Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We Were Listening

Updated (again): Scroll down for speech vid and the wonderful tribute, narrated by Chelsea, that was the set-up for the senator's speech. Highlight: the music and the identification of the Big Dawg simply as "Hillary's Husband."

(Photo Credit: Stephen Crowley, The New York Times)

Transcript of Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic Convention is here.

Talk amongst yourselves. We are speechless.

But, yes, we were listening when she said this:

My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.

This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win.

and we were listening when she said this:

Most of all, I ran to stand up for all those who have been invisible to their government for eight long years.

Those are the reasons I ran for President. Those are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should too.

I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me? Or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him? Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids? Were you in it for that boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage? Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

And we got Goose-bumps (and Moose-bumps and Roxie-bumps) when Clinton offered her eloquent tribute to the legacy of Harriet Tubman helping slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad:

And on that path to freedom, Harriett Tubman had one piece of advice.

If you hear the dogs, keep going.

If you see the torches in the woods, keep going.

If they're shouting after you, keep going.

Don't ever stop. Keep going.

If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.

Even in the darkest of moments, ordinary Americans have found the faith to keep going.

I've seen it in you. I've seen it in our teachers and firefighters, nurses and police officers, small business owners and union workers, the men and women of our military - you always keep going.

We are Americans. We're not big on quitting.

But remember, before we can keep going, we have to get going by electing Barack Obama president.

We don't have a moment to lose or a vote to spare.

She's a party animal, and she did what she had to do. We are party animals, too, and so we were listening. And now we are thinking. We will be listening tomorrow, too.

Peace out.


  1. The Harriet Tubman element was a rhetorical masterstroke, although I was totally pissed that she said Tubman was a woman from New York... Hellooo! She's a native Marylander!

    It feels good to be one party again, under one cause.

    P.S. Rachel Maddow... undying love for this woman. Gosh.

  2. You may love Rachel, Eitan, but you cannot have her. We may be -- may be -- one party, but Rachel is still on our team, as it were. ;-)

  3. WWas that not one of the greatest political speeches you have ever heard in your life?!? It was masterful. After the speech, I was once again filled with so much pride. I was proud to have supported her, proud to have cast my vote for her, proud of the courage and strength that it took for her to make such a speech, proud to be American,and proud to be a Democrat... which is something I have struggled with for quite a while.

    What I saw last night was a woman step up and become a great party leader... something we have lacked for a while too. She was inspirational (dog! that word doesn't even come close to saying what I feel). She is a great American, and a great leader. And while she may not be our next president, I hope that one day, maybe in 2016, she will be the POTUS. I still think she will make one hell of a president. Here's hoping that Obama realizes the gem he has in Hillary Clinton and takes full advantage of her extraordinary gifts over the next 8 years.

    Simply put... WOW... what a speech. One that is going to be quite difficult to top. It will be remembered for years to come.

    Did you see Bill just beaming? God help me... for all of my complicated emotions around him...I still love that redneck.

    and yes... Rachel Maddow is a goddess

  4. Anonymous8:27 AM EDT

    Just for the record, on the question of whether we supported Hillary or the issues she stood for, the answer is neither. Essentially, what we envisioned was a "revolution," "a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving," in regard to gender equality.

    That kind of revolution, as regards race, however, is still dramatically in motion with an Obama presidency. If it is successful, it will likely bring about the promotion of an era, where minds are far more open generally.

  5. Well put, EI. If we'd had time yesterday (blame my typist), we'd have posted a reaction to Michelle Obama's speech on Monday, which we found moving in an entirely different way. She seemed palpably nervous (not a criticism -- who wouldn't be?!) and reminded us of every black woman we've ever known who goes into a public occasion like that with 400 years of racist/sexist history weighing on her strong shoulders, feeling the whole world watching and an acute sense of responsibility. We felt for her and realized we might actually be starting to like her.

  6. The most important thing that happened last night was that Hillary Clinton took over the Teddy Kennedy position in the Democratic Party -- a position he has held, by and large, since his almost identical speech in 1980. That speech has always been and will likely remain my favorite convention speech of all time. Yes, better than Cuomo. Better than Ann Richards. Better than Obama. "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."

    Kennedy's mostly-gracious loss to Carter (barf) set the tone for nearly thirty years of being the humbled yet powerful elder lion of the Dems. So, during this convention, we've witnessed an interesting power dynamic: Teddy has made it clear that he is passing on the mantle of his brothers to Obama, who is ostensibly the future of the Democratic Party, and Hillary seems to have assumed Teddy's perch atop the pillars of Democratic leadership. I've heard people talking about the decline of the House of Clinton, but I think it's quite the opposite. The sun is setting on Camelot, at long last, and both Clinton and Obama will continue to represent the hopeful future of a long-battered party. The age of Bill might be over, but I have no doubt that the next decade or two are Barack and Hillary's to share, in their own way.

  7. Anonymous11:19 AM EDT

    Eitan, please read up on a little recent history. Kennedy's speech and refusal to grasp Carter's hand in a victory salute at the 1980 convention were most certainly not graceful. Imagine how steamed you would be if HRC had pulled something like Kennedy's stunt last night! But, she made a terrific case for Obama last night, and now it's up to him and Biden to unite the party.

    This absence of historical memory is why so many Clinton supporters are outraged over the sturn-und-drang about the roll call vote. Gimme a break--she was way way more successful and way way way less divisive than Kennedy, and she's still being treated like dog crap on Obama's loafers. (Sorry, Roxie.) Please see Eric Bohlert's essay on this topic over at MediaMatters.org.

  8. That's why I said mostly-gracious (i.e., he delivered a bravado speech and a stirring call to action for Democrats to unite) and not "OMG KENNEDY WUZ LIEK TOTEZ HAPPY DAT CART3R WON!"

    Please don't scold me and accuse me of fueling the absence of historical memory. I get it. You're a "historian." Others can have their own take on history too, and I simply interpret Kennedy's rhetoric through my personal hermeneutic, as well as through the lens of the past 28 years, and 5 years working in the offices of both Kerry and Kennedy in the Senate.

  9. Anonymous2:58 PM EDT

    Kennedy is an inspiring figure in many ways, but there is no question that from the persective of party unity and being a good soldier for the party, he behaved badly at the convention in 1980. My point was that there is little basis for comparison to Clinton's campaign this year, or to her speech last night, or to EMK's position in the Democratic party. But, I apologize, because I think I misread you--you were meaning it as a compliment to Clinton, and I read it otherwise.

  10. Eitan, thank you for complimenting HRC, though it's true that I agree with Historiann: there's little basis for comparison of HRC and EMK. The media have been pushing that, but. . .she is her own quick woman, and, as her speech Tuesday evening showed, is a different kind of leader who always brings the focus back on voters and our needs rather than on herself. If the Dems are to win this year, they will relentlessly do the same. That lack of specific focus on citizens and our needs and responsibilities accounts, I think, for the stagnation in the polls (though there will probably be a bit of a bounce from the convention).

  11. Oh, on Harriet Tubman: yes, she was born in Maryland and escaped from here to Delaware and Philadelphia and returned to Maryland to help slaves make their way to freedom. But she died in Auburn, New York, where she had moved not long after the Civil War (and to land she purchased before the Civil War). So I think it's more than fair to say that she hailed from both Maryland and New York. Certainly her suffragist work was conducted mostly from New York and she died there in 1913, after residing there for more than 40 years and owning property there for more than 50.


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