The closest they’ve ever been?
Sigh. Last night’s Hillary Clinton speech was about as calculated a piece of political theater as you’re likely to encounter. The first half was another protracted funeral for her failed campaign, replete with shoutouts to the "sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits" and stump-speech references to Iraqi vets, single moms and so on. Stale stuff, but she looked good and sounded as sharp as ever.
The breakthrough moment came when she directly confronted her embittered, die-hard supporters. “I want you to ask yourselves: were you in this campaign just for me?” she asked, following up with a string of issues she, her party and Barack Obama stand for and making crystal clear the differences between the Dems and McCain.
But then it was back to me, me me, I, I, I, and how we need a Democratic presidency just like her husband’s. Never did she articulate the reasons Barack Obama would be a superior Commander In Chief — it was a speech about that "generic Democratic candidate" whom, while the real nominee is slipping in the national polls, still commands a sizable lead. What Hillary needed to do (and failed to do, in my opinion), was to make explicit that Barack is "generic enough," to borrow from Barry’s comment about Hillary’s "likability."
Coulda been worse, though. And it probably will be tonight, when Bubba hits the stage. As of yesterday, his speech (which was originally supposed to stick to national security issues and steer clear of ’90s Clintonomics auto-fellatio) had yet to be written. That can’t make camp Obama feel good.
Nor can the fact that certain key members of the Clinton inner circle — James Carville, Terry McAuliffe, etc. — will be departing Denver before Barack accepts the nomination on Thursday. Classy. (Maureen Dowd gives an overview of the Democratic discontent in a Times Op-Ed today.)
One last thought: for all the talk about glass ceilings, no one ever brings up the fact that it’s impossible for an (acknowledged) athiest to attain the nomination of one of the two major parties. Chew on that while you brace yourself for the inevitable appointment of Mitt Romney as McCain’s Number Two. . .