The Morning After
Our long national nightmare is over.
It's been widely reported and confirmed by higher ups in the Clinton campaign that Hillary will acknowledge reality on Saturday, and endorse Barack Obama as the Democratic Party nominee. And late Wednesday comes a letter from Clinton herself confirming this.
The end came today, and the coup de grace was dealt by her own supporters. First the New York congressional delegation, led by Charlie Rangel (who later went public) told her that her speech last night was a mistake, and that they wanted to endorse Obama immediately, and she should do the same. Then, according to Howard Fineman of Newsweek/Keith, a group of 8 Senators who'd supported her told her in a conference call that the time to endorse Obama is now--a call initiated by higher ups in her campaign.
All this was after negative reactions to her speech, and her attempt to muster her supporters (which led to racist remarks to at least one black Obama congressional endorser's office) and some rebellion in her ranks (Hillary Rosen: "I am not a bargaining chip. I am a Democrat."
The writing was on the wall by the time Clinton and Obama literally crossed paths after he spoke to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and before she did. Especially as he was accompanied by Rahm Emmanuel, who'd been for Clinton but had endorsed Obama just hours earlier.
And the flood of endorsements continued today, including former Clinton supporters Senator Barbara Boxer and Rep. Maxine Waters. Here's one list, and here's another (neat picture.)
Along with the collapse of Clinton's support came a collapse of talk about her being VP. Obama appointed three people to begin the selection process--the surprise being Caroline Kennedy. Apparently she's been advising as well as appearing onstage for awhile now. Update on this point--E.J. Dionne saying at greater length and probity in Thursday's Washington Post what was said here Tuesday night:" Hillary Clinton talked her way out of the vice presidency on Tuesday night. Barack Obama may never have intended to make her the offer. But Clinton's largely self-focused non-concession speech suggested that what some call a dream ticket could turn into a nightmare.
But gaining the vice presidency by invoking leverage just can't work. It makes the presidential candidate look weak. It breaks in advance the trust that running mates need. It can only presage conflicts and power struggles in a new administration. Hillary Clinton is an enormously talented public servant. Many who ended up supporting Obama once hoped to support her. But Clinton's political future requires her to accept that Obama has prevailed, that the primary campaign is over and that graciousness in defeat can, paradoxically, be turned into the most powerful leverage of all. "
Meanwhile, the historic nature of Obama's nomination was especially recognized and applauded abroad:
From hundreds of supporters crowded around televisions in rural Kenya, Obama's ancestral homeland, to jubilant Britons writing "WE DID IT!" on the Brits for Barack discussion board on Facebook, people celebrated what they called an important racial and generational milestone for the United States.
"This is close to a miracle. I was certain that some things will not happen in my lifetime," said Sunila Patel, 62, a widow encountered on the streets of New Delhi. "A black president of the U.S. will mean that there will be more American tolerance for people around the world who are different."
Unless he decides to show up at the Hillary event Saturday, Obama is taking the weekend off. It's about time for this blog to take some time off, too. In fact, to slow down for the near future. So my handful of regular visitors should expect a weekly rather than daily report, as events warrant and the spirit moves.
It's been fun playing pundit, fun seeing that I did it pretty well, often enough anticipating news points and judgments, as well as catching the gist as well as the drift of events. But time to turn to other, harder follies for awhile.
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