Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Best Speech of Her Life

Today Hillary Clinton redeemed herself and assured herself a lasting place of leadership in the democratic party. It was the speech she should have given the night Barack achieved the number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination, but better late than never. She has again promised to campaign her heart out for his victory in November. It was a moving, powerful speech. If she had congratulated Barack Obama every time he won a primary state, she might not have had to give this speech today. It was her lack of grace throughout this long primary season that alienated me. I am her demographic, and I am not alone in having abandoned her because of her behavior throughout the campaign season. There are niceties to be observed. Small gestures to make at every loss, every win. It was this absence of graciousness that alienated me and many other women.

One of the problems with her campaign was a massive dismissal and diminution of Senator Obama's achievements and accomplishments throughout his life. It was her giving the republicans the ads they will use against him in the general election that made me so angry at her. She put herself side by side with John McCain, and Senator Obama on the other, as if he had no stature, no right to challenge them. Experience versus Change. Well, it all depends on the kind of experience and the kind of change, doesn't it?

Her judgement has been a problem for me all along. It was her failure to work collegially to give us universal health care when she first had the chance to make that a reality. It was her vote for the Iraq war resolution without reading the intelligence reports that made me question her competence to govern. It was her justification and rationalization for that vote that made me wonder if she wasn't the wrong person to lead us forward. It was the lies, and her dismissal of her lies when she was called on them, that made me question not just her judgement, but her integrity, her respect for us, the electorate, that finally made me dislike her on a visceral level.

But today she gave a speech that just might rehabilitate her career as a leader to be respected again. I'll watch with hope, and wish her well.