27 August 2008

How Hillary Clinton Made the Tent a Little Bigger

Last night after returning home from the Pepsi Center, I wrote the following in an email:

We just got home, still a little bit dazed by all the political star power. Hillary Clinton brought her A-game, and every single note rang as well as it possibly could have throughout the halls of the Pepsi Center.

Here's a thought that's haunted me this evening: If Clinton had managed to connect as well during the primary as she has since, and if Obama had been as anemic through the primary as he's been perceived to be since, I'm not sure the roles wouldn't have been reversed between the two this week at the convention.

On a side note, Deval Patrick gave a great speech, as did Ted Strickland, who delivered one of the best zingers of the night: "Well, with the 22 million new jobs and the budget surplus Bill Clinton left behind, George W. Bush came into office on third base--and then he stole second. And John McCain cheered him every step of the way."
Hillary Clinton really and truly brought her best speech last night. If there are a few remaining, unhappy Clinton supporters who won't vote Democratic this year, I'm not sure where they are. Except for Debra Bartoshevich, of course, but I think Steve Benen summed her radical position in support of John McCain quite nicely: she's just confused.

After Monday and Tuesday night speeches by Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama arguably has a huge job ahead on Thursday to follow those acts. And that doesn't take into account the other Clinton, set to speak tonight. (See this post from Andy Borowitz at the Huffington Post for an eye opening tidbit to underscore the tension not only between the former president and the contender, but between the DNC and the former president!)

Not only does Obama have to bring his best to Denver this Thursday, he's going to have to improve upon and repeat that effort every single day until the election. No more vacations and no more free passes. Hillary Clinton raised the bar last night on every front. She connected with her audience, and she assailed the politics of George W. Bush and John McCain:"No way, no how, no McCain!" Her call wasn't simply to create unity within the party behind the candidate, but to draw a stark line in the sand for every single Democrat who hopes for a better future for this country. To all her supporters, Clinton asked "Were you in this campaign just for me? . . . Or were you in in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?"

Unlike her concession speech that effectively ended the primary season, Clinton did not simply bang the "I support Barack Obama" drum. Last night she laid down the challenge for Democrats and insisted that we all must support Barack Obama for the future of this country. Hillary Clinton, alone on a big stage, brought the best of her personal and political selves, brought her A-game, and brought down the house.