If Hillary Clinton is out to sabotage Barack Obama’s
nomination coronation ascension to leftist Godhead, she’s doing a very, very subtle job of it. Since she can’t win the nomination herself, she’s leveraged her position masterfully. Her appearance last night was a jubilant celebration of all things Hillary! and an endorsement of Obama that was about as rousing as getting a chloroform-soaked rag in the face.
Tonight, her husband is speaking and, though I didn’t bother to tune in (I’ll read the transcript in the morning), I’d bet the money in my pocket that he won’t be up there waving the bloody racism shirt like he normally would had he not been accused by Obama supporters of being a racist.
Getting those speeches on those days at those times was a big deal. But she did a whole lot more than that and it may well deprive Obama of the normal convention bump.
By all rights, only one of them should have had a prominent speaking role and neither one of them should have spoken in prime-time. Last night’s spot should have been reserved for a rising star in the party similar to the spot they gave Barack Obama in 2004. Parties do that to show everyone that they have some “bench strength”. The Democrats haven’t done that this year mostly because Clinton snookered the Obama people into giving up two entire days of the convention to her and her husband. Admittedly, the Obama people could have used Monday night’s keynote for that purpose, but they gave it instead to Michelle Obama. That left them with only two nights to bring a couple young, Obama-loving go-getters to America’s attention. Thanks to Hillary, that didn’t happen.
Look at the four-day lineup:
- Monday: Michelle Obama, the nominee’s wife. That was a wasted spot.
- Tuesday: Hillarystock ’08. Another wasted spot.
- Tonight: Joe Biden, but the only way that Biden’s speech is going to get more coverage tomorrow than Bill Clinton’s is if he starts speaking in tongues or bites the head off a live bat.
- Thursday: Barack Obama in a production so elaborate that it wouldn’t surprise me if he came out to give his speech dressed as a Slipperman.
The Democrats squandered three keynote speeches out of four. That is what we, back in the 80s, called getting played.
As beautifully as she snookered Obama with the speech lineup, Hillary’s real masterstroke happened this afternoon. She had originally gotten the Obama campaign to agree to a roll-call vote with a twist. The vote would be cut off early to head off any rowdyness by lurking PUMAs who planned to raise a ruckus if there was a full vote. The cherry on top of that agreement was that she’d be the one to stop the vote and ask that he be named the nominee by acclaim. In other words, she got to control the vote. As you can see, she not only put herself in the center of the proceedings but also racked up a large enough delegate total to remind every Democrat that she still holds a significant amount of influence going into November. That pretty much guaranteed that two days’ news coverage would mostly be about her instead of Obama.
Also remember that this isn’t likely to assuage the PUMAs. They wanted to go through the whole vote and, since that didn’t happen, they’re still out there ready to make trouble. And Hillary knows that.
Let’s lay this out. Hillary managed to grab the spotlight for two of the four nights of the convention and during the roll call vote that should have been a triumphant and uniting moment for the Obama campaign. What does Obama have? Aside from his big speech tomorrow, ducksquat.