Here’s my (faux) live-blog of Hillary Clinton’s speech to the convention:
10:30 I turn on the television expecting to see HRC being introduced. Instead, some beefy, clownish governor is speaking.
10:33 The beefy, clownish governor (Brian Schweitzer of Montana) is talking about energy. He’s for alternative sources like wind. He’s preaching that we can’t drill our way out of the current crisis, and that “the most important barrel of oil is the one you don’t use.”
10:35 How clever of the Democrats to give part of Hillary’s prime time slot to a buffoon whose views on the importance of drilling are contrary to those of most Americans.
10:38 The Hillary intro tape begins.
10:39 The music sounds pretty “raw.” Did her handlers borrow the concept of this tape from TV wrestling?
10:40 Hillary says (on the tape) “you don’t want to hear me sing.” I don’t even want to hear her talk.
10:42 We’re told that Hillary couldn’t shatter the highest glass ceiling. But it was the second highest ceiling (at best) that she couldn’t shatter. Barack Obama shattered the highest one.
10:43 Chelsea Clinton is narrating. She keeps saying how proud she and her grandmother are of HRC. Bill hasn’t been mentioned at all. It’s a female thing; I wouldn’t understand.
10:44 HRC is finally introduced. The Dems are running about 10 minutes behind where, surely, they wanted to be.
10:46 The audience is applauding. Bill looks pleased as punch — almost as pleased as when the beefy, clownish governor was ripping John McCain.
10:48 Hillary begins speaking and almost immediately says the magic words — she’s “a proud supporter of Barack Obama.” Now the duck can come down and Groucho Marx can give her $100.
10:49 Hillary has promptly called for party unity in order to take back the White House.
10:50 She’s very strong and effective on Obama’s behalf. We haven’t worked so hard, etc. to suffer four more years of failed leadership, she tells the crowd. I think this speech is going to be a big plus for Obama.
10:51 “No way, no how, no McCain.” It’s gibberish, but sounds good. At least the crowd loves it.
10:52 Michelle Obama is smirking. She and her husband have to be very pleased at this point.
10:53 Now she talking about herself and her campaign. It’s little more than five minutes into the speech. She exceeded the over-under.
10:55 HRC gives a nice tribute to Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the recently deceased black Congresswoman. She doesn’t mention it, but most at the convention are surely aware that Jones bucked the black political establishment and fought for Clinton throughout the campaign.
10:58 Now she’s touching the usual bases — unions, gays, etc. She’ll probably lose a lot of her audience at 11:00 if she doesn’t move away from the boilerplate. She may lose it anyway.
10:59 She’s circling back to Obama after about six minutes. This time she came in under the over-under.
11:00 HRC is very effective at this point. She asks her supporters whether they were in the campaign for her personally or in it for the paraplegic with cancer (or whatever) she met on the campaign trail. The answer is, they were in it for Hillary and for themselves (and, of course, their daughters). However, it’s a great way to pitch the case for getting behind Obama while making herself sound humble.
11:02 She’s still pitching for Obama, though she hasn’t yet said anything good about him personally. The entire pitch is he’s not a Republican.
11:03 Finally she puts in a good word for Obama as a person, saluting his time as a “community organizer.” It’s tepid, but better than nothing and all Obama could really expect. In any case, she’s not going to persuade her supporters that Obama is a star. The best argument is the one she’s making — we need to get the White House back.
11:04 Having put in a good word for Obama, she finally puts in a good one for Bill, or at least for his administration. Now Bill is smirking.
11:05 Hillary says she can’t wait for “President Obama” to sign into law a bill guaranteeing health care for every American. I may be wrong, but as I recall Obama didn’t favor such a bill during his campaign against Hillary. They debated this at length, or did I just imagine it?
11:06 Now comes the hat tip to Michelle Obama and Joe Biden. According to HRC, Biden is “pragmatic, tough, and wise.” According to me, one out of three’s not bad.
11:07 She turns to McCain next. He’s her “colleague and friend” but “we don’t need four more years of the past eight years.” She says that McCain and Bush will be “twins” in the Twin Cities. The line is a bit lame, and she doesn’t make much of a case that the two are joined at the hip.
11:09 Now she’s talking about Seneca Falls where the first big women’s right conference was held. From there she spills over to Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. I guess she’s tying the women’s right struggle to the civil rights struggle. In any event, the rhetoric sounds inspiring. It’s a very good conclusion.
11:10 She finishes. The time of the speech was probably perfect (no Bill Clinton, she), but the Dems will regret that she started a bit late.
The bottom line? I think she did as much for Obama as he could have hoped for. Clinton’s core feminist supports (the “sisterhood of the traveling pants suits,” as she called them tonight) will very likely fall into line, barring some major misstep by Obama (my guess is that they would have eventually gotten behind Obama even with a lesser speech, they really have no place else to go). The folks who voted for Clinton because they don’t like Obama will continue to consider their options, but not because there was anything Clinton could have said, but didn’t say, to win them over.
UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR: Crazed former sports highlights presenter Keith Olbermann apparently said “I would have been proud to have delivered that speech.”
His tribute, and that of other Obama cheerleaders in the MSM, tends to confirm my view that this speech was at the high end of what Obama reasonably could have hoped for.
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