Gwnewch y pethau bychain

The Art of the Possible

I really haven’t talked about politics much in the last few years. I admit to being pretty dispirited about the subject, and getting too worked up about things I have no direct control over does bad things for my depression issues. Besides, other people are covering the politics much better than I would.

Also, honestly, I’m not as passionate about politics as many of my friends. I’m less a moderate than I am a pragmatist. I believe that politics is about compromise, and that both sides of most issues have at least some merit. This doesn’t tend to make for a very compelling position for debate, and generally only succeeds in getting both sides mad at me.

But it’s an election season, and I do have a strong interest in the outcome. So I’m starting to pay closer attention, now that the conventions are underway. Last night, Hilary Clinton gave her address to the Democratic convention, calling for unity in the party and throwing her full support to Barack Obama. Today, reading responses to her excellent speech, I’ve noticed a nearly universal sentiment being expressed.

“Boy, that really had to be hard for her.” “That must have really stuck in her craw.” “I can’t imagine how much it hurt for her to have to get up there and give that speech.” “Boy, she really managed to choke down her resentment and support the ticket.”

Do you have any idea how insulting that is to Hilary Clinton? To presume that everything she stands for, everything she ran on, every issue that she promoted in her campaign is ultimately secondary to her own personal ambition, that it must have been painful to her to support her party’s nominee? I’m sure she is disappointed she didn’t win the nomination. But to suggest that she would really rather thumb her nose at everyone but is instead putting on a brave face for the sake of expedience is to suggest that she’s really interested in nothing more than her own self-interest.

I have issues with the way Clinton ran her campaign. At one time, I’d have been happy with her as the nominee, even though she wasn’t my first choice, but by the end I was rather put out by her. But I don’t believe she is so shallow and superficial that she doesn’t have a strong interest in seeing Obama heading up the next administration. And you shouldn’t either, if you have even a bit of respect for her and what she’s accomplished in her career.

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19 Comments

  1. Yes, it’s insulting to Clinton. She earned the insult, and I don’t have even a bit of respect for her.

  2. Thank you, Rob. It had to be said, and you said it very well, and I agree with you totally.

  3. Do you have any idea how insulting that is to Hilary Clinton?

    How so? She put years of her life and tens of millions of dollars into trying to do the one thing that she has wanted more than anything else, and she failed, and now she had to get up with the world watching and be gracious and cheerful about it.

    I would think that would be excruciating for anyone, not just her.

    • But she doesn’t have to be gracious and cheerful about her loss[1]. She has to be gracious and cheerful about a good man leading a party she loves. That it would be hard, that there’d be some bitterness in her heart, sure, but that it would be excruciating? Why assume that?

      [1] I don’t consider it a failure to lose to someone who was better than you were, when you did extremely well yourself.

      • Why assume that?

        Because I know politicians and I’ve worked on political campaigns, so I know the ego you have to have to run in the first place. If you were able to say “Oh, I lost to someone better than I was,” you wouldn’t have been running in the first place.

        • I asked “why do you assume it would be excruciating to be gracious and cheerful about a good man leading a party she loves?” You answered a different question.

          Her speech had nothing to do with her loss. Mature people can put personal pains aside to speak well about something.

          • I asked “why do you assume it would be excruciating to be gracious and cheerful about a good man leading a party she loves?” You answered a different question.

            Because your question has nothing to do with anything I’ve been saying. I never said anything about her feelings “about a good man leading a party she loves.”

            I posted in my LJ that I thought that had to be an excruciating speech for Clinton to give. I still believe that, because she’s in the position of having to be the supportive, gracious loser in a race that she thought she should have won.

            Her speech had nothing to do with her loss.

            In what sense? If she hadn’t run and lost, she wouldn’t have been giving the speech in the first place. A large portion of the speech was about her campaign.


          • Because your question has nothing to do with anything I’ve been saying. I never said anything about her feelings “about a good man leading a party she loves.”

            Which is why I brought it up, and asked my question based upon that perspective.

            In what sense? If she hadn’t run and lost, she wouldn’t have been giving the speech in the first place. A large portion of the speech was about her campaign.

            Lots of people lost the Democratic nomination. Only one of them was giving a speech. So, it’s not running and losing” that got her giving a speech.

            Her speech was about her campaign… but her campaign was more than “her loss”.

        • I’m not suggesting that she wasn’t disappointed, or upset, or hurt. But I keep seeing people who suggest that Hilary should torpedo Obama and deliver the country to McCain sot hat she can run again in 2012, and when she failed to do that, suggesting that she’s supporting the party ticket against her will, or under duress, or against her better judgement. Not everyone who made the comments I was mentioning has that attitude, of course, but enough of them do that it infects the tone of the idea, even in people who didn’t mean anything by it.

