Matt Flynn, former chair of the state Democratic Party, said on Wisconsin Public Radio that Obama "must" pick Hillary as a running mate. And, while most pundits and politicians seem to acknowledge that this is unlikely, I've heard others suggest that Obama must do something to reach out to women voters, like giving a major address on gender, making nice with Hillary and picking a female running mate.
Women, according to a lot of conventional analysis, are the voting bloc Hillary commands.
But I have trouble connecting with the burst of feminist passion for Hillary. Watching her concession speech last Saturday with our three young daughters was a mixed experience. We were Obama voters. (My 4- and 6-year-olds talk with their friends about who they "voted for" - and most of the Madison kids they know also "voted for" Obama.)
I found Hillary so off-putting throughout the campaign, and her endorsement of the rival who long ago passed her by so dramatically unenthusiastic, despite being nicely worded, that I can't share in the excitement over her talk about breaking the glass ceiling. But at the same time, I was glad for the girls to see a woman as a serious contender for the presidency.
When Hillary talked about women being able to do anything, and about how she has changed history so that no one will ask, "Could a woman really serve as commander in chief?" I wanted my kids to be inspired.
But Hillary herself does not inspire me. This is the woman who ran, first and foremost, as the big-money, establishment candidate. She locked up the large donors and heavy-hitting consultants early. She refused to apologize for her vote for the Iraq War. When she changed her tune and became, oddly, the self-styled voice of the working class, she dropped hints at white racism that poisoned the Democratic debate.
Hillary was, for better or worse, tied to the administration that ended welfare, making it hard to see her as a champion of the poor, single mothers she invoked at the end of her campaign. Only in defeat - when she got tearful after losing Iowa, and when Obama clearly had the whole thing won - did she become the "women's candidate." Not exactly uplifting.
There was clearly a sexist, locker-room tone to much of the TV commentary about Hillary Clinton's candidacy. Some of it evoked the virulent misogyny of 1992 and 1996, when, as Bill Clinton's nontraditional political wife, Hillary was a magnet for ugliness. (I remember the "Ditch the Bitch" T-shirts at the 1996 Republican convention.)
But one of the remarkable things about her campaign was how much Hillary overcame all that - or how much of it went into remission during her primary campaign. Part of it is due to her own tenacity. But she also managed to become "one of the boys," both among Washington insiders and among the blue-collar, white voters who ultimately became her base.
Far from being a movement leader running as a political insurgent, Hillary launched her campaign as a competent manager with a distinctly unexciting message: "Let the conversation begin!" It was her 35 years of experience, her knowledge of where the levers of power are in the federal bureaucracy, that defined her as the safe, "inevitable" nominee.
Just as the feminist theme emerged when she was down, once she started losing, Hillary turned into the populist champion of the underdog. It was then that she became the candidate of the voters who hated her back in the 1990s. One such voter, interviewed on the radio, marveled that he was actually voting for a woman, something he had vowed to never do.
That was Hillary's greatest accomplishment: not that she became the candidate of feminists, but of antifeminist men.
We feminists who never supported her can still hope that that part of her legacy benefits women.