HILLARY’S SPEECH….I just finished watching Hillary’s concession speech and it seemed pretty strong to me. I’m sure folks like Sullivan will find something to carp about (perhaps that the speech was, admittedly, a little heavy on self-congratulation), but it was basically a pretty good balance between appealing to her supporters (hence the self-congratulation) and throwing her full support behind Barack Obama. We all know Hillary isn’t the greatest public speaker in the world, and as usual she sounded a little forced at times, but overall it was as much as anyone could have expected, I think. She did a good job, and it’s the kind of speech she probably should have given more of during the campaign itself.
Like a lot of people, I wish Hillary had pulled out of the race earlier. But I never got too bent out of shape that she didn’t. I always figured that as long as she didn’t make the nomination into a convention floor fight (and I didn’t think she would), the damage from the extended campaign would be pretty minor. And that’s pretty much how it turned out: Obama is in fine shape, Hillary’s attacks were mostly fairly routine for a tight race like this (bloggers who have gone ballistic over her behavior really need to get a reality check on this score), and supporters on both sides went over the line several times. There was both race-baiting and misogyny on full display in this campaign, and on that score neither side has much to be proud of.
But that’s not why she lost and Obama won, anyway. I agree with Katha Pollitt and others that the war was probably the key issue that gave Obama the wedge he needed to mount a challenge. Beyond that there was just the plain fact that Obama ran a very, very good campaign and Hillary ran a very, very mediocre one.
We’ll see what happens next, but I fully expect Hillary to work tirelessly and genuinely for Obama. I don’t think she’s holding out hope for 2012, I don’t think she wants to be Obama’s vice president, and I don’t think she’s going to try to subtly sabotage his campaign.
In any case, it’s over. Any Clinton supporters who plan to stay home or vote for John McCain are flat crazy and need to return to reality ASAP. Obama supporters who can’t let go of the Hillary hatred need to do the same. On to November.