“People Aren’t as Different as We Think”

27 08 2008

Just a few flip little notions about Hillary Rodham Clinton, especially at this historic moment when she has produced Barack Obama’s acclimation as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States:

1. She has become a mother of the nominee, and his nomination and nominated self stream out of her mouth. Not for his nomination, but for the fact that he has been acclaimed to it, Obama will always have to thank Hillary Clinton. He will always have to be grateful, and will never be able to forget. If he becomes President, this moment will be behind him, golden, shining. No more than he can deny that he has been nominated can he deny that he has been acclaimed, and that the acclamation came as the result of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s motion to the chair. She has made the Barack Obama that Barack Obama is today. (Nancy Pelosi, chairing, was careful not to allow any time for nay votes to be heard: all the musical timing of a finale in an Arthur Freed movie.)

2. She has given a marvelous performance for some time, but especially today and during her address last night, of bearing up with dignity under tremendous strain and after a substantial wound–in short, the posture of the hero who has been attacked but will not collapse. Now, H. R. Clinton has not been attacked, she merely failed to mobilize sufficient support to win the nomination herself. She may be disappointed, even mortified by this condition–but she has no professional business making that part of the engagement of her efforts on behalf of electing a Democrat. In short, the performance can only be in the name of some future consideration; it can only be promoting a Hillary that will have our sympathies even as she does not continue to appear in Democratic campaign ads and thus get the attention of a huge audience.

3. Obama himself remains absent from Denver, and so while the tagline at the bottom of the screen obsessively flashes the “breaking news”–in hot blue and white–OBAMA NOMINATED BY ACCLAMATION, it is nevertheless Hillary that we see, shuffling slowly among delegates to leave the hall, getting kissed, expressing herself sincerely to supporters, and so on. The word “Obama” and the idea of “Obama being acclaimed” are linked, then, to the image of Hillary. Hillary becomes Obama. Hillary IS Obama. Obama himself may turn out to be the shadow version of the Hillary/Obama we met tonight. When he goes public, we may see Hillary as the afterimage, rather than his wife Michelle. Hillary IS Obama, and Hillary is LINKED TO Obama.

4. Hillary looks just like Shirley Jones on “The Partridge Family”: an accident?

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