Everybody's a winner! (Well, almost everybody.)
So tell me: Is it condescending to women to suggest that it's condescending to women to suggest that they need some kind of special treatment to deal with their disappointment in the political arena?
But how else are you supposed to read the suggestion floated by the Clinton camp -- not just by the Clinton camp, but by Hillary Clinton herself -- that letting the convention spotlight linger uncommonly long and uncommonly bright on the party's runner-up is the only way to finally bring her most ardent supporters to that special place -- emotionally speaking, psychologically speaking -- where they can actually support the party's actual nominee?
I'd expect some altitude sickness in Denver -- but the vapors?!
So perhaps, Hillary hints, she'll allow her name to be formally placed in nomination, to allow her supporters the opportunity to shout and scream and show their deep and undying support for her.
Perhaps she'll even request a roll-call vote of all the states, to allow her supporters to demonstrate to the nation, to the world, just how close she came to winning the nomination in her own right.
Plus a night of her own as the headliner, with a prime-time speech. And another big speech, on yet another night, for Bill. And wouldn't it be a nice touch if Chelsea introduced her? And --
Whose convention is it anyway? Didn't she...lose?
Never you mind. She wants none of this for herself, you understand. This is all just to help her people get over it.
What a humanitarian.
And once they've gotten over it -- once they've had their "catharsis," as the runner-up puts it -- then the last holdouts in Hillaryland will happily (or at least dutifully) fall in line to do whatever they have to do to see that Barack Obama is elected the next president of the United States.
Even if they know it should have been Hillary.
Even if they know it was somebody else's fault.
Even if they know they were robbed.
Even if they know it should still be Hillary.
Give them what they want, is the crystal-clear message, or there'll be trouble. They'll break down, or blow up, or sit out. They are fervent. They are furious. They are fragile.
They are woman.
And promoting this particular image is helpful to females...how?
Of course, there's another way to read it. There's a way to read it that has less to do with putting salve to raw emotions, and much more to do with keeping those emotions raw. That, far from helping her supporters reconcile themselves to the inevitable, Hillary Clinton is doing everything she can to delay the inevitable. To deny the inevitable.
Even -- and this can only be whispered -- to overturn the inevitable. Conventions are collections of human beings, after all. Who's to say what can happen when thousands of delegates gather in a room overflowing with emotions and ambitions and the latest poll numbers? Start a roll-call pebble rolling, and who knows what damage it could do?
And you really think Hillary Clinton would mind?
I may faint.