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Hey everyone, I missed out on the fun here last night because I wanted to just tune everything out and listen to what our candidates had to say.

Contrary to what the entire traditional media is saying - and contrary to the outrage expressed by many who are upset that Clinton didn't outright conceed last night - I believe that last night Hillary did exactly what she needed to do.  Follow me beneath the flip and I'll explain....

I have been lucky enough to volunteer for four candidates for President.  However, in the 2004 cycle I became more deeply involved than ever.  Rather than simply registering voters and canvassing (not to take ANYTHING away from those who do), in August of 2002 I dove headfirst into the Dean campaign.  I participated in a popular group blog, donated thousands of dollars, volunteered locally at fundraisers and rallies, spent a few days on the Sleepless Summer Tour, and travelled to Iowa several times to canvass. I gave untold numbers of hours to Team Dean, and I was there in the Val Air ballroom on the night of the infamous "scream".  

It is because I was in that room that I know that Hillary's done.  The situations - while seemingly very different - have a lot of similarities.

At both gatherings - Dean's in 04 and Hillary's last night - the rooms were packed with the hardest of hard core supporters.  Those were the people who'd put blood, sweat, tears, and money into a campaign only to see their efforts ultimately fall short.  Those were the people that believed when nobody else did.  Those are the people who put their lives on hold in order to work for a candidate they believed in.  And make no mistake, although they were stuffed in a basement with spotty cellphone and wireless access, Hillary's supporters knew before she hit the stage that Barack Obama had passed the delegate threshold and would be the Democratic nominee.

I know exactly what was going through their minds as they waited.  They were tired, sad, and disappointed.  They were asking themselves if there was more they could have done.  They were asking themselves if their candidate's failure was their own failure.  I know, because that's exactly what we were all asking ourselves in the Val Air ballroom in the hours before Howard took the stage.

And when he did, Howard came out and spoke not to the media, not to the nation that was watching, but to those of us in that room.  In hindsight people can criticise that decision - much as they're criticising Hillary today - but Howard did what he needed to do.  So did Hillary.  She had to come out and give those folks a reason to believe that their efforts were not in vain.  She had to show them her gratitude and most of all she had to lift their spirits.  Hillary is the leader of a movement (much like Dean was), and her supporters needed that pep talk.  They needed to go home last night with their heads held high and with the knowledge that they did all they could.  Hillary couldn't let them down, and she didn't.  She gave them what they needed.  And because of that I have confidence that together with Barack Obama, Hillary will do her best to bridge the chasm between the two camps and unite the party to defeat John McCain in the fall.

And much like Dean's Val Air appearance signalled the end of his campaign for President (even if it sputtered along for a few more months), Hillary's speech last night contained all the signals that her campaign was coming to an end.  Sure, she didn't come right out and conceed, but she will.  She didn't call Barack Obama the presumptive nominee, but in her heart she knows it's true.  She didn't urge her supporters to flock to Team Obama, but she will, most likely by the end of the week.  I don't expect her to drop today.  In fact, she gave herself an out on that by mentioning that today is her mother's birthday (Happy birthday Dorothy Rodham!).  But let's give her a few days and let's give her the space she needs to do what is right.  That's what Dean did, and it's what I strongly believe Hillary will do as well.

Originally posted to anna on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:50 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tip jar (21+ / 0-)

    am i full of shit, or does anyone else see value in this perspective?

    John Cornyn is an asshole with shoes. Support Rick Noriega!

    by anna on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:50:42 AM PDT

    •  this would be more accurate (4+ / 0-)

      if this speech occurred after Super Tuesday--the parallel to her refusal to concede after the last primaries and considered move by a significant batch of superdelegates does not work as well I think.

    •  re (8+ / 0-)

      The only prob is that with her actions stated above, she made the night where for the first time in american history, a person of color will be running for president for one of the major parties.

      This is historic.

      This is a day that should be cherished.

      So what does Hillary do?

      Selfishly makes the day all about her...

      "Steve Holt would have the class to drop out. Some people it seems are classless." - Steve Holt

      by cookiesandmilk on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:54:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i hear ya (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cookiesandmilk, Sanuk

        believe me, i do.  but having walked in those shoes, i have to give her the benefit of the doubt.

        John Cornyn is an asshole with shoes. Support Rick Noriega!

        by anna on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:00:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have been thinking... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anna, xango715, futurebird

        I really believe that her campaign is so debt ridden that she just could not afford to give a concession.  She asked people what to do, asked them to go to her website and leave a comment, which turned out to be the donation link.

        She wants to try to lower her debt.  The media is going along with it for her,  to allow her recover some of that debt.  McAuliff got on the teevee moments after AP announced she would concede.  That was to make her supporters "beleive" she was going on.  

        It's all about the money.

    •  Definitely value (4+ / 0-)

      But the two situations are fundamentally different. Dean knew that he had a long-term responsibility to reassure his supporters of his message and his dedication to the cause.

      Clinton, in omitting any semblance of understanding that her race for President is over, did Obama a great short-term harm by letting the media and overwrought supporters on both sides have at it while she dithers or waits to decide what to do.

