by Jonathan Singer, Sat Jun 07, 2008 at 09:58:13 AM EDT
Beyond just having heard one of the best speeches I had heard during the course of the entire campaign (and I've seen, both live and on television, a lot since the DNC winter meetings nearly a year and a half ago), I think the thing that really stuck out to me from Hillary Clinton's magnificent speech from here at the National Building Museum was the unity, both from the candidate and (perhaps more importantly) from the crowd.
Some on cable news and on the nets may point out that a few "boos" were heard emanating from the crowd when Clinton spoke of the importance of the party coming together. Those who were actually in the hall would have noticed that the number of dissenters was remarkably small compared with the overall size of the audience. Out of a few thousand hardcore supporters in the hall, only one real "booer" could be heard over those cheering Clinton's repeated endorsements, and perhaps at most a half dozen others could be heard heckling.
Does this mean that there were no people here who were unhappy about the fact that Senatoc Clinton ended her candidacy today? Of course not. At the same time, the overwhelming unity from the crowd and the candidate herself today was really remarkable and is a tremendously good sign for the Democrats going forward.
Update [2008-6-7 14:9:48 by Todd Beeton]:In an e-mail to the DNC list with the simple subject line "Unity", Howard Dean expounds on the "We are family" theme of Hillary Clinton's speech.
We've just finished the most exciting primary contest in a generation, and Barack Obama is our presumptive nominee for President.
Senator Clinton ran an outstanding campaign and we all should be deeply thankful for the passion, energy, and ideas that defined her from the start. Our country and our Party are better off today because the incredible amount of work she and her supporters put into her campaign. We thank Hillary for her leadership, her commitment to America and the Democratic Party.
It can be tough to lose a hard-fought race -- I know, because I've been there. But no matter who you supported, you're part of a bigger family -- one that shares the same hopes, values, and dreams. This campaign is so much more than any of us or any candidate. It's about the future of our country, and our collective desire to take it back for the people who make it great.
Over the next few weeks and months, our family will reunite. It starts today, and I'm asking for your help. Reach out to your friends and family, your neighbors and coworkers, and anyone else who may have fought hard for what they believed in. Bring them in and remind them that we're a family -- that together, we can bring about fundamental change and elect a Democratic president.
We have to be unified if we're going to bring universal health care to America's families, to help fight global climate change, to ensure a woman's right to make her own medical decisions, and to end the war in Iraq.
We have to be unified if we're going to put a Democrat back in the White House.
Over the past few years, we've all been part of the work to rebuild the Democratic Party in all 50 states.
When the primary came around, we found ourselves with two once-in-a-lifetime candidates. Barack and Hillary crossed the country inspiring activists, building organizations, and registering new voters. In state after state, we saw record turnout that dwarfed the Republican's; we saw hundreds of thousands of Americans become involved with a Democratic campaign for the first time; and millions of voters saw just how passionately we feel about the future of our country.
After years of rebuilding and a historic primary campaign, our Democratic community is stronger than ever before. And with Barack Obama, we have a candidate who has inspired millions of people to believe again.
But change doesn't come easily -- and no matter how much we've prepared, no matter how inspiring our candidate, no matter how badly we want it to happen, we have to fight for it every step of the way. Absolutely nothing will be handed to us over the next five months -- we have to do everything we can to make sure Barack Obama is our next President.
We've just seen two brilliant candidates run the most exciting primary in decades. Now we need to come together and finish the job.
I'm looking forward to it.
Well said, Chairman.