We have all been in situations where an event is so overhyped that the event itself can never meet expectations. That is never the case with Bill Clinton.
Last night Bill Clinton did what Bill Clinton does best. In a rambling 48 minute speech that lasted twice its allotted time the former president gave his full throated support for the re-election of Barak Obama. He outlined the extraordinarily difficult circumstances Obama faced upon taking office saying that no one, no president, not himself nor any of his predecessors could have turned the economy around in four years. He outlined the actions the president took to right the economy and he explained what they meant to the lives of Americans. He dismantled the criticisms leveled against this president by the Republicans and he explained why the Republican plans for the future won’t work. And he did all of this in a manner that was easily understood by his audience. For all Obama’s oratory skills he has never been able to sell his presidency as effectively as Bill Clinton did last night.
Bill Clinton is not a motivator. He is a distiller. He riffs and postulates and sometimes he goes off the reservation. By all estimates almost 50% of last night’s speech was ad-libbed. (The toughest job in the hall had to be the guy running the teleprompter.) But in the end he has the extraordinary ability to sift through all the noise and nonsense and explain things in a way that connects with the American people. And that’s what he did last night. It was vintage “Bubba being Bubba.”
Tonight it will be President Obama’s turn. By all accounts this will be a policy speech. We hope so. We will be looking for specifics on where the president wants to take the country and how he intends to get there. Clinton cleared out the weeds of the past. No we’ll see if the president can provide a clear path toward the future.
The Democrats have certainly convinced us that they know how to run a convention. Now we’ll see if the president can convince voters that knows how to run the country.