What Does Hillary Want?
by Josh Orton, Wed Jun 04, 2008 at 01:21:49 PM EDT
Even Clinton herself mentioned the question last night.
Clinton's capital is her support and her supporters' willingness to stand behind her and her decisions. Party leadership and the Obama campaign want Clinton to concede and endorse Obama wholeheartedly so her supporters (and donors) embrace our nominee and unify.
But what does Clinton want in return?
Markos says money, but I don't agree. There is no significant difference in power and influence for the Clintons between today's campaign debt and a reimbursement in the future. Many say Clinton wants the VP slot, but that won't happen. And still others speculate about various types of media soft-landings or acknowledgment.
Maybe she's looking for issue-based commitments, like reports say Edwards secured before bowing out.
But in any case, it's not transparent. And the longer that lasts, the more cynical the whole thing feels.
I hope Clinton hears from supporters like Hilary Rosen:
Senator Clinton's speech last night was a justifiably proud recitation of her accomplishments over the course of this campaign, but it did not end right. She didn't do what she should have done. As hard and as painful as it might have been, she should have conceded, congratulated, endorsed and committed to Barack Obama. Therefore the next 48 hours are now as important to the future reputation of Hillary Clinton as the last year and a half have been.
After last night's final primary, she was only about pledged 100 delegates behind him. Ironic that after not wanting to make the decision for so long, it was in fact, the superdelegates who made the decision. But I guess they did so for another reason. It just isn't her time. It is his time. It's a new day that offers a freshness to our party that many have longed for. We felt the rush of new voices and a new energy in the Congressional sweep of 2006 and the sweep continues. It has been an organic shift. And a healthy one.
So, I am also so very disappointed at how she has handled this last week. I know she is exhausted and she had pledged to finish the primaries and let every state vote before any final action. But by the time she got on that podium last night, she knew it was over and that she had lost. I am sure I was not alone in privately urging the campaign over the last two weeks to use the moment to take her due, pass the torch and cement her grace. She had an opportunity to soar and unite. She had a chance to surprise her party and the nation after the day-long denials about expecting any concession and send Obama off on the campaign trail of the general election with the best possible platform. I wrote before how she had a chance for her "Al Gore moment." And if she had done so, the whole country ALL would be talking today about how great she is and give her her due.
Instead she left her supporters empty, Obama's angry, and party leaders trashing her. She said she was stepping back to think about her options. She is waiting to figure out how she would "use" her 18 million voters.
But not my vote. I will enthusiastically support Barack Obama's campaign. Because I am not a bargaining chip. I am a Democrat.
We'll likely never know the content of all the private conversations happening this week between campaigns. But I hope that the public version comes soon, and unites the Democratic party. Todd says she has his back, but her faint praise of Obama feels more like the bare minimum just to maintain decorum.
Hillary Clinton is better than this, and her supporters deserve her leadership.
Update [2008-6-4 18:45:0 by Josh Orton]: Problem solved. Coming in for a landing Friday...