Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

The ‘tell” in Hillary Clinton’s Concession Speech

I thought Hillary Clinton’s speech was the best of her campaign. authentic; she wrote much of it herself, and it sounded the raison d’etre for her campaign: this has been an historic moment for women. Regrettably, and in hindsight a big mistake, this rallying cry never really came to the fore as more than a subtext during the campaign.  

The speech burnished her credentials as the progressive leader she was earlier in her career, and left no real space for her supporters not to shift to Obama. I saw no space here for McCain.  Simply none.

Although it took more than 6 minutes 50 seconds to mention Obama’s name, her support appeared genuine, (although her face tightened up the first few times she spoke his name). I believe she will work hard for Obama, if not “her heart out.”   

But, here is the “tell” of the speech for me.  Towards the end of the speech, when thanking her staff, volunteers and supporters, Clinton said,

“Being human we are imperfect. that’s why we need each other. to catch each other when we falter. to encourage each other when we lose heart.. none of us can go it alone… the changes we are working for are only changes we can get if we work together…”

See Hillary Clinton Concession

These lines don’t ring true.  Coming on the heels of the swiftly written post mortems, it is clear that that Hillary and staff did not act as if they needed each other.  They operated as discrete individuals (Penn, Wolfson, McCauliffe), not a team. They didn’t catch each other when they faltered; rather they stabbed the other in the back, repeatedly, creating lots of drama and some good tv,  but little teamwork.  Problem is Hillary thought she could go it alone; and Mark Penn thought he could go it alone, and so forth… and so they faltered, in message, organization, strategy and tactics.

By alternative, I also just watched the video of Barack Obama addressing his campaign workers in Chicago.  While Clinton’s message to her staff and supporters rang hollow, this is where Obama’s message soared. He said,

“You worked hard. You lifted each other up. You covered for each other. You made up for each other’s mistakes. You didn’t blame each other when things went wrong. There was just a good mood, a good heart, to this campaign. That’s what I’m most proud of. Even if we had lost I would be proud of what we’ve built because nobody thought that we could build it. Everybody thought that at some point this thing was gonna be a flash in the pan. Collectively, you, most of you are I’m not even sure of drinking age… You’ve created the best political organization in America and probably the best political organization that we’ve seen in the last 30 or 40 years. That’s a pretty big deal…

While Hillary’s claims of organization and teamwork functioned in her speech as rhetoric, Obama’s low key remarks are the mark of his no drama authenticity; his street organizer’s creed etched into the mechanics of his presidential campaign.  Thanks to Al Giordano from “The Field” whose great post on this Obama chat, provides the basis for this comparison. See Organizer in Chief

As terrific as Hillary’s closing campaign speech was, in the end, it becomes clear that her rhetoric could not be matched by the realities of her campaign.  On the other hand, Obama’s rhetoric to his supporters and staff was not only spot on, but it transparently coincided with the realities of his campaign operation. Such transparency is the stuff of real leadership (inspiration + mechanics).  In sum, these two speeches show how and why the democrats made the right choice.





Hillary to Endorse Obama

So there it is. Over, at last.  In two conference calls with her closest supporters, she was told it was urgent that she step aside and endorse Obama.  Her supporters told her she had to release them so they could endorse Barack. She was reluctant, but agreed. Her super delegate supporters expected her to be gracious last evening, and were surprised by Terry McAuliffe introducing Hillary as the next president, and surprised by Hillary’s lack of grace.  They told her she needed to get out by Friday, or else.

This is as the news is reporting the last several hours.


sources: MSNBC, ABC, NYT



Obama, Clinton, McCain: The Speeches Speak for Themselves

Thanks to TPM:

McCain Speech

Clinton Speech

Obama Speech

… only 229 days to go.

Hillary Concession? No

Hillary is using her speech, in my opinion, to make herself indispensable for the fall campaign.  and yes. she wants VP, even tho if one were just tuning in, it sounds from her speech that Obama lost and she won.

perhaps it’s a turn on logic for her to say she is indispensable to Obama’s victory in November, but there she goes, and perhaps she’ll say at some point she was even more indispensable to Obama’s nomination than Obama.  nutz.

Yep, I can see it. She might well say at some point that she was indispensable to his nomination.

Wow. She fails to concede that she lost and she fails to support. She doesn’t mention that Obama passed 2118 delegates.  Hillary asks: where to go from here? go to hillaryclinton.com and let her know.  as if the primary process hadn’t just done that.  No decisions tonite. wow!  Astounding. She is going to hold her votes hostage!!!  really incredible.  what hubris!

perhaps it gets her HHS.


Barack Obama’s first Lincolnesque Challenge

With HIllary Clinton almost gone but not forgotten (almost), Obama’s next task is to forge a consensus among his former rival’s staunchest believers and create unity along some bloody ruptures in the democratic party. 

Faced with his first real challenge as presumptive nominee, Obama, it seems, is pulling a page from Lincoln’s notebook.  He recognizes the ferocity of the Hillaryite feelings against him.   He is of strong enuf character and moral fiber as to reach out to former rivals– like Hillary– and promise to place them in a new administration.

Politico is reporting that Obama is considering Edwards as AG, Biden as Secretary of State and Hillary Clinton as Scry HHS, if only she gracefully withdraws some time over the next couple days, hopefully even this evening in New York.

There is no love lost between Barack and Hillary.   I agree with those who suggest that Hillary and Bill blame Obama for having stymied Hillary’s ascension to the nomination/presidency, and they harbor no great desire for Obama’s success this fall.

