I've already posted a little of my reaction to the Clinton delegate issues that the Democratic party is facing right now, but I wanted to take a more in-depth look at last night.
First off, poor Mark Warner. In case you didn't realize it, he was the official keynote speaker of the convention. That's a pretty lofty spot -- a spot held by the likes of Mario Cuomo, Ann Richards, Zell Miller, and an unknown Illinois State Senator by the name of Barack Obama. It can be a starmaking, watercooler type of moment in a political career. The people listed above (and others who've been keynote speakers) became national political figures almost instantly -- or at least became brief celebrities before fading away (or going crazy in the case of Zell Miller). Mark Warner admitted he had some pretty tough shoes to fill. His speech was a good speech, and it did what Crypt Keeper Carville said that the party needed to do -- it went after Bush and McCain. His refrain of "Four More Months" seriously sent shivers of joy down my spine. The problem is that poor Mark was overshadowed by what was to come. Even before he took the podium, he was pretty much screwed. (Did the networks even cover his speech? I watched it online at CNN's Live Feed, so I'm sort of curious about that.) He was the opening act for the real superstar of the night -- the Cobie Callait to the Madonna. All anyone in that convention center really cared about was Hillary.
What was Hillary going to say? Would she seem genuine in her endorsement of Obama? Would it be enough to sway her stubborn delegates and supporters?
I have never had anything against Hillary Clinton. After Joe Biden dropped out of the primary in Iowa, I spent the next several weeks before the Illinois primary going back and forth between Hillary and Obama. I felt pressure as a woman to vote for Hillary even though I've always maintained that I would never vote for someone based solely on gender. I felt pressure as an Illinoisian to vote for Obama. I valued Hillary's experience. I craved Obama's promise of change. Ugly Betty told me to support Hillary. Oprah told me to vote for Obama. I honestly did not definitively make my decision until I stepped into that voting booth on Super Tuesday. Had Hillary won the nomination, I would have supported her with the same intensity and dedication I am supporting Obama now. I wouldn't have threatened to take my ball and go home because I didn't get my way. And that's what it feels like Clinton supporters are doing. Have these people never been a part of the electoral process before? Sometimes your candidate loses. Sometimes your candidate doesn't even survive to your state's primary! I didn't hold it against Al Gore because Bill Bradley didn't get the nomination (and wasn't even asked to be vp). I didn't hold it against John Kerry that Dennis Kucinich didn't get the nomination. (Admission: I voted for Kucinich for two reasons: Howard Dean's run had already been ended before the Illinois primary and I saw Kucinich speak at a rally here and was really impressed with what he had to say. Since Kerry was the presumptive nominee at that point, I voted for Kucinich as an "issues statement.") The party wants you and values you and you can be the real agent of change in this election by making sure that John McCain isn't elected! So bring back your ball and get back in the game!
With that said, I was very moved by Clinton's speech last night. As Danielle said, it may have been the most heartfelt speech I've seen her give. It seemed genuine and not filled with the resentment that has become so common amongst her supporters. If you love this woman as much as you claim, do you really have any choice but to honor her request that you support the party's nominee?
She put it best: were you in this for her or were you in this for America? I certainly hope that you were in this for America and you'll remember that when the power lies in your hands to make this country stronger and healthier in November.