      She could have given a 45-minute stemwinder on why she should be Vice President last night and I would have been happier with it than what I heard and saw.

      Refusing to acknowledge reality helps no one and hurts everyone. Except John McCain.

      "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send your fingerprints off to Washington."--Alice's Restaurant

      by ekthesy on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:56:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  see, this is where we may disagree (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ekthesy, Sanuk, anotherdemocrat

        i think clinton also knows she has a long term responsibility as well.  she's not stupid.  she knows her reputation will be damaged irretrievably (sp?) if she doesn't acknowledge reality and fast.  that's why i think she did what she did last night for her team, and why i think she'll do the right thing and drop by friday.

        John Cornyn is an asshole with shoes. Support Rick Noriega!

        by anna on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:02:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, I think we agree. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          But if I were writing Sen. Clinton's speech yesterday, I would have added at least an iota of humility. Or some sort of acknowledgement of what everyone knows, so she doesn't look completely out-of-touch.

          "Kid, we don't like your kind, and we're gonna send your fingerprints off to Washington."--Alice's Restaurant

          by ekthesy on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:15:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  gotcha (0+ / 0-)

            oh yea, that speech was not 100% what i would've said either.  i don't think it went quite far enough for my tastes, but again, she wasn't speaking to me.  she was speaking to team clinton. =)

            John Cornyn is an asshole with shoes. Support Rick Noriega!

            by anna on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:17:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  fair point (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anna, StageStop's hard for us to step back and look at the other side of things.

      I would change some of what she said, and I wish that it didn't seem to be such a rallying call to continue her fight without acknowledging that Obama stands for many of the same issues, principles, and policies... but that's coming from an Obama supporter

      I saw some movement on both sides towards conciliation yesterday, so I just hope that speech and her actions from now forward, aren't used as an excuse by either side to continue the bitterness.

    •  I think the difference was that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anna, rcald

      Dean was the frontrunner until the Iowa results came in, so the loss was a shocker to him and supporters, and his subsequent fall from grace was as rapid as it had been unexpected.  As a result, it took a little time after the events to properly adjust.

      For Hillary, the writing's been on the wall for at least several weeks, arguably a lot longer.  She should have been able to prepare for it, and any 'adjustment period' should therefore be much less severe.

      I'd be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt until the end of the week, but if she doesn't change her tone by then, my patience will be all gone.

      Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes, because then you are a mile away and have their shoes.

      by Flinch on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:17:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  How can u do somebody good by prolonging the pain (0+ / 0-)

      agony and delusion?

  •  I don't recall things this way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sap, Words In Action

    it seems to me that on the night of the scream, Dean was on top. the scream -- endlessly looped on cable news -- dragged him down.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell

    by zic on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:54:50 AM PDT

    •  nah (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sanuk, lineatus

      dean was trending downward for at least two months leading up to the iowa caucus.  then he and dick gephardt killed each other those last two weeks.  it was a lost cause by the time i got to iowa for the caucuses.

      John Cornyn is an asshole with shoes. Support Rick Noriega!

      by anna on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:57:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think he came in third that night. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ... so hardly "on top".  At least he went on to revitalize the party through the 50-state strategy.  Hillary is going to have to do an even greater followup act to regain her standing.

      Now, go spread some peace, love and understanding. Use force if necessary. - Phil N DeBlanc

      by lineatus on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:57:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You don't lift spirits by claiming the nominee... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jhpdb, Mother of Zeus

    is less likely to win the election.

    You lift spirits by focusing on the positives, not the negatives, and that is what most of the complainers here are talking about.

  •  They were not ready last night, granted (0+ / 0-)

    But 'her 18 million' need more leading than she offred last night

    And it needs to start today even if it is her Mom's birthday.

    She needs to lead them back to the party NOW.

    She needs to move to acceptance faster than the 18 million can.

    Tax Paradigms, Feed Imaginations

    by jhpdb on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:55:58 AM PDT

  •  I can see where you're coming from (0+ / 0-)

    eventually, though, someone's gonna have to lower the boom.

    Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. --Molly Ivins

    by sap on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:56:06 AM PDT

  •  You have more faith than me. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hastur, Vita Brevis

    I personally don't think that horrible Me-Monster has a gracious or altruistic bone in her body.  I think she is holding a knife to Obama's throat right now to get the VP slot.

    •  perhaps i do (0+ / 0-)

      i really don't want to think the worst of her, even though i've been completely and utterly outraged by her campaign and her "supporters" at times.

      i dunno, maybe i've still got a bit of last night's afterglow going on. =)

      John Cornyn is an asshole with shoes. Support Rick Noriega!

      by anna on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 07:59:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  More than me too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Every time I see a logical action for her to take, she does the opposite. I really can't forsee letting my guard down until I hear a definitive concession and endorsement.

      Last night was miles from that. Miles.

  •  I was struck last night (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    by repeated references to her supporters as an "army", not a movement. Now she has to organize a retreat and that takes time. It's an inherent problem with top-down management, and Thurs or Fri is probably realistic.