I also believe that having Hillary as VEEP would potentially create a strong Bill/ Hillary sponsored anti-obama base inside the White House, thus endeavoring to sabotage his every move.

By placing Hillary in a cabinet post, and ceding control over health care, however,  Obama plays a brilliant game of being able to take credit for the potential success of health care reform, or placing the blame for failure once again on Hillary’s shoulders (would be twice bitten on health care), killing any chances at all for her future presidential ambitions.  Really is a beautiful move.

Hillary’s role in an Obama Administration would provide a 2009 version of Lincoln having Edwin Stanton as his Secretary of War.  Stanton was highly regarded, nationally known politician with presidential ambition. The Obama-Clinton relationship would start off really rocky but likely to evolve into a real partnership.  Stanton disdained LIncoln and was humiliated at having lost to him.  He came into the Lincoln administration belitting Lincoln, referring to him as “that original gorilla.”  

For his part, Lincoln valued Stanton’s tenacity and organizational abilities.

By the end of Lincoln’s presidency, however, Stanton had proved to be an extremely successful Secry of War, and one of Lincoln’s most loyal if not trusted lieutenants.  



Why Hillary Will Not Be Barack’s VEEP

Over the weekend I met up with an old friend who knows someone in Obama’s inner circle. All the chisme aside, I heard something potentially telling about the Barack-Hillary dance that we are all going to witness over the next several days, weeks, months.  The bottom line is that Obama is not likely to offer Hillary the Veep slot. Here’s why.  

The Clintons have treated Obama miserably since the day he came to the senate in 2005.  They saw him as a threat and sought to weaken him, haze him and otherwise intimidate him into not challenging Hillary for the ’08 nomination.  Apparently, the Clintons indeed felt a sense of entitlement to the ’08 nomination.

I raise this conversation in light of Obama’s latest “pastor eruption,” as I just heard it described on Dan Abrams’ “The Verdict.” A couple weeks ago, Pastor Pfleger, a guest pastor at Trinity went off on an anti-Hillary rant that was mocking in tone and sort of inappropriate.  The Pfleger sermon has been cited as the reason for Obama’s announcement he is leaving the Trinity Church.  

While listening to my friend’s comments, my mind went to Pastor Pfleger.   My friend didn’t draw any connections to Phleger, but the substance of his comments gibed pretty much with how Pfleger suggested the Clinton’s reacted to Obama back in 2005.

See Pfleger’s comments:

Pretty raw sounding stuff at a pretty inopportune moment, but apparently so are the real feelings between the two camps.   Not sure what this bodes for the campaign in the coming weeks and months, except to say there is plenty of work and healing to be done, and the need is dire.  I shall watch the dance starting tomorrow night with Barack in MN and Hillary in NY.  A beginning, tho it is starting with them pretty far apart.


Clinton Paranoia Revealed in RFK Assassination Memory Interview

The thing that bothers me the most about Hillary Clinton’s interview with the South Dakota Sioux Falls Argus Leader was not so much the reference to RFK’s assassination, which strikes me as yet one more desperate attempt to rationalize her doomed candidacy.  Clinton’s aren’t dumb, and since she made a similar reference before, of course she meant to stir up concerns about Obama. 

The thing that bugs me most is that the broader tone of this interview makes me want to rethink the Clinton presidency from a new perspective, regrettably one which has the Clinton’s seeing their opponents through a very paranoid lens.   The epiphany has to do with the subtext of the Argus Leader interview.  Clinton’s paranoia was quite obvious in this interview, that her candidacy was somehow doomed from the start because she has been singled out unjustly and done in by some wily press/ right wing conspiracy.  The Kennedy reference was just an example of her lashing out in this broader context.


Facts and accurate historical references had very little to do with Clinton’s comments. In fact the historical reference to Bill’s ’92 campaign was incorrect (Clinton was the only democrat running a nationally organized campaign in ’92; his opposition was scattered (Tsongas, Harkin, Kerry were never real threats) and he had the nomination sewn up by June), and the Kennedy reference failed to contend with the fact that Robert Kennedy didn’t get into the race until March and that Humphrey’s subsequent nomination was the result of decisions made in smoke filled rooms by party hacks, not primary victories (ie., different rules then).

And now, days after this interview, she is blaming Obama for making hay over it.  The problem here is that Clinton’s victimhood has a sadly nostalgic tone to it, to a time when her enemies really were enemies. Richard Mellon Scaife was a real enemy of the Clinton’s, as was Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch and all the guys at Fox Noise.  The problem is this “woe is me” narrative doesn’t stick against Obama or even Keith Olbermann.  Rather, her accusations, and Bill’s, raise questions and invite some serious revisionist scrutiny of an awful lot of shinanigans back during the 90’s in which democrats and progressives bent over backwards to give the clinton’s the benefit of the doubt, much of which she is placing back in doubt.  It is important to reexamine Clinton’s “reinventing government” initiative, NAFTA, welfare and immigration reforms, which all triggered sharp right ward ticks in the populace.  It is important (perhaps) to reexamine the Mark Rich pardon, the sudden appearance of Rose law firm records, an so forth, from a principled position of appropriate ethics in government,  as opposed to a Rush/Matt Drudge right wing pile on.

The sad thing here for me is that in these desperate days of her candidacy Hillary is revealing a seedier side to both Clinton’s that also existed no doubt during the Clinton heyday.