There were questions about whether Obama could gather together the Hillary voters who felt disenfranchised when she lost the race. There were suggestions that Hillary voters would turn to McCain, or third party candidates, or simply stay home. Hillary supporters were talking about protesting the convention, and even recently there was speculation that somehow Hillary was going to try to steal the nomination away from Obama.
Pundits also speculated on whether Obama could win unless he put Hillary at his side. He needed her experience, both on the campaign trail and in the office. Without her substance, he would fail. Speculation was that if he chose someone without the standing, substance, and energy of Hillary, he would fail. If he did not include Hillary, he would lose the female vote, he would lose the older vote, the blue collar vote. Without Hillary, he would fail.
I don't say this with any animosity to the Hillary camp. I'm reflecting the words of the newspaper pundits, talking heads, and more than a few bloggers. But I believe the turning point has come. I have a friend, a woman and a Hillary voter, who had previously asserted that there was no way she could vote for Obama. She cited the many reasons that others do: his lack of experience, his associations, and one thing no one had really pointed out--that there had to be some dirt about Obama not yet dug up. She never bought into the obvious nonsense (he's a Muslim!), but she had serious questions about him and was either going to vote third-party or stay home.
Today, after Biden was announced, I received an e-mail from her. The subject was, "NOW I can vote for Obama." Biden turned the tide for her. His working-class roots, his foreign policy experience, his intelligence, his character made the difference. Choosing Biden showed Obama's good judgment. Biden gets respect. He's plainly on the side of the working man and woman, and, really, all women. He has the gravity that completes this ticket.
I am convinced that a great many Hillary voters will see the Biden choice with the same relief. All right, their candidate didn't make it--but Obama chose wisely. He has reassured the Democratic voter that he does indeed know what he's doing. He's made it clear to the Hillary voter, the kitchen-table voter, the working voter, that he's heard them and still intends to look after them. iCal it: this is the week Obama won the Presidency.