Top Hillary surrogate on her speech last night: “She left her supporters empty”

Hilary Rosen is a big deal in town. Some would call her a big scary deal. Hilary has a reputation for being, well, a barracuda. And I say that with a healthy dose of envy. She used to run the Recording Industry Association of America, and is smart as hell.

I first met her back in 1992/93. I was still working for the Republicans, had just come out, and was attending secret gay-agenda meetings at the Human Rights Campaign (Hilary used to chair their board). Hilary has always been good to me – including welcoming me to their meetings in spite of my then-Republican employment. That decision on her part led to my getting involved with the Campaign for Military Service, the effort to lift the military’s gay ban, which then led me to get to know, and work for, Ted Kennedy’s staff on a variety of gay rights issues. Kennedy then helped get me a job at the Children’s Defense Fund, where I learned online advocacy, which is obviously a lot of what I do today. In a very real way, Hilary’s decision to let me attend those meetings in the early 90s played a huge role in making me the effective online advocate I hope I am today.

Anyway, my point in saying this is to give you a sense of why what she wrote today on the Huff Post matters. Hilary was a top Clinton surrogate during the campaign. Today she penned a piece endorsing and embracing Barack Obama, but also noting that the other Hillary should have done the same last night. Here’s a quick excerpt. What’s also interesting about her piece is the fact that top Hillary surrogates are now publicly saying “it’s over.” Unfortunately, it’s the public pressure Hillary will need to put this thing to rest. But it’s interesting that it’s actually happening. Here is Hilary (one L Hilary):

Senator Clinton’s speech last night was a justifiably proud recitation of her accomplishments over the course of this campaign, but it did not end right. But she didn’t do what she should have done. As hard and as painful as it might have been, she should have conceded, congratulated, endorsed and committed to Barack Obama. Therefore the next 48 hours are now as important to the future reputation of Hillary Clinton as the last year and a half have been….

I am also so very disappointed at how she has handled this last week. I know she is exhausted and she had pledged to finish the primaries and let every state vote before any final action. But by the time she got on that podium last night, she knew it was over and that she had lost. I am sure I was not alone in privately urging the campaign over the last two weeks to use the moment to take her due, pass the torch and cement her grace. She had an opportunity to soar and unite. She had a chance to surprise her party and the nation after the day-long denials about expecting any concession and send Obama off on the campaign trail of the general election with the best possible platform. I wrote before how she had a chance for her “Al Gore moment”
And if she had done so, the whole country ALL would be talking today about how great she is and give her her due.

Instead “she left her supporters empty”, Obama’s angry and party leaders trashing her. She said she was stepping back to think about her options. She is waiting to figure out how she would “use” her 18 million voters.

But not my vote. I will enthusiastically support Barack Obama’s campaign. Because I am not a bargaining chip. I am a Democrat.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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