After my ramblings the other day about the U.S. national conventions and all their “hype,” I must say that Hillary Clinton really lived up to it last night. Watching her there on the podium, I thought back to an article I read several months ago by Gloria Steinham and why it was her duty to vote for a female candidate for president. After all my claims of being a feminist over the years, was it mine as well?
Hillary’s speech tonight put some of Obama’s recent blatherings to shame – his fumbling in TV interviews, those long pauses in his speeches, his half-open eyes on the campaign trial. Not that I don’t respect his arduous efforts. But seeing Hillary speak in Denver made a small part of me wonder why she wasn’t the Democratic candidate. Thirty years of experience. An intimate knowledge of Capitol Hill. Already-instilled relationships with international leaders.
BUT. I did vote for Obama in the primaries because, when it came down to it, I didn’t believe Hillary back then. It’s easy to look at her now and say, what if? Did we make the right choice? We can even hold a ridiculous, time-consuming, ludicrously expensive “roll call” to prove that we have made the right and popular decision. But elections are more than powerful speeches and calculated buzz words. Hillary made a point tonight to hit all the required politically correct categories: Women, African-Americans, the GLBT community, sick people without health insurance, her staunch and stubborn supporters… even Christians. (“God bless this country” and “God’s speed” – what was that?!). Those comments were not accidents. She’s got a powerful team of speech writers who knew where the money was and they cashed in, as far as I’m concerned. If those former Clinton supporters weren’t shamed into action from her words tonight, then they’re lost to us democrats forever.
I started to blank a little in the middle of Clinton’s speech, I admit. But she really hit home with those comments about Harriet Tubman. Quote any great trailblazer of the past, with 75,000 people cheering around you, and your going to hook any short attention span voter. Once again, there she was using those buzzwords. And it worked.
Hillary’s speech last night gave me a little more perspective. Although I would never vote McCain, my support for Obama has been wavering lately. There’s something about him that doesn’t sit well with me and I’ve felt this way for months. The deeper he gets into the trenches, the more he falters. Every time he speaks, I don’t believe him. Or I don’t believe that he believes what he’s saying. But same difference.
But listening to Hillary set me back on track. Of course Obama is the right choice, if only by the political team he will bring with him to the White House. After all, it’s not the president who makes the decisions, is it? The “talking head” reference is played out, but it’s a cliche because it’s true. Everyone knows that the real president lies somewhere within his group of assistants. And sadly, as Americans, we have minimal control over choosing them.