On the eve that Barack Obama reached the magic number of delegates to clinch the nomination, Hillary Clinton refused to concede. Instead, she asked that her supporters send her suggestions of what she should do next. Afterwards, pundits, politicos, bloggers, and Obama supporters across the country complained that Clinton had wrestled the spotlight from the stagehand and stolen Obama's crowning moment.
Clinton did not take that historic moment from Obama. She took that moment (and so much more) from the American people. It is gone forever. Clinton cannot go back and concede and congratulate now -- the moment has passed.
It is time we stop coddling Hillary Clinton. It is time to stop using euphemisms. We cannot be "good winners" when the other team won't stop being sore losers. It is time to stop lamenting Hillary supporters who may or may not vote for Obama in November. It is past time to stop giving her time to come to terms with her loss. She claims to be a leader -- she should lead by getting the hell out of the way.
Last night should have provided our nominee with a substantial bounce in the polls, an avalanche of new support, a mega money bomb for the coffers, an influx of new volunteers -- resources to win in November so that this country is not forced to suffer through four more years of incompetent leadership.
Obama has already spent too much money fending off Clinton's baseless attacks. Obama has already spent too much valuable political capital convincing superdelegates to support his campaign instead of gaining support for progressive programs. Obama has spent too much of his limited time concentrating on primaries when he should have been focusing on the actual goal -- to win in November so that this country is not forced to suffer through four more years of incompetent leadership.
I cannot listen to another pundit or blogger imploring that Clinton "needs time" or that she needs to go through the stages of grief or that she needs to be allowed to come to terms with her loss. This primary, this election, this year is not about Hillary Clinton. This election is not about the presumptive nominee, Barack Obama. This election is about ensuring that our children and their children live in a better world.
This election year is about a broken economy, torture, secret military tribunals, melting icecaps, health care -- and the list goes on. I could fill whole pages listing the important issues that will be decided by this election. The course of our country -- the course of the world -- rests in our hands.
Every bit of every resource -- time, money, supporters -- counts on the way to November. Clinton has put herself above the people of her country and party by taking valuable election resources from us.
Do not be fooled, Clinton supporters. The Clintons have put their own selfish interests ahead of your needs. Clinton has said again and again that Obama's policies closely reflect her own, that McCain stands against everything she supports. Yet, she continues to spend the money, resources, and time that we will need to defeat McCain.
Because the Clintons have been important figures in the Democratic Party, we have let them take from the American people what is rightfully ours. After giving Clinton the time that she supposedly needed, after allowing Clinton to take so much, she now has the audacity to ask for more time to determine her next steps, and she asks for advice on what those next steps should be.
I am incredulous. She is taking valuable resources from the American people -- resources and moments that we can never replace -- for what? So that she can negotiate terms for... for what? Even Clinton does not know for what -- she asks us to tell her. She asks to lead the free world yet, in her own campaign, she flounders for her own direction.
The pundits are divided regarding Clinton's strategy and plans. Some say that she is playing a game of brinkmanship, pushing her supporters to the edge of the party, hoping to leverage something from her concession. Others have gone as far as calling her delusional. Jeffrey Toobin called it deranged narcissism. She appears to be completely consumed by an obsession with becoming president and unable to make a rational, well-informed decision that would serve the greater good.
Hillary Clinton is holding our party hostage, and she does not yet know what ransom she wants. The value of her leverage decreases with every passing minute as more of her supporters and superdelegates get behind the nominee. As time passes, the value of a negotiated concession grows smaller for Clinton, while the cost to the party unity grows larger because healing will not truly happen until Clinton enthusiastically and sincerely supports the nominee.
Tuesday was not Obama's day. It was our day. It was a historic day that belongs to the American people -- a day that we were supposed to use to garner resources for the general election. Clinton did not steal Obama's moment, she stole our moment -- one of the most important moments of our lifetimes.
None of these moments belong to Senator Clinton or Senator Obama. Nor are these resources theirs. What Clinton took, she took from the American people.