For many of us who were part of the Clinton campaign, Sen. Barack Obama's appeal was something we understood only in the abstract -- data in polls, faces at a televised rally.
Most of us never heard him speak in person. At work 14 hours a day in the war room, we focused on his perceived faults and deficiencies. Our time was spent sharpening and advancing arguments. Skepticism was critical to our efforts. Insulated from Obamamania, I met few Obama supporters and distanced myself from the ones I knew. I lived this way for 18 months.
From the outside, our loss may have seemed inevitable for months, but inside the campaign we simply kept going. Each late victory brought false hope. We were finally doing too well to stop, but never well enough to win. We fought so long because we believed so strongly in our candidate; sustained by the passions of our supporters, we hoped that, as long as we kept moving, we could keep failure at bay.
Once we ran out of states and the campaign ended, we were like Rip Van Winkle. We awoke to a world transformed by political currents we had stood against. There was the neighbor in an Obama T-shirt getting the morning paper. Every parked car on the street bore an Obama bumper sticker. Had they been there along, or did they pop up overnight?
I fled the country, overcoming a fear of flying to travel abroad three times in two months. I avoided the papers and television. Media postmortems rehashed familiar feuds and created new rifts. I had no answers when my 3-year-old daughter asked why Hillary had lost or where all the Hillary signs had gone. You have to read the rest.
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