Yesterday’s Benghazi hearing session with Hillary Clinton was likely a watershed moment for her presidential campaign. As one pundit (Jeet Heer) put it on Twitter yesterday:
Most Dems like Hillary but a sizeable minority have doubts. That changed tonight. Now almost all will want to be in her corner in a fight.
I was reminded of how I felt during the 2008 campaign, when the Clinton team was attacking Obama. I went from being ambivalent (thinking we’d do great with either as a candidate for president) to feeling very emotionally tied to Obama’s candidacy. Jeet Heer refers to a feeling of wanting to be on the same side as a winner in the tweet above, but for me this combines with wanting to stand with someone who is being bullied. That sympathy is just crucial, and I hadn’t really had it before.
I’ve been a Sanders supporter—his politics are much closer to mine than Hillary’s are. And if you had asked me about Hillary last week, I would have shrugged and said I’d vote for her, but I didn’t especially like her.
Now I like her. I hope Sanders continues to run, but I doubt he’ll be able to overtake Hillary at this point. The hearing has provided her with an opportunity to act truly presidential (the kind of president we'd like to see): measured, unflappable, commanding.