Hillary Clinton knocked it out of the park Tuesday night.
It was a speech defined by grace, feistiness, sly wit, generosity toward her former rival and by a powerful nod to the history her forewoman/bearers made –and which she carried forward with her unprecedented run for the presidency, winning more primaries and caucuses (23) than any woman in history.
On the 88th anniversary of women winning the right to vote, Hillary Clinton powerfully linked the fight for women’s rights and civil rights, and spoke for those who have been invisible–and for an America whose women, of all races, have defied the odds and fought for a fairer and freer world.
Clinton appealed, with heart and head, to the raw emotions of her supporters, asking them to to join her and “unite as a single party with a single purpose.” She asked her “sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits” –a clever and moving reference to the beloved young adult series, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” which my 17 year old adores–to welcome Obama as their candidate.
Yet her speech was more of a political –and less of a personal –speech. That is not to say there wasn’t strong emotion in her delivery and in the hall. And she spoke as a woman and a mother. But she came, above all, as a Democrat and a Senator and a citizen–who has seen her country’s promise squandered under ruinous Republican rule. She saluted the widow and son of two good Democrats–the chair of the Arkansas Party, who was assassinated this month, and Ohio Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs-Jones who died suddenly last week. She spoke as the team captain of 18 million (voters): “None of us can afford to be on the sidelines.” And she spoke as a woman and a candidate who too rarely on the long march through the primaries had been given the space (did Mark Penn advise against?) to deploy a sly wit. Tonight , Clinton had her sights set on McCain. “No way. No How. No McCain.” She did what was needed –to ensure that no one leaves Denver or their tv sets, radio and computers after this convention unhappy that John McBush isn’t challenged and exposed for the Bush foot soldier that he is. “We don’t need four more years of the last eight years. McCain and Bush–makes perfect sense they’ll be in the Twin Cities. Awfully hard to tell them apart.” Hillary Clinton came to persuade –to be a team player in taking back the country she loves. She did the job.