I just listened to Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. She did a good job. There were a few lines she seemed to choke over, but she gave a great speech. If the four days from the last primary to today was what it took to get to this speech, it was worth the wait.
I wasn’t an Obama supporter when this all started. I didn’t vote for him or Clinton on “Super Tuesday.” But the whole messy business of the Clinton campaign has offended me. It’s been hard to see Hillary and Bill give in to the easy pull of race-baiting, to the famous fear-mongering of the 3am phone call ad, to the hideousness of ‘oh, maybe there’ll be an assassination.’ It’s been hard to hear the ways people I liked and respected talked about each other. The closer we came to this point, the harder it was to listen to the Clintons and the Clinton supporters without my lip curling, without my “WTF!!!” meter registering off the scale. I wanted to support Clinton and Obama equally because there were things I respected and admired in both of them. But the tenor of the Clinton campaign soured me, saddened me, turned me utterly away.
But today Hillary Clinton sounded like the woman I thought she was when this began, sounded like the person I thought I knew before the primaries began. Today she sounded proud and presidential. Where was this Hillary over the last six months? Why did I have to see the grimy side that’s been on show since Iowa?
I’m glad the primary contest is over. I might even be glad that Barack Obama has become my party’s presumptive nominee. More, I’m glad that Hillary Clinton — the one I loved when she was first lady, the one I enthusiastically supported both times she ran for the Senate — was on the stage today. I want to believe this will signal a move on her part and her husband’s part to win back the respect of everyone who was disgusted by what we heard and saw in recent months.
Was she sincere today? I hope so. Was she lobbying for the role of Vice President? Maybe. Will her speech and her endorsement speak to the rabidly angry supporters who’ve said they’ll vote for McCain now that Obama is the nominee? We’ll have to wait and see.