Monday, June 09, 2008

Uniting the Party

I recently wrote about Hillary laying down the gauntlet in her concession speech, saying that she would fight to ensure Americans had universal health care - "no exceptions and no excuses".

Today, Obama said he's going to partner with Elizabeth Edwards on health care. Elizabeth Edwards supports Hillary's plan.

Why did Obama name Elizabeth Edwards? Is it a gesture of support for Hillary or a slap in the face? If it was meant to make Hillary supporters happy, it is uncharacteristically inept.

It's starting to bother me that Obama isn't making a move to unite the party. Everyone gave Hillary grief about waiting four days after her defeat to endorse Obama (even though past candidates have received no grief for waiting up to four months) but I'm starting to think Obama should get some grief for not immediately reaching out to Clinton supporters. It's not that he needs to make concessions; it's that he needs to make a gesture. Not doing so indicates a disturbing arrogance. There's nothing worse than a sore winner.

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8 comments:

Scott Tribe said...

Umm.. what am I missing here?

Why is choosing Elizabeth Edwards as a partner on health-care - a Clinton supporter as you admit - a slap in the face to Hillary?

Furthermore, Obama has been bringing in key former Hillary Clinton strategists to his team .. so colour me puzzled why you're offended.

Joseph said...

Before running too far with this it should be noted that this was a rather fleeting mention during a campaign speech being given in Raleigh (as in Raleigh, NORTH CAROLINA) - otherwise known as Edwards home state! The reference is practically a text-book example of the term "fleeting reference" and could be used as an example in case anyone needs one.

It's no different than a candidate going to Ohio, and mentioning that he / she plans to work with the Ohio governor to develop plans to get the manufacturing economy moving again or going to Arizona and mentioning he / she considers Arizona's efforts to support a diverse immigrant population through educational efforts a model for the nation, etc, etc.

He did not announce he was going to launch a full health care initiative with Elizabeth Edwards as his chair on health care initiatives to the exclusion of all others or something as dire and drastic as that.

I think your words of caution to Obama are worth a note. The time is ripe to launch a full-scale initiative directly towards her supporters, but there is no need to blow a sentence mention out of proportion. From your post, I expected your link to be on some front-page NY Times or CNN exclusive entitled, "Obama announces Elizabeth Edwards as health care mentor, Tells Hillary to Disappear" or something along those lines.


Instead we got a fleeting reference to the fleeting reference.

Good for a point of discussion, perhaps, but not nearly as dire as it sounds here.

Yappa said...

To scott tribe -

Thanks for the comment. (I like "color me puzzled".)

Elizabeth Edwards is not a Hillary supporter. She publicly stated that she'd endorse neither candidate; her husband endorsed Obama. She only stated that she favors Hillary's type of health care proposal over Obama's.

It's not so much that I'm offended by Obama as I'm starting to be bugged that he seems to be completely ignoring Hillary. (Yes I'm sure he's happy to pick up her fund raisers and staff he'll find useful.) He has said very little about Hillary's endorsement. He made no public statement and his campaign made only a very brief statement, saying her concession speech was "very generous".

This is just not the way it's done. It's weird. I didn't mind that he signalled he won't choose her for VP by appointing a VP selection chair who doesn't like her. I think the VP decision should be completely Obama's and he shouldn't be under any pressure to choose her. But this silence is... weird. And add to it picking Elizabeth Edwards which is at best ambiguous; it seems almost malicious. He should be generous. He should be reaching out. He's not.

Yappa said...

Hi Joseph -

I wrote badly then, because I don't mean this to be dire. It's a bit troubling but it has only been a couple of days since she endorsed him so who knows what will happen.

As to not making the NYT front page, AFAICT no media source has picked up on the comment in Hillary's speech or connected the dots on Obama's Elizabeth Edwards partnership. I mentioned it in a comment on Paul Krugman's blog today; I wonder if that will make anyone notice.

Or maybe you're right and I'm reading too much into it.

Yappa said...

Okay, I found a statement from Obama about Hillary's endorsement. (http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/stateupdates/gG5VTS) It's pretty low key, to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Joseph: i doubt you will be happy until HRC is offered the veep either that or obama apologizes and offers her the nomination. There needs to be healing on all sides. Her staff and surrogates (and husband) said some very nasty stuff (I am sorry that I can't say as well - meaning that I think that Obama's campaign was equal bad because I simply can't).

She is taking a holiday right now. When she is back I think that you will see that there will be some kind of joint events. He and his staff were gracious prior to the Saturday speech and after. That is sufficient for the moment.

There teams are currently discussing hRC and bill's roles in the campaign. Until that is done, they will not likely be talking alot.

Shorter version - yes you read too much into the edwards comment. Did you ever think that this is a mutual decision (hillary AND Obama) to give some time to sorting out the relationship?

Anonymous said...

Yappa: If this were the case, choosing Elizabeth Edwards to work on universal health care, it would be a mistake. She has breast cancer but unlike many other American women, got immediate attention and treatment. I think her example, if this is what Obama's thinking, would be exactly the wrong message to send to the thousands upon thousands who can't afford screening let alone the cost of treatment with no insurance.

Anon

Joseph said...

I don't quite understand the anonymous comment directed to me. I didn't even mention Hillary in my comment, and truth be told I don't at this time have particularly strong opinions on the Hillary as VP matter. I think there are reasons she'd be a very good choice for VP, but I recognize there are clearly negatives as well.

I take Obama at his word when he just acknowledges that she would be on anyone's short list (including his, implied). But I'm a strong believer that as the nominee, who he decides to ask to be his VP is his decision.

It seems were arguing the same points on the current topic - that is the comments in Raleigh are not particularly indicative of anything substantial about the Obama / Hillary relationship post primary.

I agree with your comments about this topic . . . just at a loss as to your responding to me on something I didn't even address.