13 Mar

Post-campaign friendship

One of the questions I get a lot is: can these two candidates come together after the primaries and respect each other? I believe the answer is yes, for two reasons.

First, the rhetoric. Obama says: “I was friends with Hillary Clinton before we started this campaign; I will be friends with Hillary Clinton after this campaign is over.” Hillary says: “I am honored to be here with Barack Obama, I am absolutely honored.”

Second, the history. Hillary actually travelled to Illinois to campaign for Barack Obama when he was running for the U.S. senate, and he and she often co-sponsor each other’s legislation. That history of working together counts for something.

While some of the exchanges between the campaign have seemed rough, it is actually pretty tame compared to what we will see in the general election. The negative ads have been infrequent, and the debates have generally been to draw distinctions on the issues and experience rather than personal attacks.

Both candidates are on record saying they will do what is good for the party. At one time, that simply meant dropping out of the race and endorsing the other candidate. But now, in such a closely fought campaign, it needs to mean something more. After all, it is the supporters who will need the most healing after this is all over.