Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hillary Channels Lou Gehrig

As a grace note at the end of her concession speech today, Hillary Clinton offered up a Lou Gehrig moment. Gehrig, the Yankee star whose career was cut short by the dread disease, infantile paralysis, that now bears his name, reportedly discarded his prepared speech when faced with the cheering throngs that turned out on Gehrig Appreciation Day, shortly following his retirement. To paraphrase fairly closely, he said, "Some may think I've gotten a bad break, but today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I feel now, more than ever, that I have much to live for."

Here's Hillary, one paragraph from the close today:
And looking out at you today, I have never felt so blessed. The challenges that I have faced in this campaign are nothing compared to those that millions of Americans face every day in their own lives. So today, I’m going to count my blessings and keep on going.
Maybe she really is a Yankee fan by now.

It was a gracious speech, an effective passing of the torch. Her central metaphor for leading her supporters to Obama was, "We may have started on separate journeys - but today, our paths have merged. " The common ground she laid out between herself and Obama were their shared optimism, their shared pathbreaking as woman and African American, and a four-paragraph hymn to their shared policy goals (universal healthcare, a middle class 'thriving and growing again,' an American fueled by renewable energy, and bringing the troops home and caring for them). It was not pro forma. She paid tribute to the stages of his career, the campaign he ran, and -- most importantly -- these shared goals, which made it credible that her next mission would be to get him elected.

Let's hope she builds on this new start.

1 comment:

  1. What he actually said was "Though I might've been given a bad break, I've got an awful lot to live for. Thank you"

    This was the final line.

    "Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

    This was the first.