The Clinton Speech

I am not really sure what more Hillary Clinton could possibly say or do beyond tonight’s speech to convince her supporters to rally around Barack Obama’s candidacy for President. It was such a powerful speech, in fact, it could have —with a little tweaking for context— served her well as an acceptance speech for the nomination. It had to be powerful, of course, but both Obama and Joe Biden have their work cut out for them to maintain the momentum — or, optimally, surpass it.

Naturally, shortly afterwards the John McCain campaign ran its ad quoting Clinton’s criticisms of Obama. This raises the headache-inducing possibility that the Obama and McCain campaigns could run dueling ads featuring Clinton praising and criticizing Obama. I hope not.

Yet CNN has managed to find Democratic delegates still unmoved, still unconvinced by Clinton’s argument to support her former rival. I just saw one woman weep as she considered the possibility that she might not vote at all.

All of which makes me feel like an atheist observing a Methodist and a Baptist argue over issues of doctrine. Which, well, I am … er … when the issue comes up. It’s not that I don’t see the differences, but compared to the similarities they seem quite minimal. The challenge for Democrats comes during the general election to convince undecided and independent voters — not to mention recalcitrant Clinton supporters — that the differences between Obama and McCain are more cavernous than might be evident as the two candidates compete for the Sacred Middle.

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