Hillary Clinton is slated to speak at the Democratic National Convention tonight. She has been a vocal supporter of Barack Obama ever since she suspended her campaign back in early June. She's been asking her supporters to vote for Obama at almost every public appearance she has made since then.
He won't let her onto the team, in fact he seems to scorn her and her legacy, but he seems to expect her to be enthusiastic and get people to support him. Is that the definition of a cheerleader, or what?
There is this seeming expectation among the Obama camp that everything will be all right after she speaks tonight, that all of her supporters will immediately come over to Obama's side, like all they were waiting for was permission (or orders) from Clinton. Well, great. She's given us permission (or orders) in every speech she's given these last three months. If that would have solved the problem, it would have done it by now.
I haven't seen a great outpouring of enthusiasm for Obama, have you? The fact that he's barely leading McCain in the polls seems to indicate that a lot of the country is unhappy with him -- not to the point where they'd vote for McCain, but to the point where they'd abstain or vote for a third party. If enough of them abstain, or cast their votes for someone other than Obama, then Obama will not win this fall.
And because of that expectation that Clinton's words tonight will make everything better, should McCain become 44, who do you think is going to be blamed for Obama's loss? If you said "Hillary Clinton," give yourself a pony!
An Obama loss will be bitter enough, but if people in their frustration and disappointment blame Hillary, that would just be infuriating. If the party is divided now, how much more fractured would it become if it turns out people can't let Obama win or lose on his own, and have to shift the blame onto Clinton? Are the cheerleaders blamed when the football team doesn't win the championship?
For further thoughts, please read this column by Marie Cocco, "Clinton's Thankless Job," about how a person can be forbidden to win a leadership role, yet still be expected to do a lot of work.