Hillary Clinton’s Convention Speech

Posted by Katherine | August 28, 2008 – 12:25 pm
Hillary onstage at convention
[talkradionews / Flickr]

The general consensus seems to be that Hillary Clinton delivered party unity in her convention speech. Here’s some blogjuice about other aspects of the speech.

Kyle E. Moore is “vehemently partisan, proudly democratic, and unapologetically liberal,” and he felt Clinton met every “astronomical” expectation — she stared down the PUMAs, pummelled McCain, and trumpeted Obama. Perhaps most importantly, she tied together what the primaries had ripped apart: the fight for feminism and racial equality.

One of the things that was to me the saddest aspects of the past year and a half, and this Democratic primary contest, was this feeling just underneath the surface that you had to choose. We had to make a choice that we were going to be either for equality for women, or for equality for African Americans-the two were mutually exclusive, you couldn’t be for one without being against the other. One had to win out over the other because there was only one first place spot.

It was somehow forgotten that equality is equality, it doesn’t matter if it’s for women, or African Americans, or Muslim Americans, or homosexuals. We somehow forgot that equality for all is the answer.

And that was the power of Mrs. Clinton’s speech last night. She drew them back together where they belong. She talked about the freeing of black slaves on the night that Lily Ledbetter got up and talked about how she was unable to sue for equal pay that she deserved. Clinton brought up marching on in at the sight of torches in the forest in the same convention where all Democrats adopted the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling as a badge of honor.

Egalia at Tennessee Guerilla Women may or may not be a PUMA, but she hasn’t backed down. To her, the speech was further proof that Hillary deserved the nomination:

Who could possibly listen to Hillary Rodham Clinton’s speech in Denver last night and not think about what a tremendous president we could have had? The Democratic Party really blew it. […] And now we get a flashy performer who can make the girls faint but stands and fights for nothing, instead of a woman who is a courageous fighter and has detailed knowledge of what Bush has done and what it’s going to take to fix it.

[…] Oh well. She may not be the nominee, but this male-dominated country now has a national leader who is a woman. We can’t call her Madame President yet, but at long last, the women of this country have a beloved national leader who is actually a woman.

Miryam Ehrlich Williamson at The Back Forty points out two things Clinton neglected that might have swayed even the most recalcitrant PUMAs:

Surveys have shown that the PUMA crowd is majorly unaware of McCain’s position on women’s reproductive rights. […] HRC didn’t even hint at that enormous difference between the Republican and the Democratic candidate. Had she done so, she could have switched at least half of the unconverted in the convention hall, and at least as many watching at home. She didn’t.

Then there’s the broader subject of the other guy’s idea of who should sit on the Supreme Court. With three likely resignations during the next president’s first term, the matter isn’t trivial. A whole panoply of issues crucial to women and working class Americans are at stake […]

Williamson does acknowledge that she might have missed a mention of the Supreme Court. Clinton did reference it but didn’t elaborate beyond noting that it’s “in a right-wing headlock.”

Chad the Elder is one of the “mild-mannered managers, architects, and research analysts” at Fraters Libertas who turn into “loners writing withering social commentary in [their] underpants” at night. He was appalled by Hillary’s speech. Specifically about what he saw as her “pity parade” of stories about helpless Americans:

This sort of emotional pandering is simply beyond parody. Biden and Obama are really going to have to dig deep to find more depressing anecdotes than these whoppers that Hillary trotted out […]

It’s like a high stakes game of pity poker. I’ll see your single mom with two adopted kids with autism who has no health care and gets cancer and raise you an African-American lesbian from New Orleans who because of Katrina and high gas prices can’t afford to travel to Walter Reed to visit her disabled partner who was wounded in Iraq because of lack of body armor.

[…] [A]re these seemingly endless tales of “woe is us” really what the American people want to hear from their would-be presidents?

Disembedded wasn’t seduced one by Hillary’s performance, either, but for him it was because of the “woe is me” tone he heard:

The Clintons are masters in the dramatic art of pointing at themselves and saying “attention must be paid to us!” Tuesday night, Hillary Clinton put on a good show of supporting Obama, but it was expressed as having been left with little recourse but to convey support for him, or else having to deal with something even worse, McCain and the Republicans. […]

But Clinton obviously still wants to be president. Hillary’s speech hardly concealed the clear subtext that it is really she who should be giving the major convention speech on Thursday night. […]

After all the time that she spent during her speech tracing the course of women’s suffrage and talking about what a world-historical figure she was, she failed to make any mention about Obama being a similarly important figure of history.

As a plausible, but much less noteworthy approach, she might have attempted to say something, just anything, about a specifically admirable individual characteristic that Obama might display. […]

In the end, it came down to being all about her.

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