With her hand on her heart and a song in the air, the loser urges her supporters to feel the love

Click to follow
The Independent US

We are family. It was the old Sister Sledge song that blasted out as more than 1,000 Hillary Clinton supporters crammed into the ornate hall of the National Building Museum in Washington.

This, after all, was no time for subtlety of message. This was about reuniting the Democratic Party family. Everybody sing along: "Just let me state for the record, we're giving love in a family dose."

We will stand united ... We will take our energy, our passion, our strength and do all we can to elect Barack Obama. Heavens, she even tried to get the crowd to start chanting "Yes we can." (They balked at that, but it got polite applause. It's a start. They were booing Obama's name at the start of the speech.)

But does she mean it?

Certainly she took her time exiting yesterday. The speech was a touch long, at 30 minutes, and she was a full half-hour late into the hall in the first place. But what's half an hour when you should have quit days ago? Or weeks?

Perhaps she barked the words "Barack Obama" a little harshly, but the script was gracious. She talked of his "grace and grit". She placed her hand on her heart: "This has been a tough fight, but the Democratic Party is a family," she said. And she has her hand on her heart in the new picture on her website, which urges supporters to back Obama.

Clinton supporters like to justify her lingering in the race by saying her attacks have sharpened up Obama. It was hard to watch yesterday's denouement without thinking the opposite. She was a wonk, a drone, almost impossible to listen to at the start of her campaign, but yesterday she bowed out with something approaching a real political speech.

Through the race, she said, she had always underplayed her sex, but now she was ripping up the songbook. In moving terms, she played it up. She may not have burst through the highest glass ceiling in the land, she said, but the 18 million votes she received have made "18 million cracks in it". One couldn't help but wonder what might have been, if she had sung lyrics like that from the very beginning.