"Denver! Denver! Denver!" chanted Senator Hillary Clinton's supporters in the middle of her "concession speech" in New York last night. Forget numbers! Forget reality! Forget the Democratic Party and unity! On to the Convention!
Presumably with some new criteria (states starting with the letters A-K, perhaps, or seniors who watch re-runs of Matlock).
For her part, Hillary Clinton gladly fueled her followers' desire for a fight.
In spite of the fact Barack Obama had won the necessary 2,118 delegates to secure the nomination, becoming the first African-American in history to be the standard bearer for a major party, she continued to speak of how she was the stronger candidate, how she won the important states, how she won more votes than any candidate in primary history (not counting caucuses and counting Michigan, where Obama wasn't on the ballot, of course).
I kept waiting for some kind of concession, some acknowledgment of what had just happened, some class and dignity, maybe, dare I say it, humility. This was no longer a matter of perspective or preference, after all. Barack Obama had won. Her chances of winning had gone from nearly impossible to impossible.
Yet instead of graciously accepting defeat , she told her 18 million followers to get on her website and tell her what they thought she should do next. Surely, in this way she might come to a rational, clear-headed decision for her political future. Here's a sampling of the pearls of wisdom being offered at HillaryClinton.com:
They have totally skrewed Hillary, lets get her on the ballot ourselves!!!We need each other not the DNC or Obama, I refuse to support him! [bb]
I sincerely wish that Hillary does not accept the second slot. I just cannot and will not support the Democratic party nominee. I will vote for McCain B4 I vote for BHO. The present DNC has stabbed Hillary in the back, I cannot continuing supporting the Undemocratic party. I will always support and Vote for Hillary but cannot support Chicago mafia(BHO) [bestpresident]
Let's take this to DENVER..........She is the only one. I will never vote for BO...Neither will my family or friends..We will either not vote or vote for McCain...Oh, today I just registered and my family and friends too as INDEPENDENTS....SCREW THE DEMOCRATES.... We love HIllary with all of our heart and we will always support and back her...but what the democratic party has done to her they have done to us....ENOUGH!!!!LET THE DNC HANG THEMSELVES........................DISGUSTING!!! [caspercat]
I say run as INDEPENDENT NOW!! Obama will want Hillary to campaign for him. Hillary is much greater than that. I hope Hillary goes with the "will of the people." She is the "People's President." I will never think of BO as my President. Nope, I just cannot do it. It is about the way they treated HILLARY. Call it whatever you like, dirty politics, etc. etc. She worked so hard, and every step of the way, they tried to diminish her, even when she won her landslide victories. I say, DENVER - DENVER - DENVER - DENVER [LillaBet]
Never mind that young people are dying in Iraq, that millions are struggling to pay the bills, that our policies on health care, education, and foreign affairs could sink even further under a McCain presidency. For thousands of Hillary supporters, it's been a long time since this race was about issues or rationality. It's been rather about a disturbingly insulated, narcissistic, monomaniacal candidate and a base (many of whom lack education) that has passionately followed her lead. (I recognize it's not "PC" to call people uneducated, yet that's what the statistics show and the historical reality is that uneducated voters are more prone to vote on emotion and fear, more prone to manipulation (see gas tax), and more prone to racism and bigotry (see West Virginia and Kentucky.)
In contrast to Hillary Clinton's "stoke divisions and rally the troops for civil war" speech, Barack Obama hardly spoke of himself in his victory speech in Minnesota. He thanked his family, campaign team and supporters, he spoke of the important moment we find ourselves in and how the issues are larger than any one candidate. And he generously complimented Hillary Clinton.
Continuing the trends of their respective campaigns, Barack Obama took the high road; Hillary Clinton chose the low one. When the Clinton's injected race in South Carolina, Barack gave Bill Clinton the benefit of the doubt and spoke of moving beyond our differences; when Hillary ran the infamous 3am ad, Barack continued to insist we act on hope not fear; and in the end, when Barack held out the olive branch, going so far as to say that Hillary's strength and tenacity paved the way for his own daughters, Hillary refused to show grace and help heal the party.
Regardless of what happens from here, Barack Obama's historic night will always be partially shadowed by a woman with an ego too large to do what every other candidate in both parties, including Mike Huckabee, understood was appropriate. Last night Barack Obama won the nomination. He made history. And Hillary knows he offers drastic change from both Bush and McCain. Yet instead of urging her supporters to rally in the name of larger principles, her message was much like another disastrous politician's: screw the pundits, the naysayers, the numbers, the facts. We can still win! Just stay the course.
For Clinton like Bush, it's the war that never ends.