Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The True Test of Hillary's Leadership
While I didn't hear Hillary give her concession speech, I read the transcript and can't quibble with the widespread media reaction that called it her most compelling, perhaps even brilliant, speech of the campaign.
However, after such a speech, what will be most interesting to me in the coming months is not what her political surrogates - the Wesley Clarks, the Tom Vilsacks and the Ed Rendells - will say after her endorsement of Obama. I think they understand the importance to Hillary's political rehabilitation of appearing to be completely behind Obama in the general election.
The important test of Hillary's leadership will be what her non-political advocates - the Paul Krugmans, the Joe Wilsons, and the Taylor Marshes - will say.
If Krugman writes more columns ripping Obama, will Hillary play dumb or come to his defense? If the former, then we'll know she's being disingenuous when she says she wants Obama to beat McCain.
If Hillary quietly tolerates an undercurrent of continued criticism of Obama from those to whom she can claim no direct political connection, then we will know that her outward support for Obama is tactical, that she knows she can't be seen as the reason for his loss, but that she is still hoping he will lose and make her the frontrunner again in 2112.
If Hillary really wants a Democrat to return to the White House in 2008, she will show her leadership by defending Obama against her own most vitriolic anti-Obama supporters!
If she doesn't defend him from such attacks, and the commercial media continues to report, ad nauseum, about her conciliatory brilliance, then they (and anyone who believes them) will be guilty of being duped, yet again, by the Clintons!