Unity was spared the banality of unanimity.
Carmella Lewis, with her Hillary T-shirt and Hillary placard, came all the way from Denver to make sure there would be plenty of ambiguity, duality and ferocity in Unity.
Just as Hillary was testing out the unfamiliar familiarity “Barack and me” Friday and talking about “his grace and his grit,” Carmella began loudly booing and waving her sign.
“We want Hillary!” screamed the 57-year-old retired ad saleswoman and Clinton delegate.
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“It's over, lady!” yelled some Obama supporters a few yards away.
Standing between the Sharks and the Jets, David Axelrod took pity on an older friend of Carmella's who was suffering from aridity in the Unity humidity. The chief Obama strategist fetched a glass of water and brought it to the woman, who was wearing five Hillary buttons.
This amenity did not stop the disunity. Carmella and her friends continued to cry, “Nobama!” “We love you, Hillary!” and “We need Hillary!” as Barack Obama sat onstage on a stool behind his former rival, his finger studiously at his lips.
Carmella was not impressed with all the kissing, laughing and whispering that Hill and Bam were diligently doing for the cameras, so that the moment could produce, as Obama press aide Robert Gibbs put it on “Larry King Live,” “a great picture.”
When it was Obama's turn to speak, Carmella announced loudly, “I wish I had earplugs.” Then, as Obama tried to ingratiate himself with the Hillary partisans in the crowd by saying that because of the New York senator, his daughters “can take for granted that women can do anything that the boys can do and do it better and do it in heels,” Carmella put her fingers in her ears.
As Obama tried to curry favor with Hillary, looking over at her sensible, sturdy shoes and marveling, “I still don't know how she does it in heels,” Carmella tore up a tissue and stuffed it in her ears.
When Obama pandered with a line about how he wouldn't “perpetuate a system in which women are paid less for the same work as men,” she put her hands over her tissue-stuffed ears.
“Maybe she'd like what she heard if she listened,” sighed Axelrod.
When Obama talked about moving beyond “all the petty bickering,” as Hillary robo-nodded at his side and CNN's Candy Crowley applied pre-broadcast lipstick above her, Carmella glared at people applauding.
Afterward, Carmella got her idol to autograph her sign, telling the smiling Hillary, “You're going to be the next president.”
She told The New York Times that she and her friends were all voting for John McCain and that Hillary was just doing what she had to do.
“But I have a gut feeling,” she said with macabre faith, “that something's going to happen so that she becomes the nominee.”
Some people were mingling well on unity day.
Hillary's chic body woman Huma Abedin got along great with Obama's charming body man Reggie Love; the two, with their dates, shared a dinner the night before at a Georgetown hot spot.
The Bamary press corps meshed effortlessly. The Hillary Fox producer nodded to the good old days by passing around a video mashup of the former foes' greatest hits: Hillary mocking Obama, saying, “Enough with the speeches and the big rallies!” and Obama saying, “Shame on her!” after Hillary said, “Shame on you, Barack Obama!”
Reporters and photographers crept toward the front of the plane, where the victor and the vanquished sat side by side, trying to analyze every smidgen of body language for amity and jollity.
Endless hours were spent analyzing the shade of her pantsuit and his matching tie. Was it powder blue? Cornflower blue? Peacock blue? Cerulean?
The new political allies engaged in what one Obama aide sanguinely described as “comfortable, jovial small talk.” Obama told Hillary about using his Mac to keep in touch with his daughters, and she regaled him with tales of unidentifiable dishes you get served on overseas trips. They commiserated about the loss of privacy.
They did not, however, commiserate about Bill Clinton, who is in a self-pitying meltdown about not being Elvis anymore, trying to shake down Obama for more – more apologies for perceived snubs and more help paying off the $22 million Clinton debt.
Vanity, no humility
It's hard to fathom why Obama should be mau-maued into paying off the debt that Hillary and Bill accrued attacking him, while mismanaging the campaign and their nearly quarter-billion-dollar war chest so horribly that one Hillaryland insider told The New Republic that it bordered on fraud.
But the former president can't stand being a loser, so he's taking it out on the winner. When it comes to Bill, there's a lot of vanity but very little humility in Unity.