It’s one thing to damn with faint praise. It’s another tokill with enthusiastc praise. And that seemed to be Barack Obama’s partial goalin his speech in Des Moinestonight.
At times, Obama sounded like a Clinton surrogate. He called her "one of themost formidable candidates to ever run for this office." He complimented "hercourage, her commitment and her perseverance." He even borrowed a line straightout of Clinton’stalking points: " In her thirty-fiveyears of public service , Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has never given upon her fight for the American people," he said. [E.A.] I half expected him to say Clinton is "ready to lead on Day One."
It’s no surprise that Obama has softened on Clinton. The reverse is true, too. Clintoninsisted tonight that Democrats will unite behind the nominee—she practicallyordered them to, which may be necessary given that nearly half of Kentucy Demssaid they would not support Obama in a general election against John McCain.
But as Obama complements her, he’s paving the way for herexit. It’s like the euphoria they say comes over you just before death. "Nomatter how this primary ends," Obama said, "Senator Clinton has shattered mythsand broken barriers and changed the America in which my daughters andyours will come of age."
This will no doubt get the "dream ticket" fans cluckingagain. Look, they’re healing! Butreally, it shows just how easy it is to be generous when you’ve won.