Hillary Clinton’s Reno Town Hall

If I had to choose one word to describe Clinton’s town hall in Reno this morning, I would choose “impressive”–surprisingly so. Its not that I think there is anything unimpressive about Hillary Clinton, but I was surprised by how impressed I and all the people around me were by here sheer presence. The town hall is clearly her best venue–she can show off her confident presence, her obvious intelligence, the with and breadth of her political experience, her eloquence, and her attractiveness. Yes, that’s right, Hillary looked absolutely fabulous in a green suit that just happened to match Hug High School’s colors.

The minx and her minxettes were lucky enough to cruise into the event just after 10:30am and find great seats (that was after having to walk by some of the protesters holding signs that said things like “Keep Nevada Red” and “Anyone But Hillary” of course). From our vantage point in Hug’s gym, we could see everything; the Secret Service agents preparing the scene and then protecting Clinton throughout the event, the large number of children (from toddlers to high schoolers) who attended the event, and just the general diversity of the audience. People were excited and responded to Clinton like she was a rockstar. Comparing it the Edwards event last fall, I would say the difference was the level of adoration. People were really excited to see John Edwards–he’s very popular in Northern Nevada–but I didn’t see anyone cry like one my friends who pretty much sobbed her way through the entire event. And I think that’s what’s missing from most people’s impression of Clinton brought to them by the media and framed by the events surrounding her husband’s presidency. Hillary Clinton can inspire awe.

Take the crew I brought along–they’re a fairly liberal bunch, but no one has ever spoken of their undying devotion to Clinton in the past. In fact, I was the only one who knew she would be in town, and those who read this blog know that I have written ambivalently about Clinton in the past. Although I think that she would make a very good president, I still don’t know if she is the candidate I will support in the 2008 caucus–its just far too early to make a decision about that. But even I was in awe of Hillary Clinton today. What she brought to the event was a grand narrative of a post war America that the rest of the world looked upon with respect and admiration, and a calm confidence that she will be able to return such an America to us. Sure, that’s nothing new, but its the way she tells that narrative that makes the difference. Its more than believable–Clinton brings out a powerful emotional response to the American decline we are all experiencing. Its not just a naive nostalgia she is tapping into, its a sense of pride Americans are longing to feel about their country once again. Most importantly, it was clear to me today that Clinton has the ability to do just that.

For instance, she told a story about Madeline Albright’s return to Czechoslovakia as Secretary of State for Bill Clinton. Albright and her family fled Czechoslovakia in 1939 when the Nazis invaded, and when she returned to her former homeland she noticed that many Czechs waved American flags with only 48 stars at the stops she made. And when she asked the Czechs where the got the flags, they told her that they had been saving them since the Americans liberated them during World War II. They saved those flags for more than 60 years, and hid them from the Russians when they invaded Prague in 1968. This was the moment when the tears began to appear in the eyes of many in attendance.

Clinton has the message that many Americans want to hear if they will just allow themselves to believe it can come from one of our country’s most polarizing figures. One thing I particularly like about Clinton is that she will not say what people want to hear just because they want to hear it. We’ve seen this in her responses to the netroots and some anti-war activists, and its something I appreciate even though I don’t agree with her on several issues. And she doesn’t do it out of obstinacy, arrogance, or willful ignorance like Bush does, she clearly takes into account the other side, she just wants to do what she thinks is right based on the information she has. And unlike Bush, she will seek out the information from the opposition.

As women, its inspirational for many of us just to imagine a woman as president, but to see a potential candidate so confident and in command of herself and her endeavor is a wonderful thing. Americans could do a lot worse than elect Hillary Clinton for president. Well, we have done much worse actually. Its high time for us to do better.

Susan Nunes at Random Thoughts has photos and it looks like she was even closer than the minx (although she got there a lot earlier). As usual, the minx forgot her camera.


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[...] So today’s appearance. First of all, Obama was late and it was hot. And sunny. And did I say it was hot? Obama was pretty good–but he’s no Hillary Clinton in person, and no, that’s not because he is not a Caucasian woman, she just out performs him in every way except wage and support of the war in Iraq. If you’ll remember, many people cried actual tears at Clinton’s appearance–if that’s not rockstar power–I don’t know what is. Obama is more charismatic on TV, Clinton less so. Why? Well, personally, I think it has something to do with the fact that he is a young, black man rather than an older white woman, but that’s me. I find Obama’s stance on troop redeployment just wrong and I think he knows it. Yes, he denounced the war–yes–good. But I don’t think he is giving us a realistic solution. There is no way we can safely have all combat troops out of Iraq by whenever he said next year, and I am hardly a hawk. I think its a little irresponsible to say it. [...]

[...] Elizabeth Edwards came to town to open her husband’s Reno campaign office, and let me just say this: A man that can pick a woman like Elizabeth Edwards as a life partner demonstrates excellent judgment. What an asset she is to the Edwards’ campaign. Expect a story tomorrow in the Reno Gazette Journal since I spied the recently returned Anjeannette Damon at the event taking copious notes. Edwards handles education as an issue better than Clinton. // [...]


Comments

I was there and the story about Madeline Albright’s visit and the 48-star flags was indeed moving.

I agree that Hillary has major presence. She was awesome.

There was one part where I wanted to shout something out. When she kept talking about how the middle class was invisible to the Bush administration. I wanted to shout out “yes! We are, but then why are they spying on us?”

I still am not sure she is my first choice for the primary election in 08 but she’s got my vote if she makes it through to the November 08 election.

I was so impressed at the turnout. Sure beats the 300 in Elko who showed up for McCain’s visit this past week!

Also, I was impressed with the standing ovation Senator Harry Reid received when Hillary mentioned him.

I share nearly all your feelings and thoughts expressed here, Myrna. You’ve hit a major nail on the head — will Americans who declare their absolute opposition to her give her a chance to show who she really is? Some clearly won’t. The question, and the election, hinge on how many will.

As someone who has generally been against her since she came on the scene, I’m willing to listen to her and give her a shot. We’ll see. I think she’ll have serious obstacles in the primary, but I doubt many Republicans will even entertain the thought of her as President.

Smart woman but I can’t seem to muster much excitement over her candidacy. Sorry I missed the event though.

The funny thing is, she is the most conservative candidate among the bunch. RR–if you had been there, I think you would feel differently. I’m still not endorsing her, but wow did she seem presidential, but more than that, very empathetic and warm. Not the way she is portrayed by the media at all.

How can I vote for Obama if I don’t get to “meet” him in person? I predict he’ll be here soon now that Clinton has thrown down the gauntlet in Reno.

Was anyone at all skeptical of Allbright’s story? After all, most of Czechoslavakia was liberated by the Soviets, including Prague.

I’m not saying the story is made-up but I am saying that these are precisely the sort of things that get candidates needlessly in trouble — telling emotional stories rather than sticking to what they know. Don’t think that the Republicans, and the press, are going to let her get away with this for long.

Ghost: Technically maybe, but by the allies anyway or which the American flag was a symbol. Even the Germans ran to the Americans to escape the Russians at the conclusion of the war so the Czechs definitely weren’t going to save Russian flags.

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