Down but not out – what next for the former First Lady?
Last night Hillary Clinton took to the stage at Baruch College and gave a speech in which she acknowledged the success of Barack Obama’s campaign and called the Senator from Illinois her “friend.”
Still, Clinton’s speech was not a concession because at no time did she accept that Senator Obama would be the Democratic nominee, nor did she suggest that she would drop out of the race.
Instead, Hillary Clinton defiantly declared during her address that she would “be making no decisions” last night.
Further distancing her undeniably valedictory remarks from anything that might be construed as a sign that she was bowing out of the Democratic Presidential race, Clinton continued to press the case with a wink and a nod to superdelegates that she would make a stronger nominee for her party.
Not only did the New York Senator remind the revved up crowd, which seemed in no mood to accept defeat, that she had received more popular votes based on her campaign’s figures, but that she had received more votes than had ever been cast for any Democratic candidate in history.
Clinton also recapped the sweep and breadth of her victories in what have become general election swing states while simultaneously alluding to her electoral advantage over her rival which has been buttressed by some recent polls.
That said, Clinton did appear to be moving toward some sort of reconciliation for the sake of Democratic Party unity saying to the cheering crowd:
“In the coming days, I’ll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interests of our party and our country guiding my way.”
The path ahead is now unclear for Hillary Clinton.
Though there is increasing pressure for her to stand down from some of those who have remained fiercely loyal to her since the beginning of the campaign, whether or not Clinton will do that or fight on until the Democratic convention in August remains as much a question mark for her as is the issue of whether or not her supporters will even allow the fight to end.
Last weekend her campaign surrogate Harold Ickes reserved Clinton’s right to challenge the DNC Rules Committee’s apportionment of delegates from the state of Michigan at the convention after a thoroughly heated daylong debate.
Last night a bevy of Clinton supporters chanted “Denver! Denver” as the New York Senator spoke, alluding to the fact that they believed their candidate’s campaign should go all the way.
The reality, however, is that Hillary Clinton may actually lose support en route to the convention.
Several of her highly prized and well positioned superdelegate allies are now expressing doubt about the value of a continued fight for the nomination, despite the fact that they seem dismayed by the outcome of the Democratic contests.
“There’s nobody taking Hillary’s side but Hillary people,” said Donald Fowler of South Carolina, a former national party chairman and one of Clinton’s most prominent supporters, referring to her suggestions that she might seek to challenge the way the party resolved the fight this weekend over seating the Michigan and Florida delegations.
“It’s too bad. She deserves better than this.”
Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who has been one of Hillary Clinton’s most solid backers and also played a huge part in her success in the Keystone state primary, seemed to concur in recent comments.
According to Mercury Newswire, Rendell told CBS News he thought Clinton would likely not take her fight over Florida and Michigan delegates to the convention floor because it wouldn’t change the outcome of the pledged delegate count enough to put her in the winner’s circle.
“She’ll do the right thing for America, and I don’t think we’re going to fight this at the convention,” Rendell said.
“Because even were we to win it, unless it’s going to change enough delegates for Senator Clinton to get the nomination, then it would be a fight that would have no purpose.”
Alice Huffman, president of the California NAACP and a Clinton superdelegate, echoed Rendell’s assessment saying, “What’s the point for a challenge, if a challenge doesn’t change the status of anything?”
Obama indicated in a press conference on Monday that he had reached out to Senator Clinton and that “once the dust settled” he wants to meet with her “at a time and place of her choosing.”
The remarks sparked rumours that a Vice-Presidential spot might be in the offing, but before that could happen, Hillary Clinton would have to actually concede the nomination to Barack Obama.
Last night, she did anything but.
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