Hillary Clinton last night delivered one of the best political speeches I have ever heard. She touched all of the right notes that were necessary to put to rest (finally) the incessant bellowing of the chattering classes inside the corporate media about how "disunited" the Democrats are after the bloody primary process. Howard Dean called all the talk about irreparable fissures inside the Democratic Party "Republican talking points"; I agree.
During the primary fight with Barack Obama, when Hillary "triangulated" against him (in classic Clinton fashion) with the line about John McCain and herself having "experience" and Obama having "only a speech," I fired off a blog denouncing this tactic. Lo and behold, now McCain is using that same line in his own attempt at "triangulating" against the Democrats and sow dissension within the ranks of his rivals. Last night, in my eyes, Hillary redeemed herself by bringing her supporters along and lining them up, without equivocating, behind the candidacy of Barack Obama. It was a marvelous speech, inspiring and uplifting. Hillary showed what a master politician she truly is.
Republicans and their mouthpieces at Fox News and in the rest of the corporate media wasted hours of air time "analyzing" how "divided" the Democrats are and how Hillary's supporters were going to peel off and vote for McCain in November. The aim of all this banter and blather was to fill dead air during the hours of convention coverage but also to spread division and create wedges between the groups that traditionally comprise a very diverse and fractious political party. It is clear from the coverage of the primaries and of the convention so far that the corporate media want the Republican gravy train to continue for another four years, and if they can help it along so much the better. All the talk of bitter divisions welling up in the hearts of Hillary supporters to the point of swinging them over to the McCain column was just another wedge strategy right out of the Karl Rove handbook. When CNN uses a panel consisting of David Gergen, Amy Holmes, and Mort Zuckerman, and even MSNBC gives Pat Buchanan too much frame time, it doesn't look like a "liberal" media to me. Well, Hillary's speech last night should put these types of obtuse speculation to rest.
(We'll see next week how the corporate media handle the Republicans' Nuremberg rally in Minnesota.)
What's more, Hillary had nothing to gain politically by stirring up the white heat of her supporters against Obama. In fact, her speech was politically savvy and very smart. If Obama loses in November it won't be because of a divided Democratic Party and Hillary can count on Obama's support in 2012. She showed herself to be a team player when it really mattered and this will put her in good stead in any future bid to become the first woman president.
If the 2004 election can be used as an example, we witnessed armies of right-wing Christian fundamentalists come out of the woodwork at the last minute in several key states -- most notably Ohio -- catapulting George W. Bush to victory. In 2008, I fear that armies of racists and Birchers of all stripes are going to come out of the same woodwork at the last minute to try to block the first African-American president. Obama is going to need all the help he can get, especially from the Clinton wing of the party, if he is to be successful in November. The Obama people should be very pleased with Clinton's speech last night -- it really could not have been better.
Hillary Clinton deserves high praise for beginning the process of unifying the party for what is sure to be a tough election fight. She has spoken eloquently about the "glass ceiling" that has kept women down, but Obama too faces a different kind of "ceiling." We are about to find out just how racist this country truly is.