Remember when Hillary asked herself, the night she suspended her campaign in June, the question, "What does Hillary want?"
That's the big question I have now for Hillary supporters, especially the not-quite-over-it ones that pollsters have been finding and that Mike, Frank, Noam and I have been meeting here in Denver. Okay, they have grievances from primary season -- the media's sexism, the perceived injustice of the caucus system, and so on -- but what's done is done. So what do Hillary's supporters tangibly want at this stage? Is there anything, other than time, that would improve their feelings for the ticket?
I've been asking some Hillary contacts and delegates protesting in today's "We Want Hillary" march from a Denver park to the Pepsi center the simple "what do you want?" question. (Interesting convention side note: You can easily experience Denver as a sort of shadow Hillary convention, attending pro-Hillary rallies, Hillary-keynoted lunches, and Hillary parties without missing an hour out of the day.) Here are a few answers:
Daniel Kagan, Colorado Hillary delegate: There's a lot of bad blood to wash away. I will hold my nose and vote for Obama, but there are a significant number [of supporters] who won't. [Mollifying them] would take an acknowledgement that he allowed his campaign to smear his opponent's camp, that he allowed his supporters to smear the other candidate [Hillary]. If he were to acknowledge the mistakes he made, I would be happy.
Richard Morgan, Texas Hillary delegate: I don't know if anything is going to be satisfying, but a roll call vote would be great. [The roll call vote is an especially contentious issue in Denver right now -- the other option is to let Hillary delegates vote for their candidate at their delegate breakfasts, but not on the floor.] If they don't let me vote for Hillary, why did we go through this process? It's not necessarily going to put it right, but it would make the democratic process better.
Denise King, New York Hillary delegate (now helping Obama on rural issues, but explaining some of the attitudes of her fellow Hillary-ites): A roll call vote is really important. If we vote for Hillary in the roll call here, that doesn't mean we're not going to vote for Obama/Biden in November! For first time delegates it's important for them to be able to say, "I went to the convention, I cast my vote!" If it were the other way around [and Hillary had won], we would say, "Of course" [there can be a roll call vote].
Purely getting a chance to vent their feelings -- via a roll call vote, a march, or whatever -- is the unifying thread here. After I finished talking with Richard Morgan about what he wants in the sweltering heat of the Hillary march, he told me gratefully, "You just let me blow off a little steam. Thank you."