Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, January 28, 2005
Intuitively ... know there are a thousand-and-one reasons why she shouldn't.

But then you read about this speech, which is politically bold and eloquently argued. And you think about how an earlier candidate used a similar moment to build his credibility with voters. And then you look at the fantastic reviews it drew in the press. And you watch the spectacle of the interest groups that she crossed nonetheless affecting a stiff chin and declining to criticize her very loudly.

And then you shake your head and look at the calendar. It's the winter after a presidential election, and no one is paying attention to Democratic senators' speeches. They sure as hell aren't paying attention to the "liberal media elite's" predictably fawning coverage. And if a tree falls in the forest with no one listening...

But you listened. And you liked what you heard. And you think back seven years, when she began trudging across the red counties that were bleeding jobs. The soothsayers called it a fool's errand. They thought she'd never get a hearing. But she surprised them then, too. She didn't ask for a hearing -- she listened. And slowly, she began to take what she learned and put it to work, convincing people who were inclined to dislike her that she deserved a second look. That she stood with them, and she could help. And she proved the soothsayers wrong.

And you find yourself hearing a little voice, way, way back in the recesses of your brain, saying "shouldn't she be allowed to give it a shot?"