Monday, September 03, 2012


I gather I'm supposed to be worried that Bill Clinton's convention speech, which the Obama campaign hasn't been allowed to vet, will somehow sandbag the president's campaign. Fears have been raised by Ryan Lizza's New Yorker article about the often strained relationship between the two presidents.

I'm supposed to worry about the bad blood that's existed between Clinton and Obama since the 2008 campaign -- even though Clinton gave a speech at the '08 convention that, according to Lizza, also wasn't vetted by the Obama campaign, and that was everything an Obama supporter could have wanted.

More recently, as the two presidents have worked together more, there was this:
On April 29th of this year, Obama attended the first of the joint fund-raisers, in suburban Virginia, at the home of Clinton's good friend Terry McAuliffe.... As Obama stood on a stage in the back yard with Clinton and McAuliffe, waiting to be introduced, he looked uneasy...

When it came to Obama, Clinton had some facts to convey. He told the donors that he hoped they would remember them and pass them along to their friends. That it takes ten years to recover from a financial crisis rooted in a housing collapse, and, by that historical standard, Obama was "beating the clock, not behind it." That Obama's stimulus plan had shaved two points off the unemployment rate. That Obama's restructuring of the auto industry had saved one and a half million jobs. That Obama's health-care law will bring consumers and employers $1.3 billion in refunds from insurance companies.
What's not to like?

I know that in interviews Clinton has sometimes said the wrong things -- praising Mitt Romney's "sterling" business record and so on. But in speeches, Clinton likes to be the guy he waws at that fund-raiser, the guy who explains the grand sweep of American history, and the Democratic Party's role in that history as a champion of ordinary Americans. At the convention, he'll want to give an inspiring, uplifting, crowd-pleasing barn-burner of a speech; he's not going to get the love of the crowd with swipes at the man they came to nominate.

So I think he's going to say all the right things. I admit he'll do this at least as much for his own ego as for the good of the party and the president. But what does it matter? His speech will seem more soaring if he talks about the Democrats as the party of the people, and the policies of Obama as part of a continuum that includes himself and reaches back through the decades. So that's what he'll say.

And if some of his talking points clash with the Obama campaign messaging, I think it will be a minor blip. Oh, sure -- the political press will snicker and the Romneyites will pounce. But the general public won't pay much attention. And if the notion of a serious clash really does somehow emerge from the speech, well, that will just make Clinton look petty, and tell us Democrats made the right choice in '08, won't it?

I don't see that happening. I think he'll do just fine.


Tommy said...

I guarantee The Big Dog will knock it out of the park, and the only worry any Democrat candidate would have over Cllinton would be being outshone by him. In the case of Obama, who we know can deliver the goods, that's not really a concern. But that won't keep the the right wing "press" from concern trolling about it for the next 3 days.

Victor said...

Tommy nailed it perfectly - "concern trolling."

The political MSM knows it only has two more months to cover this Presidential campaign, so it needs to keep drumming up interest.
I'm watching that little sh*t-licking lapdog, Mark Halperin, yap about this right now.

"The Big Dawg" will make a barnburner - setting the stage for Obama's speech - which I'm sure, will also be a barnburner.

Also too - the Democratic Party doesn't need to hide their last Presidents, like the Republicans do with, 'you know who.'

We're proud of our last President.

And we're also proud of Jimmy Carter and his record, too. And who looks better and better as time goes on, and we see that his stewardship of America was better than Reagan's, and far better than 'you know who's.'
And the Republicans aren't too happy with 'you know who's' father, either.

The one President they're proud of in the last 1/2 Century, the only one they even acknowledge, was the doddering old former B-actor. The Republican universe began in 1981 and ended in 1989.

BH said...

Agreed. It was a sizable lapse of judgment for the Mittyites to let Eastwood appear without vetting, but that's Eastwood. Clinton's a whole different proposition.