Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hillary's Home Run

Center field, over the bleachers, into the parking lot, with three on base.

Well, a bit of hyperbole perhaps, maybe in part due to contrast with prior rhetoric, but this was well done. It was the work of a statesman statesperson. It was what the Democratic Party needed, and John McCain is reaching for the DiGel.

Those who dislike her saw the beginning of her speech as more of her self-rhetoric, but she was not speaking about herself. Listen carefully, she was speaking about her people – the people who campaigned for her, who donated to her campaign, who sustained her. She spoke of them with warmth and gratitude, and with every word she drew the crowd in. She transformed the mood. She made the crowd part of the moment.

So that when she announced the suspension of her campaign and her endorsement of Barack Obama she drew resounding cheers.

Her endorsement of Obama was on a party line basis rather than being personal, and that is entirely understandable and reasonable. In fact, to become personally effusive in this speech would have been in poor taste. An endorsement given as graciously and unreservedly as hers was in this speech, is above reproach. She did not stop with her own endorsement, she urged her supporters to join her in that support. This was everything that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party could have hoped for.

Remember the speech that Obama made about race after the Jeremiah Wright issue? Hillary Clinton should get the same degree of credit for the last part of this speech that he got for that one, because she made the same speech about the gender divide.

When she began, my first thought was that she was going to blame gender for her loss. She did not. What she did say is that the “glass ceiling” is a fact in our society, and it is not going to go away just because we don’t talk about it. She than talked about it in much the same way that Obama, earlier, had talked about race, not with rancor but as a wound in our society that is healing but is still unhealed and cannot be merely covered with a bandage. There is work still to be done, she says, and she intends to continue to lead the way in doing that work.

Well, says this 65-year-old male, I’m with you on that.

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