Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Moment We (I) Had Been Waiting For

Some people find it hard to believe that the Obama campaign would allow Hillary Clinton to take over one whole night of the DNC. In truth, while Clinton was the main focus of last night, the Obama campaign put the "keynote" speaker of the convention, Mark Warner, on the same night.

So, for the sake of Democratic party unity, I'm glad Clinton gave the speech she did and made sure the focus was on her.

I'm not one of those ex-Clinton supporters who automatically jumped the fence and decided to vote for John McCain this November, but it has never been easy for me to get excited about Barack Obama. That lack of enthusiasm is not rooted in a belief that Barack Obama is a weak candidate that cannot win the general election, but because I never felt Obama and his campaign properly acknowledged Hillary Clinton; joint appearances by the two weren't enough to pacify me.

In Unity, NH, the small New Hampshire town where the Obama campaign sought to introduce Obama and Clinton voters to each other with a big rally, I picked up on a hesitation among Clinton voters. They felt it was difficult to cheer proudly for Hillary Clinton with Barack Obama sitting behind her and with avid Obama fans surrounding them in the audience. If they cheered too loudly or began chanting "Hillary," they could almost hear reporters blogging away at their keyboards about "unhappy Hillary voters" and sense heads turning all around them.

Plain and simple, Clinton supporters needed a moment when they could join together, raise their "Hillary" signs, chant, cry, and cheer as much as they wanted. It's not that Hillary Clinton supporters dislike Barack Obama, but we simply don't want Hillary Clinton to be presented to us by Barack Obama.

Last night, Hillary Clinton was ours again. It was nice to picture the Obama campaign advisors sweating a bit as she began delivering her speech, unsure if she was going to call in the air-strikes and ruin all their fun. But anyone who knows Hillary Clinton or supported her in the Primaries knew she wouldn't do that; Hillary Clinton may have needed her time in the spotlight, but her supporters needed it one last time as well.

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