Damn You, Hillary, For Making Me Like You!
I listened to Hillary Clinton's post-keynote speech while Lord Wife and her staff of loyal servants watched it. La Clintonessa belted out a rejuvenated, unshackled voice, gleefully throwing combination shots at McCain and the Republicans while claiming her propers for being the most successful female candidate for President in United States history, finally throwing her full weight behind Obama.
In my office corner, I was looking at how she formulated. She pulled out all the stops in her preparation, calling back at least two former White House speech writers from their day jobs, one from a production executive position at Sony Pictures, then working on it non-stop for six weeks. It made the back-room context start to mesh. Biden's good history with Hillary, his sponsorship of the Violence Against Women Act (which could have been more kindly named), and his roundtable participations with women at the convention indicate that the Obama advisors figured it was more Electorally Important to capture her supporters than reach for the Redneck Vote. VP candidates Warner, Kaine, Webb and Sebelious would've helped in that regard, but they may not have been able to deliver a single state, so I hereby yield my populist, non-arcane revulsions to Biden as VP; we don't elect Presidents as a nation, we elect them state by state, and the Obama campaign is well-organized enough to have made the correct calculations. (By the way, hello, Florida! Thanks for Bush in 2000. Now meet Global Warming.)
What I've always liked about Hillary Rodham Clinton is how she's willing to work her butt off. I can carp about that trait being common enough amongst narcissistic megalomaniacs, but it's not typical in that group, far from it. She's not the best manager, but by the force of her will is a formidable individual achiever, and she only lost her party's nomination because she was out-foxed and ran out of states. She's smart, she hustles, and she has the required cram-it-down studiousness of a great future Secretary of State, a position I wholeheartedly advocate. My gut tells me she's the equal of Kissinger, maybe even a Talleyrand. She's the potential Meryl Streep of diplomacy, and for our sakes I hope she fills that Cabinet role. American corporate interests aren't going to change soon, but who you have at the negotiating table matters a great deal, matters crucially. We need someone of her caliber there, compared to the one-track-mind mediocrity we're suffering from now.
Her speech immediately garnered praise from Keith Olbermann as a Grand Slam for Democratic unity, a verdict which reverberated through Old Media and ran completely opposite to the previously dominant narrative arc of tension between the camps. The construction, content, and delivery of her performance seemed to come from deep press management Kung Fu, first to last. It was savvy, pushed all the right buttons, filling media maws deliciously and giving them much to chew on, anticipating reactions and setting the tone for a party finding its purpose.
The weakness of the Republican Party now is that they're slow. They're may be experts at going negative, and Karl Rove's deputy smear-meister Steve Schmidt has shaved 6 points off Obama's Gallup Poll leads since he took over as McCain's campaign manager in July, but they're media, not internet. They understand the old electorate, not the new. McCain himself is like an old boxer. Never a champion, always a contender, he's formulaic, loose on the message, slow to react. Punch-drunk. Schmidt has tried to limit these liabilities by taking McCain out of the campaign, protecting him, exposing him to only 38 minutes of total reporter time last week. McCain should be town-halled, debated in various cities, bewildered, and peppered with detail questions out of left field. He can't be prepped to react appropriately and will tire quickly. For example, he can't extemporaneously say anything sensible on health care, the big Moose On the Table campaign issue.
Hillary can be a big asset in forcing them to play to weakness and react in real time. The Pugs need eight hours or so to counter-punch, they're up all night right now, and tomorrow morning Steve Schmidt's talking points will probably be: "She was too good. The Dims are so screwed up, they've got the wrong nominee."