Tuesday, August 26, 2008
It is ironic that, two months after her concession, Hillary Clinton just delivered her best speech in this election cycle.
Everyone knows political speech is more about style than substance. In that regard, Hillary gave a brilliant performance tonight. She’s gracious and inspiring. She’s fiery and combative. She even coined a catchy zinger: no way, no how, no McCain.
Some pundits argue that she should have acknowledged her defeat and retracted her criticism against Obama. I think she had every right to address her supporters, to use the opportunity to promote party unity and optimism. The primary was a dead heat and OVER, for Christ’s sake.
“I want you to ask yourselves: were you in this campaign just for me?” She knocked one out of the park, with dignity and poignancy.
I share Hillary’s politics, admire her ambition, but her campaign style often came across as pretentious and pandering. It’s amazing to see how much more relaxed and energetic she is when stumping for Obama than when competing against him.
Seeing those teary men and women (OK, mostly women) on the convention floor, one cannot stop wondering what is in her that resonates with this audience. It may be something superficial, but it surely is a formidable political asset. Obama cannot afford to ignore her before and after November. I think she will play a prominent role in the Obama administration.
After a historic and divided primary, the presidential campaign has been quite timid past two months (the biggest controversies are, sadly, Paris Hilton’s parody and McCain’s real estate “senior moment”.) The Obama camp seems a bit disoriented and is looking for a breakthrough. I hope this week's acceptance speech can seal the deal. After all, it is Democrat’s election to lose.
Personally, I wish the Dem could play the race card more, and play it right. I, for one, am not ashamed to say that I will vote (if I could) for Obama because he's inspirational, because he’s intelligent, and because he's black. It will truly be a new chapter in US politics. I don’t think Americans have fully grasped the symbolism of a black president yet.
But this is America, where racism, no matter how we deny it, still exists. In politics, race is a taboo disguised as political correctness, because it's too risky a subject to deal with openly. That’s exactly why we need a President Obama on January 20, 2009.