Did I hear Hillary Clinton concede tonight? I think that gesture at the end of the debates, the failure to really go after Barack Obama on a number of fronts, her sitting there with a blank-ish stare for much of the time he got into a high tempo oratory zone indicated to me that she has basically given up.
I don’t like to anticipate what voters in Texas and Ohio might do — but I spent the evening with some dedicated Hillary Clinton spear-carriers, and every one of them think that she played the “good girl” tonight — not someone who was going to play rough with the person she thinks will be manhandled by McCain and the “dangerous times” we live in.
I’ve just returned from Tokyo last night — and then took a 6 am train to New York, got back to DC just before the debates — and thus, I may be seeing this all in a really distorted, bleary-eyed state.
But essentially, I think that while the party does remain substantially divided, I thought I saw Hillary concede and opt for graciousness rather than bitterness.
We need to see what she does — but I think it’s over, and Barack Obama will be the nominee for the 2008 Democratic presidential ticket. What an amazing run Obama has had thus far. I still don’t like hype or mysticism or feel good stuff — but he’s outrun, outflanked, out-campaigned, and out-managed the Clinton camp in a massive national effort.
Obama actually won this the hard way, without a good sense of the retail, interest group politics that Hillary and Bill Clinton are masters at.
So, I may be premature — but a hearty congratulations to Barack Obama. Now may be the time for magnanimity and embrace of Hillary Clinton, much of her message, her followers and some of her staff. This is not the time for strutting if in fact this first game is over.
It will be interesting to see what happens with McCain now — but Obama better not underestimate him. And by the way, Hillary is right on health care, right on the strategy to help subprime loan victims, and right on much of her domestic agenda. Obama should borrow a lot more of her stuff.
And frankly, he should grab more of the “details” of the Edwards’ policy team.
— Steve Clemons