The Shadow of Obama's Smile

06/12/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Beth Arnold Author & Founder, an Exile Returned From Paris

It should've been Obama's night for smiling. After all these long, hard, and acrimonious months campaigning, he'd finally won. He had the delegates to be the Democratic nominee in this unprecedented and historic race!

Then why was our man so subdued as he delivered his hell of a speech announcing this great news when gratitude and joy must have been surging through him? Because his sense of decorum and propriety wouldn't allow the slightest appearance of gloating about his well earned win. He was a gentleman--to Hillary, her candidacy, and her supporters. This is a sterling example of Obama's good sense, diplomacy, and world-class leadership and political skill.

If the situation were reversed, what would Hillary have done?

If she truly desired to support and bring unity to the Democratic Party and to work for the nominee as she's said she would, she would have bowed out and endorsed Obama last night -- sincerely and enthusiastically. She would have begun the healing. Her unsurprising lack of grace reveals more than she may realize, and we can only hope that she can find some humility and plain old patriotism for something larger than herself.

Because now it's like this: The world has spun around again. Obama is the Democratic leader. But if he makes Hillary his vice-president, he'll never smile again.

P.S. This would be my Yellow Dog Democrat father Bill Arnold's 81st birthday if he were still alive. He would be proud for this historic day. Happy Birthday, Dad!

Beth Arnold lives and writes in Paris. You can see more of her work at