  •  I appreciate your insight, I hope you're right.NT (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    asking "Why not?" Lisa in CT on First Read and Obama website

    by JellyBearDemMom on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:01:11 AM PDT

  •  Is Hillary being held hostage by her supporters? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anna, StageStop

    I listened to both Clinton and Obama on the radio last night (we don't have a TV.)  Clinton went fist. I listened not only to her but too her crowd. The crowd sounded a little angry, and I tried to imagine what it would be like to be Clinton and to face that crowd. The though scared me-- especially when they broke out in a chant of "Denver! Denver! Denver!" --the hair stood up on the back of my neck-- they are serious, I thought. They don't remember 1968. I remember 1968 and I wasn't even born then! Denver? They want Denver?

    But, how could Clinton say no? How could she tell them to just pack up and go home? How could she possibly just give up when she's riding a kind of wave? I think it's a little beyond her control at this point. If she had conceded last night her supporters would have been so angry, with her, with the DNC with media-- so I can only hope she's doing her best to steer the wave towards something like unity-- She got her supporters to clap a little for Obama last night and frankly that's a huge step.

    Frankly, I think she did all that she could. A leader can guide, but she cannot force.

    •  Hillary's holding her supporters hostage. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      antboy, NHCt
    •  yes indeed (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sanuk, futurebird

      that's part of what really got me.  but you know, if i'd have been in their shoes i can perhaps maybe on some level see myself chanting for denver, too.  after all, they've gotta be hella disappointed right now.  i mean, i know even after the val air, i clung to the dean campaign like white on rice and stuck with him until he officially dropped.  i sincerely think the same thing is happenign here.

      John Cornyn is an asshole with shoes. Support Rick Noriega!

      by anna on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:05:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  disagree, she missed an opportunity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Clinton could've spent more time talking about Obama as a strong candidate with similar values without making a full concession speech. She missed an opportunity to begin moving her supporters in Obama's direction, without forcing them to do so. I think the campaign viewed it as a chance to pitch for the VP slot. Making a speech like that sent a clear message of attempted coercion imo. Hopefully they'll shift gears when it becomes clear Obama can't choose her for VP, but people have been saying she'd tone it down for a while now, so we'll see.

      She also pissed off some Montana folks I know when she said South Dakota got the last word and made no mention of Montana or Obama's likely win there. This speech had nothing to do with reconciliation imo.

  •  "Stay the course" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Who is writing her speaches? How could they have let a Bush-speak phrase in her speach?

    Between that and the "I have more votes" routine, Senator Clinton loses any chance at redemption....

    •  that was the only line (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that really bothered me.  but again, i have to put it aside.  she will redeem herself.  

      but you know, she doesn't have to worry about us, really.  she needs to worry about her camp. we need to concentrate on winning the general election.

      John Cornyn is an asshole with shoes. Support Rick Noriega!

      by anna on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:08:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  that threw me for a loop too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What were they thinking with that line? There is no way a national politician could use that line and not know it's connection to Bush. Very weird choice, I wonder about the motivation for it.

  •  A true leader can be gratefulAND concede defeat. (0+ / 0-)

    As Fitzgerald said, genius is the ability to entertain a world of contradictions. Leadership is, in part, the ability to lead in that world. Hillary can only lead in a state of denial.

  •  So you expect her (0+ / 0-)

    to come back and acknowledge that "every vote counts", including the unimportant caucus states, so she did not really win the most votes (a continuing effort to delegitimize Obama)?  And to tell her supporters that Obama really isn't an empty suit and that he is more qualified than McCain (contrary to what she has been saying?)......No offense but, I wouldn't bet on it.

    "Life is a tragedy for those who feel, a comedy for those who think" - Jean de la Bruyere

    by Tinuviel on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:06:38 AM PDT

  •  Imagine what her email inbox looks like right now (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    * Don't you dare give in!

    * For the sake of party unity give in!

    * Women everywhere are looking to YOU!

    * We cannot win in November if you do not end this NOW.

    * I have given everything I have, to get this far-- we're almost there!

    * Call it quits before you DESTROY the party!

    This times 100000.

    I would not want to be Clinton! There is no easy way out of this one!

  •  she didn't need to concede, but... (0+ / 0-)

    I think Hillary needed to do a couple things last night. First, she needed to start dialing her supporters down, to begin the walk-back from the months of hysterics that culminated on Saturday with Ickes ridiculous remarks and all those angry supporters. If anything, she exacerbated that with her talk of winning the popular vote, by not knocking down the Denver chant, and by offering little praise of Obama beyond a couple throwaway lines. Second, she needed to help frame the debate with McCain. Did she even mention him? Nowhere did she talk about the dramatic differences between the parties. Instead, she stoked the fires of fury among her core of supporters. I had no expectations of a concession last night. But I did expect a dose of class and graciousness. Instead, I found that yet again when I start to sympathize with Hillary, she gives me ample reason to be disgusted with her.

  •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for an interesting perspective.

    I hope you are right.

  •  I disagree with your assessment (0+ / 0-)

    that Clinton is the leader of a movement.  The only movement involved in her campaign was NOW, and their off the wall approach has probably set their movement back 50 years.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 08:27:27 AM PDT

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