Really, after last night, there's nothing else to talk about. There's no stupid McCain response that needs to be parsed, no other headlines to read, it's just time to talk about Hillary. And so I'm lucky that I have a Clintonista with me today! Asma Hasan is a fellow Glamocrat , but she's also a Denver local and the author of Why I Am A Muslim and American Muslims and the upcoming Red, White, and Muslim: A Memoir in Belief . She's one of the biggest Clinton fans I could find in Denver who isn't a freaking P.U.M.A. (but more on that later) — and, in a Crappy Hour first, a real, live Republican. The boxing gloves come out, after the jump.
MEGAN: Hey! I totally wish we'd been able to watch the speech together because I was not sitting with a fan but I wish I had been. But since you are, I'm going to make you talk about it all morning.
ASMA: Oh, okay. That's fine!
MEGAN: I thought it might be. So do you agree she killed it? Because, we might as well put it out there, you were not an Obamican but a, um, Clintocan, or a Republican who was supporting Clinton.
ASMA: Yes, I am an odd one! I am a registered Republican and often vote Republican (but not always). However, I was excited to vote for the first woman with a real shot at being president. Because I'm a woman before I'm a Republican. She and I are also both lawyers, both Wellesley graduates. I am all about the sisterhood! I am a big fan of Nancy Pelosi too.
MEGAN: Who isn't, other than John Boehner and George Bush, really?
ASMA: I have to admit that I do think her campaign was quite flawed. I wasn't thrilled with some of her backtracking on illegal immigrants' and driver's licenses. But, in the end, I knew I was going to vote for her. Ha ha, yes I guess we are all lawyers! But I have a special place in my heart for female and minority lawyers. I don't think McCain is a lawyer.
MEGAN: He's not. He barely made it through the Naval Academy.
ASMA: Right. So that works in Obama's favor. Like a lot of people, I have a party affiliation based on a core set of values but jump ship all the time. So, to get to Hillary's speech, I thought she was great. I thought she did kill it. I was on the floor watching, and I could feel the crowd's emotion. At first, it was excitement to see her and a feeling of, if we hoot and holler enough, she'll praise Obama. Then, there was a little tension until she gave her initial pro-Obama statement.
MEGAN: I was totally waiting for that, too. But I knew it had to be coming. I was just curious to see how forceful it would be.
ASMA: Then, she laid out some policy goals. When she started attacking McCain, she was starting to get into that classic Hillary mode that we all are fond of. When she was done saying the anti-McCain stuff, and then also said, Democrats have done this before (under her husband) and that we have to "keep on going," the crowd went wild! I definitely also felt a feeling among the crowd, just a little twinge of regret, that they thought, maybe this should have been our candidate.
MEGAN: I think that if she'd been giving those kinds of speeches last December and January and February, she might've been.
ASMA: She rounded things up with some pro-Obama stuff, which was good for the crowd. But, to be honest, and knowing her and knowing what Wellesley woman are like, I could tell she was holding back just a teensy bit.
MEGAN: She was holding back? On supporting Obama? I thought she was all out there.
ASMA: Yes, possibly. Her campaign kind of stifled her natural self, which is what people like! I think she got so worried about Obama, that she forgot that she's so good on her own. And her advisors stunk. I thought she was done after Super Tuesday. I was a little annoyed at that time that she was still in. As she stayed in, my admiration for her grew.
MEGAN: Dude, I am dying to know who her new speech writer is. But, yeah, her advisors sucked.
ASMA: She did and said enough to be sufficiently all over Barack Obama. But if she really wanted him to be president, certain parts of that speech would have been even more enthusiastic.
MEGAN: Although, I have to say, that's as enthusiastic speech as I've ever seen her give.
ASMA: I think she is her own new speechwriter! She does her best material for herself. I have seen her speak with no notes, and she is brilliant. You have to give her that of all those "white men" that came on before her, she was just a much, much better speaker than any of those guys. It was like a night and day difference. It was like watching a horse race with a couple of young ponies first and then seeing Secretariat stride out proudly. She's a pro, more than any of those guys, who were barely able to keep up with their teleprompters. Hillary is very, very smart. She gave an enthusiastic speech, such that no one could fault her. But imagine if she was the nominee, or Chelsea, let's say, how much MORE enthusiastic that speech would have been. She did what she needed to do and more, BUT I saw a couple moments, where I just felt, that she was holding back. She wasn't going all out. But she did good. I wouldn't do any different in her position.
MEGAN: : I don't even like her that much and I loved the speech, for real.
ASMA: Don't get me wrong. Her brain is in it. Heart has been told by brain to do a good job. But her heart is not going to risk the stress of true, crazy excitement for Obama. But, even Hillary's brain and heart at only Defcon 2 is better than any other candidate's Defcon 5. I'm so glad you liked it! Maybe now that some of the pressure is off, she is able to be more natural. She is really the only speaker that attacked McCain in a persuasive way. She made criticisms and provided counter-examples. She was a real boost to the Democratic Party principles. I used to be registered a Democrat, and, if someone like Hillary was on 24/7 promoting the true, liberal values of the party, I would imagine I would still be. Democrats forget that they not only need a winning candidate but one who will rebuild party members' confidence
MEGAN: Democrats forget a lot of things, I think.
ASMA: Do you think maybe you loved the speech because now you know she is out of play? So maybe you were able to sit back and enjoy it.
MEGAN: I mean, I wasn't all Probama in the primaries by any means. It was just rare that I saw her give a speech like that.
ASMA: They've got Rudy Giuliani on Morning Joe reviewing Hillary's speech. It was supposed to be the two of them right now. I was sure of it. And there was no way I was ever going to vote for Rudy.
MEGAN: I mean (and I'm going to embed the video, that's how much I loved it), I literally got chills during the Harriet Tubman part: Also, Rudy Giuliani sucks. I saw him on the street last night! If you thought McCain was short...
ASMA: I think my favorite part was when she touched on the theme of "Keep going." As a woman, I identify with that quality of being persistent. The crowd did go wild for that. She can be very, very inspiring when she wants to be. The Tubman part was great. See, Obama's not the only one who can give great speeches?
MEGAN: That was amazing, for real, I was like, damn, that's good. I've never gotten chills from an Obama speech.
ASMA: I think Obama is a great speaker, very gifted in that department. But, I don't get that "magic" feeling that other people do. His prepared speeches are really good, but then you think, well, that was prepared. Ex Tempore, I'm not really a big fan. They're okay. He spends too much time talking about what the criticisms of him are. He should focus on his thing and not always be anticipating criticism. I'm looking to get wowed by Obama on Thursday night. All my friends who are fans of his say that I have to just go see him speak once, and I'll be a convert. Too bad for Obama that he can't speak personally to everyone in America and convert them one by one.
MEGAN: Well, if he does enough speeches for 75,000 people at a go, he might come close.