be feeling, thinking. It had to be an immensely difficult thing to have to do. If she’s still there Thursday night, another rough row to hoe.

There is no way to say this without sounding disingenuous. So I’ll just put it out there and be done. Hillary supporters? I know you must be proud. I hope you’re okay. I mean that.

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