Down and down, a much better speech than the one Mark Warner gave. I was a little worried the whole thing was going to be about her when she spent eight minutes or so talking about herself. Yet, in context, it does make sense, I guess. Her goal was to convince her supporters to support Obama, and it may have worked in some cases.
Basically, she gave a bottom line that eerily channels George Bush: Are you with us, or are you against us?
Like I said above, following the speech in-line, it almost looked like the whole thing was going to be a nod to primary season. She spent eight to ten minutes on how what a history-making campaign she had run in the primary. Now, I’m not one of those people who got nauseous at the thought of Clinton being in Obama’s place today. Obama was my preference for the nomination, but if Clinton was there, so be it. She would fall under my consideration as much as Obama. Yet, hearing the first part of the speech, that nausea was close at hand. Any more, and I might have gotten light-headed.
But then she switched gears at the right time, and made it more or less about electing Obama. I’ve criticized Clinton for enabling the PUMAs before, but this speech made it clear the difference between her and that lot. A real Clinton supporter will probably at least consider an Obama candidacy, as one Clinton delegate interviewed after the speech said she would. Clinton herself, while deeply desiring the position, is not above wanting to see her party’s nominee elected. That puts her in a pretty stark contrast to her husband, who’s been pretty vocal about his disdain for Obama. Yet, he too will toe the line and play the right cards in his speech tomorrow, I think.
I particularly liked the story she gave about all the people she visited during her campaign, and then topped it off with, Did you vote for me, or did you vote for making life better for these people? Basically, she’s saying, “would you rather someone who’s going to fight for these people, someone who won’t.” It’s a “smart up and get in line” speech. The commander rallying the troops, so to speak.
I think she did what she came out to do, rally her supporters to Obama. It’ll ultimately be up to them as to how they vote (or not vote) in the end, so I think she did the best she could. I think if there’s any Clinton supporter who won’t at least consider Obama after that speech, then well, they probably never were going to consider voting for him in the first place. To that extent, they probably weren’t going to consider voting for Clinton, either, given how close the two are policy wise.
To underline that point, I give the example of a Clinton delegate who was interviewed after the speech. She was all of a flutter about how presidential Clinton sounded, but her attitude toward Obama was important. She said she would give him until election to make his case, though right now he doesn’t cut it for her. This is the kind of person that was probably moved by the speech tonight into at least considering Obama if they hadn’t already.
Before I end this, a bit of a side note: I think Michelle Obama was trying to fry a hole into Clinton’s head with that ugly stare she gave all throughout the speech. I’m guessing the two won’t be BFFs any time soon, then? Oh well.