Hillary Clinton’s historic moment had to deal with a number of troubling distractions, from Wikileaks, to Sanders’ die-hards, to the man with orange hair. Two of them were anticipated; the Russians’ foray into the presidential race was not.
There was also the need to assuage the white working class, spar with the neo-liberalists and chart a course to assure her base that everything was all right.
These details left her with very little time to celebrate being the first woman to win a major party presidential nomination or room to maneuver. If there was wiggle room, it was to tack toward the center or settle somewhere between the administrations led by her husband and the current president.
“We heard the man from Hope, Bill Clinton,” she said, seeking that comfort zone, “and the man of Hope, Barack Obama. America is stronger because of President Obama’s leadership, and I’m better because of his friendship.”
Toward the middle of her lengthy acceptance speech last Thursday on the final day of the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, she made sure the thousands of delegates and the millions watching were aware of the accomplishments of the Obama years.
“Now, I don’t think President Obama and Vice President Biden get the credit they deserve for saving us from the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes,” she asserted. “Our economy is so much stronger than when they took office. Nearly 15 million new private-sector jobs, 20 million more Americans with health insurance, and an auto industry that just had its best year ever.”
As Clinton has said throughout the campaign, should she win the election she will build on—and certainly bank on—the progress Obama has made, promising to improve things with the help of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
She thanked Sanders for inspiring millions of Americans, “particularly the young people who threw their hearts and souls into our primary.” She said, “You’ve put economic and social justice issues front and center, where they belong.”
Sanders was further noted when she said the two of them, “will work together to make college tuition-free for the middle class and debt-free for all.” She added, “We will also liberate millions of people who already have student debt.” Without a doubt this announcement was a nod to Sanders.
Clinton steered clear of any direct mention of Black Lives Matter, only noting African-Americans generally in a statement about putting “ourselves in the shoes of young Black and Latino men and women who face the effects of systemic racism, and are made to feel like their lives are disposable.”
What was evidently not disposable was her connection to Obama, and she gave more fodder to the notion, especially from her opponent, that victory would just be a third term for Obama. Very little was said to remove the Obama influence and adoption.
The other Obama, Michelle, was cited for her remarkable speech, particularly with its emphasis on the nation’s children, which more than one speaker connected with Clinton’s impressive resume.
Many pundits felt this speech was Clinton’s best, but it’s hard to believe she can ever top the one she delivered on national security and foreign affairs. Of course, there was more than a passing comment on ISIS, Bin Laden and the turmoil in the wake of terrorism, at home and abroad.
A summary of her position on foreign policy was contained in one paragraph, where she said, “I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot. Now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.”
She continued, “I’m proud that we shaped a global climate agreement. Now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves. I’m proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia.”
It was a good acceptance speech, despite the reports of several polls, and now many in the nation are hoping her inaugural speech will be even better.