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Shocker: Hillary Still Thinks It’s About Her

An insightful editorial from Peggy Noonan, via the New York Post:



June 8, 2008 — WASHINGTON – She was as gracious as she could be. I mean that literally. It was the closest she could come to grace. It was all about her – I, me, me, I – and not about the man who needs her support. When she referred to Barack Obama, it was all poker-face and passive-voice.

When Mrs. Clinton speaks and wants you to believe she means something, she gestures with her hands and arms, and attempts inflection.

But here, in praising the presumptive Democratic nominee, she used the same voice she had used on the trail to attack him. When she got to the parts of the speech in which she endorsed Obama, she seemed to be making a point of reading.

She lowered her eyes to the text and read with a comparatively flattened voice, and with little expression.

When she spoke of her own campaign, her own “challenges,” her own supporters – there her voice warmed. It glowed. There was also an overall flatness to her argument in favor of Obama: She is endorsing him because he supports her issues. They’re hers, not his.

When she spoke of him as a person, as a man, she merely recited the facts everyone knows: He comes from a particular place and has a particular history with regard to public service.

It was all so fully amped and so very tepid. It was more kabuki: “I’ll support him and I’ll say all the words I have to so you can’t accuse me of being grudging, but watch my face and voice and tone: I’m the one I’ve been waiting for.”

Something revealing: When you are conceding that you have lost a political race, you know the people you’re speaking to will boo when you ask them to support your rival. That’s how fervent supporters are; it’s how the people who bother to go to concession speeches are. So you have your people spread word in advance: No booing.

If they boo anyway, you put up your hand and say, “No booing here, my friends, we are together as a party, and if you support me, you support him. Do you support me?” Yay! they will say. “Then together, we will go forward and support our nominee.”

I noticed the absence of this. There were boos, and Mrs. Clinton did not try to stop them.

She didn’t look like someone who thinks she’s going to be his vice presidential nominee.

Mrs. Clinton spent most of the campaign saying she was running as an individual and should be judged as such, and not as a woman. But in the speech, she seemed to be saying the generating purpose behind her candidacy was to stand for the rights of women, and the most quotable line, delivered with feeling, was when she said her candidacy did not manage to break the glass ceiling but “It’s got about 18 million new cracks in it!”

It was a wonderful line. But it was not about Obama…

Mrs. Clinton may have meant to answer all questions yesterday, but she gave rise to more than she answered. When she says she endorses Obama, is she acting?

Does she want her supporters to think she’s acting? Is it true when she says she will help him? If she throws herself into actual full support of Obama, what will that look like?

What would her passionate support of someone who isn’t Hillary Clinton look like? Does she feel the Democratic Party establishment pushed her out of the race, that Obama’s machinations with them actually outdid her machinations?

Is she bitter? Will she try for revenge? In what way? Can she put party before pique?

She didn’t seem to yesterday.

We haven’t been as big of a fan of Ms. Noonan (sic) as we were once upon a time. But she surely is on to something here.

For the record, according to the transcript of her speech on her campaign’s website, Mrs. Clinton managed to use the pronouns “I, me, my” a whopping 96 times.

She also used “we” 79 times, often referring to herself.

In contrast, she mentioned Mr. Obama by name a mere 15 times.

Oddly enough she only used her usually ubiquitous “you know” once. Unless the transcript has been scrubbed.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, June 8th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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