Hillary Loses Again

As Hillary Clinton spoke, my son, Nick, who is 16, came into the living room, saw what I was watching and asked if Clinton had officially announced her withdrawal. I nodded, unable to speak, and he noticed for the first time that there were tears on my cheeks.

"Are you OK?" he asked. I nodded. "You're that upset about this?"

"Yes," I finally said. "I've always thought she would make a better president, even though I won't have any problem voting for Obama."

A few minutes later my sadness turned to rage when Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews started spinning the speech. Their first words were concerned with the number of minutes Clinton spent "patting herself on the back" before mentioning Obama, and whether her endorsement would be perceived as strong enough to send her supporters into the Obama camp.

So here's what I'm thinking: Could someone please put a choke-hold on these guys?

Tim Russert, who'd been put on hold as these two bloviated, at least had the sense of moment to note how impressive Clinton had been, how she had masterfully denied the McCain camp any possible chance to paint her endorsement as tepid. Olbermann and Matthews quickly fell in step, but the damage had been done.

In defeat Hillary exuded a grace many of us wish she'd shown throughout the campaign, to be sure. But she also used the opportunity to restate what those of us -- unashamed feminists from the old school, I guess -- had found so significant about her run: acknowledging that women still lag behind men, whatever their color, when it comes to opportunity, pay equity, and, maybe most important of all, respect.

She said this without ignoring any of the other goals - universal health care, ending the war on Iraq, restoring the economy - that needed to be raised in urging her supporters to suspend their own disappointment at least for the moment in order to direct their energies to the most important task at hand, which is, of course, putting Obama in the White House.

It was a great speech, and a heroic one.

So why couldn't NBC also step up to the plate and find a single woman to add to the commentary? Why couldn't the trio of New York Times writers covering the speech - Adam Nagourney, Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg - have been augmented by a single woman reporter?

The campaign so far has taught most of us to glaze over when the commentators come on, rehashing the same crap, slinging the same garbage, adding nothing to the debate. But this one really beat all.

You needn't be a feminist to feel the awful wound, the deflating, business-as-usual aspect to Hillary Clinton's withdrawal from contention for the Democratic presidential nomination. You want to feel deflation? Just listen to the menfolk.