Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Inspired yet?

Watching Hillary Clinton react to her large margin of Pyrrhic victory in Kentucky last night, I couldn't tell if she was rallying the troops or teaching a class in convoluted math:

Granted, Hillary had her moments last night, such as when she said of Ted Kennedy, "He's been with us for our fights, and we're with him now in his." And in the final minute or so of her speech, when she began speaking of uniting America behind common issues. But for the most part, her speech wouldn't have been out of place with a PowerPoint presentation behind it:

"We're winning the popular vote, and I'm more determined than ever to see that every vote is cast and every ballot counted."

"I need your help. Your support has made the difference between victory and defeat. Though we have been outspent massively, your support has helped us make our case on the air and on the ground, and your help will keep us going. We've made it this far together, so please go to [everybody chants on cue]!"

"We have to get this right. We have to select a nominee who is best positioned to win in November... Now I'm told that more people have voted for me than for than anyone who's ever run for the Democratic nomination. That's more than 17 million votes."

"And I'm going to keep standing up for the voters in Florida and Michigan. Democrats in those two states cast 2.3 million votes. And they deserve to have those votes counted! And that's why I'm going to keep making our case until we have a nominee, whoever she may be!"

"Kentucky has a knack for picking presidents...It's often been said, 'As Kentucky goes, so goes the nation!'"

"Neither Senator Obama nor I has won the 2,210 delegates required to secure the nomination. And because this race is so close, still separated by less than 200 delegates out of more than 4,400, neither Senator Obama nor I will have reached that magic number when the voting ends on June 3."

"Who's ready to lead our party at the top of our ticket? Who is ready to defeat Senator McCain in the swing states and among swing voters? Who's ready to rebuild the economy and the war in Iraq and protect our national security as commander-in-chief? Who's ready on day one?"

"And I'm thinking again about Dalton Hatfield, the 11-year-old from Kentucky, who sold his bike and his video games to raise money to support my campaign. And then he asked others to give too. And he was able to really give me a boost...Dalton, thank you so much. The $422 you raised helped carry the day in Kentucky!"

My grandfather, a war veteran, received American Legion magazine. Each issue had a point-counterpoint on a military-related issue, pitting (to put it generously) a liberal versus a conservative. The writers rotated, but the template was almost always the same: the writer on the left would appeal to intellect and emotion, while the one on the right would offer enough monetary figures to make you forget what argument they're making in the first place. The oratorical contrast between Clinton and Barack Obama reminds me very much of that.

Bonus observation: At one point in the speech, Clinton voters erupted with, "Yes we will! Yes we will! Yes we will!" Change you can Xerox, indeed. I'm surprised Hillary didn't make a Jay-Z reference.


Betty B. said...

Periodically, when I'm feeling down, I think about the fact that I don't really care if Obama just now realized that he needs the 17 million voters who supported Hillary. There are other alternatives in the voting booth.

Maybe she should run as an Independent.

Ian McGibboney said...

I think any Hillary voter who says they won't vote Democratic in the general election if Barack's the nominee (or vice versa) is either being petulant or has incredibly weak principles. Clinton and Obama are the closer to each other than anyone else on most issues, so anyone who would vote for McCain (or Nader, even) rather than the other Democrat is holding a grudge that defies understanding.

Terry Troll said...

Saw a poll about two weeks ago that said (roughly, memory you know) 38% of Obamanites would not vote for Clinton and 36% of Clitonistas would not vote for Obama. One in three either way.--- "I don't belong to an organized political party...I'm a Democrat" (There should be an attribution there but it's the memory thing again).

Ian McGibboney said...

Terry, that's Will Rogers. Very apt.

Still, I think that percentage is artificially high. It's blind emotion in a close race. Like I said, I seriously doubt this fraction won't get their heads together between now and November and vote for McCain just out of spite. I believe 27 percent of voters are idiots, but not one in three. And definitely not in this circumstance.