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DNC: What Hillary Didn’t Say

 by Hannah Lobel

Tags: Politics, Election 2008, Democratic National Convention, DNC, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton speech, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, primaries, New York Times, Washington Independent,

Hillary Clinton did her duty last night. She threw her support behind Barack Obama and delivered the requisite sound bites. There was “No way. No how. No McCain.” And a favorite here in Minnesota, “It makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities, because these days, they’re awfully hard to tell apart.”

What she didn’t do was say much about Obama’s platform, leadership abilities, or vision. In a 23-minute speech, Obama the candidate (versus Obama “the Democrat who is not me”) got about 3 minutes of time—and that's a generous tally. For a speech that’s drawn most of the convention’s limelight, that’s a big void. It was evident, as the New York Times reports, that Obama’s team had little input in its writing.

We could see more of the same tonight, when Bill takes the stage. We’ll definitely hear about Hillary. But given reports of Bill’s bruised ego and his lust for recognition of his accomplishments in office, we could get not only a primaries flashback, but a ’90s flashback, too. Here’s hoping he saves some room in his speech for the nominee.

Watch Hillary’s speech:

For more of Utne.com’s ongoing coverage of the Democratic National Convention, click here.

UPDATE (8/27/2008, 5:00 p.m.): My colleague Elizabeth Ryan points me to some choice analysis by Anne Taylor Fleming at the Washington Independent:

Yes, she endorsed Obama—mentioning him at least a dozen times. But what she endorsed was the candidate — not the man. He had no flesh on him. He was the Democratic candidate, and that was enough for her.

There was no talk of Obama’s passions, his career, their shared goals and ideals. Of course, she reaffirmed the big “D” democratic values. We’re for the forgotten, the working class not the upper class. We’re for energy independence and a restitution of the respect America used to garner around the world, so squandered in the last eight years. We’re for health care and hope and change. That’s why I ran, she said—underscore “I.” She never said that’s why Barack Obama is running. It was a passionate but strangely impersonal—almost totally impersonal —endorsement.