With the announcement Sunday night that Hillary Clinton will be the headline speaker for the second night of the 2008 Democratic convention, perhaps the few disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters will stop whining about the lack of respect they have been getting from the Obama campaign.
Kansas Governor and convention co-chair Kathleen Sebelius talked about the theme of the convention, which is Americans coming together for change, “The 2008 Convention will highlight Americans coming together to change the course of this nation. We are at a critical moment in our nation’s history. The politics and policies that have divided us will not allow us to achieve the change we need. Barack Obama is a leader to move America in a new direction and bring us together to turn moments of great challenge into moments of great opportunity. This year’s Democratic Convention is the story of people from across the country who believes it is time for change.”
A primetime speech at the convention was the best thing that Clinton could have hoped for. Unless Obama selects Joe Biden as his running mate, she will be the only other 2008 Democratic presidential candidate to speak in primetime. Also, her speech will occur on the 88th anniversary of the women’s right to vote. I think that this should be enough of a tip of the hat to Mrs. Clinton and her own equally historic presidential campaign.
Let’s face it, the Obama camp gave Clinton this slot because they are trying to project the image of a unified party, while smoothing over any hard feelings that remain from the primary campaign. What I don’t understand is this obsession with respect that some Clinton supporters have. Traditionally, those who finish second in the primaries aren’t entitled to anything. Second place means nothing in a presidential primary campaign.
I don’t get what some Clinton supporters want respected. Is it that Clinton’s campaign was so poorly run that she blew what looked like a sure nomination? Is it that the Clinton took for granted that the race would be over by Super Tuesday, and budgeted without even thinking beyond that date? Is it that she stayed in the race long after it was clear that she had no chance of winning the nomination?
Hillary Clinton’s campaign was historic, but it also lost. Losing diminishes the amount of respect a campaign gets. All of this talk about respect sounds like the grumblings of a bunch of older establishment Democrats who feel like their nomination was stolen from them. Hillary Clinton deserves to speak at the convention. She also deserves to speak in primetime, but if her supporters aren’t happy with this, then there really is nothing that Barack Obama can do to win them over. Clinton’s slot at the convention is ultimate sign of respect, and anyone who can’t understand this is just going to have to get over it.