          • But I keep seeing people who suggest that Hilary should torpedo Obama and deliver the country to McCain sot hat she can run again in 2012, and when she failed to do that, suggesting that she’s supporting the party ticket against her will, or under duress, or against her better judgement.

            None of which I believe -- I think she was completely sincere last night. I was only referring to her feelings about being the one giving the Tuesday night speech instead of the one giving the Thursday night speech.

          • I know. I acknowledged that not everyone saying those things believes those things. And if you were the only person I saw making that statement, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

            It was the drumbeat of that idea in many many places that started to gnaw on me.

  4. Well said, and I completely agree.

  5. Well, I’m a passionate pragmatist. Or, as I like to say, if politics is the art of the possible, advocacy is making the impossible possible.

    That said, I was there. I thought it a good speech.

    I hear you on the point that those who focus this only on the personal — and in a rather petty way — are doing Clinton a disservice. People who run for President in a real way must have a mix of personal ambition, hard headed pragmatism, a desire to make a real difference, and an utter certainty in their conviction that they are the right person in the right place at the right time.

    Clinton had both personal and ideological reasons to make her speech. It is a sign of her hard headed pragmatism and devotion to party and principle. But I cannot imagine what it cost personally.

    I often compare Clinton to Henry Seward, the Illinois Senator who was the odds on favorite to win the 1860 Republican nomination, until Lincoln won in an upset. Like Seward, Clinton lost in part because she failed to perceive the importance of critical on the ground details and her supporters were outmanuevered by the Lincoln team.

    Seward put on a brave front for the disappointed crowd, retreated to his room, and wept that his life’s dream would never happen. Then he pulled himself together and put his country and his cause (abolition) ahead of his personal disappointment and bitterness to go out and campaign for Lincoln among the abolotionists who found Lincoln far too timid and unlikely to fight for them on the slavery question.

    There were many things I did not like about Clinton, and reasons I would have been unhappy with her at the head of the ticket. But I respect the human element of what she is doing now, on a personal and professional level.

  6. Yes. Thanks for putting into words what’s been sitting in the back of my brain.

    Senator Clinton is a *consummate* politician. She knows that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose -- but you dust yourself off and keep your eyes on the larger goal. And my impression last night was that her speech was neither difficult nor grudging, but straight from her proud Democratic heart.

    I just wish some of her self-styled supporters were as dedicated to the greater good as she is.

  7. I see no reason why it wouldn’t have been difficult for her. She had a great deal invested in this primary season.

    That said, I believe she’s sincere in what she said last night — which was all the right things, in a powerful way. Taking her at her word(s), she’s got her shoulder in the right spot, her feet set, and is pushing hard in the winning direction. It wouldn’t surprise me if, when all’s said and done, she takes either a Cabinet-level appointment or wins a vote for Senate Majority Leader, in part as a result of this.

  8. This is a really great point; thank you.

    Maybe many of the reactions could be better expressed as admiration for the fact that she *is* seeing beyond personal disappointment to her concern for the well-being of her country right now.

  9. I think what you’re seeing is partly the result of the news media hammering on the (possibly spurious) narrative of “Hillary and her supporters as sore losers” for the sake of having some semblance of drama to report on, and partly the result of the perception of Mrs. Clinton that has been, rightly or wrongly, built up over the years in the general public — that of a woman who is cold, calculating, ambitious and aggressive. Even I have not been immune to it, and it may even have some basis in fact.

    But even if she is the Lady Macbeth type many believe her to be, she is still Democrat enough that while she may wish she were the nominee instead of Obama, she sure as hell doesn’t want McCain and the GOP winning the election. So it doesn’t surprise me that she could bring some actual passion to a speech that would have been politically required of her in any event.

  10. Well said!!
    I too can’t get too excited about politics, I tend to vote Democratic, but I wish politicians could be more about compromise, and doing what is best for us, rather than the partisan politics that it is today, doing what is considered best for the party, and not caring what the other side has to say. The world isn’t black/white, usually, it’s more a shade of gray.

  11. If I believed in something, put up a hard fight for it and loses, it’d be hard for me not to feel upset, to say the least. So I am pretty sure that, to some extent, there must be some truth to what those people say about resentment.

    But Hillary is not an ordinary person. She’s shown in the past that she can pull herself together very quickly and fight on. She’s shown that even now. The ability to put aside personal feelings to fight for a larger cause markthe the (wo)man.

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