I watched last night. I was told there would be a train wreck, so I watched. It’s like watching a NASCAR race. You know that everyone says they tune in for the competition, but they really are waiting for the huge mess of squealing tires and flipping car bodies coming out of turn four. I watched Hillary Clinton seize prime-time away from Obama on the night that he crossed the delegate count finish line. It was her concession speech. Or maybe it was her plea for party unity and a VP slot on the ticket. Surprisingly it was neither.
The Art of Non-Concession
She was in fine form and Bill was beaming. She was surrounded by sycophantic followers, particularly a singularly expressive mid-twenties oaf in a yellow and orange striped shirt over her left shoulder, and running the standard Democratic candidate course of promising everything to everyone, regardless of cost. It was singing to the hired choir. They loved it. But, at the end when you really tried to analyze what she said, let alone what she might have meant, there wasn’t any “there” there. She didn’t concede. She didn’t unify. She didn’t offer support to the candidate of apparent choice. She didn’t breach the taboo of suggesting that she was the best and/or only candidate choice for vice-prez.
What she did, was to point out repeatedly and insistently that she was the choice of more primary voters ostensibly from her party than any Democratic candidate in history. She finally got the popular vote majority that she had been claiming for the last six weeks. She pointed out the key states that she won and droned the long litany of victories she achieved. It ignored the essential fact that it is delegates that count, not total votes. But what does that matter if your name is Clinton?
She asked the question we had all come to hear the answer to. What does she want? We know what she wants. The problem is that it is not currently available for anyone to give to her. She wants the presidency. She wants the world stage. She wants to show, once and for all, that she wears the pants (and keeps them on) in the Clinton, AKA Rodham-Clinton, household.
Her answer, however, was something much more prosaic and visionary. She wants universal health care, whatever that is. She wants education for everyone apparently without those pesky standards of “No Child Left Behind.” She wants to end the war, and maybe parenthetically end all wars in a Wilsonian coup. She wants jobs for all Americans, apparently disregarding the aversion to work which plagues a broad swath of her constituency. She wants “fair” taxation, meaning somehow milking every cent from the successful to re-allocate fairly to the have-nots while mystically maintaining productivity from those robbed in the process. She wants America again respected in the world, apparently by pandering to the surrender gene of many Western Europeans and ignoring the security of Israel and strife in the Middle-East and Africa. She, in short, wants Utopia.
So, what did we learn? I guess we got a lesson in the wisdom of Yogi Berra. “It ain’t over, til’ it’s over!” And, in this case, it ain’t really over until the votes are cast at the Democratic Party Convention in Denver in August.
I’m kind of glad I don’t live in Colorado anymore. I suspect that if there is a wind from the north that week the smoke cloud might drift as far south as Colorado Springs.