Then Unending Clinton

Posted by Mike Merritt in Election 2008 on

A quick note first.  If what the news orgs are saying is true, that Clinton will leave the race by the end of the week, then good!  More on that in a bit.

Anyway, I’m happy I didn’t post an extended entry on the last day of the primaries last night.  Waiting until now has given me the chance to sleep on things, and my tone now will be more moderated than it would have been if I posted last night.

As I said last night, congratulations to Senator Barack Obama on becoming the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party!  As I’ve maintained for some time, I really do think he is the best choice for the Democrats.  I really do believe he could help them take back the White House in November.  So, congratulations to him.

Then there is Senator Hillary Clinton, who, despite a gallant effort to become the nominee for her party, did indeed lose the race.  And unlike the Republican runners-up, made a very good showing.  Yet, listening to her speech last night, I was extremely disheartened with her.  I have always been what some might call a defender of her right to stay in until the magic number was reached.  Whenever some in the blogosphere or media were saying she was finished, I rebuffed these kinds of statements.  “Don’t count your cards before the game has finished” has become my slogan in reference to her, or any other candidate (Republican as well) who was said to be no longer viable.  Yet, tonight has only locked in place a feeling about her that’s been growing for some time.

I don’t know if it’s been the effect of watching too much of the horserace coverage, or if it’s actually been of my own judgment, or some of both, but the fact that she would not concede last night made me feel really angry toward her.  I’m sorry, but when somebody has won a contest, you congratulate them, take your losses, and learn from them.  You don’t do what she did, which was pretty much smack him in the face and not recognize the fact that he’s won.

The part of that speech last night was one I’d expect from her if she had won, not when she had lost, and knew it.  Clinton isn’t dumb.  She’s known for weeks that the odds were not in her favor, and in the days running up to last night had plenty of time to properly prepare that part of the speech.  And yet, what she said did not much what she should have said.  Should she have used the speech to angle for the Veep position?  Absolutely, and I said a couple days ago that she should do just that:

Speaking of that concession speech, what should she put in it? For starters, it could include an adamant call to the party to unite behind Obama. The party needs it. And Clinton can provide it. Second, a statement that she’s going to do her best takes to get him elected. And finally, if I were her, I’d include an impassioned plea to be selected as the running mate.  I’m not saying the pairing is ideal, but she would be silly not to try for it. She has, in fact, already done it in previous speeches.

Well, she got at least one of those out of the way, the part about asking to be VP.  While it’s an important thing for her to do, extremely more important for her party were the two tasks I outlined before it.  The fact that she didn’t do those things, and made the speech entirely about her, is quite disappointing to me.  A lot of bloggers have talked about the narcissistic tendencies of the Clintons, and while I was quite willing to look past this characteristic before last night, I don’t think I can do so any longer.

Wrapping things up, I definitely think she still has a shot for the Veep spot, and still think it could probably work out, but I’ve become pretty disillusioned by Clinton over the past couple weeks.  This heartache of mine regarding her probably wouldn’t have come if only I’d listened more closely to what one of my good friends said a couple months ago (might have been February), about her tendency to feel she’s entitled to the Presidency.

The best thing I think she can do now, and it may be good damage control from the backfiring that’s resulted from her speech, is concede soon and start to work behind the scenes to help Obama win the Presidency.

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