I was reasonably confident that Hillary Clinton would do the right thing. But I couldn’t have bet that she would do it so well.
Today’s speech seemed to be drawn from a different pile than all the speeches she gave during the campaign. Line-by-line, it was beautifully written and admirably delivered. But more than that, it traced out an argument, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. And most of all, the delivery felt relaxed, cheerful, and unforced.
If the happy warrior we saw today had made more appearances on the campaign trail, today’s roles might have been reversed. I’d like to think that Senator Obama would have been as gracious and eloquent in defeat, but I’m glad that for now we don’t have to find out.
Update I hadn’t seen this post by Sean at FiveThirtyEight. Its critque of Clinton is one I would have endorsed on Wednesday, though I think rehearsing all those old griefs after Clinton had agreed to support Obama was a wrong-headed move in political terms. But its analysis of what Clinton needed to do today strikes me as absurd. Her task today was not to “rehabilitate herself” with Obama supporters; it was to reconcile her supporters to her defeat and convince them of the importance of keeping John McCain out of the White House. In that context, any sort of apology for the way her campaign was run (other than regret that it didn’t succeed) would have been utterly out of place.