The Campaign is Not Over Yet

BY HLS HILLARY

Senator Clinton visited Boston Sunday, Feb. 24, speaking to a group at the Back Bay Events Center in downtown Boston. ?Members of HLS for Hillary attended the event. Media Credit

We were proud to support Hillary over a year ago when she announced that she would seek the Democratic nomination. Much has happened since then, but our support is as stalwart as ever. We supported Hillary not just because we thought she would be the winner, but also because we thought her winning would be the best thing for this country. That remains true. The campaign is not over.

Everyone loves a story about momentum – when it is lost, or when it seems to be taking the king of charisma to victory. But there is a more complicated story told by the delegate math. Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are, give or take a few delegates for different news source counts, about 80 delegates apart. On March 4, there are 370 delegates at stake. The phone-in pundits like to declare that there is no way she can catch up, but we simply don’t know yet. John McCain’s political death was declared a few months ago, too. These primaries are unprecedented and will continue to defy any expectations. Michigan and Florida’s delegates are in still in limbo, while pledged superdelegates are unpledging themselves. Most democrats fear the ugliness of a convention without a nominee, while many are exhilarated by the very same prospect. No one knows what will happen, except that Hillary is not done yet.

Campaigning and governing are two very different ventures. Initially, Hillary proved to be better at the former than many expected. Obama has proven himself to be better at the former than anyone could have imagined. But we care more about the latter, when the President is making decisions in the Oval Office, away from the 20,000 screaming fans. Hillary is the candidate who has the minutiae of policy in her brain, who fully grasps the complexities of governing, who knows her way around the systems and the networks of people and policies she must navigate to effectively solve our problems. We are certain Hillary will fight for us by working towards Universal Healthcare, creating bipartisan solutions to Social Security, creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and extracting us from Iraq with as much grace as possible.

We are baffled that Obama has been given the mantle of “uniter.” Who is he uniting? Some liberal democrats? Some college campuses? Obama asserts that he can bring the country together, but according to whom? Him? What legislation has he passed by reaching across the proverbial aisle? Has he worked with Republicans? Is there any evidence or any indication at all that as president he would garner more support than Hillary, both in Washington and around the world?

Hillary, on the other hand, has proven herself to be such a “uniter.” Both red and blue New Yorkers voted for her – twice – by huge margins. She has worked with Newt Gingrich and Lindsay Graham too on health care reforms and veterans’ benefits, respectively. By all accounts of her Senate colleagues, she is not a demagogue. She is known and beloved around the world as a strong leader. And in this race Hillary has united a lot of democrats, too. Lest we forget, on February 5th, Hillary won the popular vote.

This past Sunday, Hillary held a fundraiser in downtown Boston. The crowd filed in somewhat quietly. We’re realists. We know the campaign isn’t going as well as it should be. We’re frustrated because we want her to challenge Obama, but fear that she will come across as unattractive when she does so. We deplore the gender tightrope she is forced to walk, but we want her to deftly perform on it nonetheless. In the crowd, we had a feeling of solidarity, but we lacked the enthusiasm of Symphony Hall just a few months ago. And then something happened. A man in the back started cheering, laughs erupted, a woman with a sign reading “A woman’s place is in the House – the White House!” started a conga-line that grew by the second until it was snaking along all the aisles. Mayor Menino revved us up and Hillary appeared, and the cheers, the faith, the hope, all came flooding back. She will not give up, and neither will we.

We will have to talk about misogyny and racism. We should dissect why liberal white men flock to Obama but shun Hillary, and why reactions to her by many are strangely Jungian. We should discuss why Obama’s speeches, which speak so extensively about despair, are nonetheless heard as beacons of hope. We will continue to be glad at the way the Democratic Party is literally more colorful than the Republican Party, and that it is wonderful that both candidates are a “first.”

But this kind of self-reflection and self-congratulation has not moved us along the way we hoped it would. For too much of this campaign season, we’ve been satisfied by the novelty of these candidates. But choosing a president isn’t novel. CNN and MSNBC throw Hillary and Obama stormy hypotheticals, yes-or-no questions, and “he said-she said” setups that obscure the issues around which Hillary shines. Who do we trust to be in charge? Who is able to operate the overwhelming apparatus of Washington to further the values of social and economic justice? Who has comparable gravitas, knowledge, and experience to John McCain? Who has the better grasp on foreign policy? Who has a better grasp on the domestic economy? Who is more competent? Our answer is as clear as it ever was. President Hillary Rodham Clinton will make the Democratic Party and the United States of America proud.

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