Clinton’s speech does wonders for president
At the end of these past two weeks, it is quite likely that those of us following the conventions closely — even in sound bites — might feel somewhat fatigued. From Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to his wife Ann to First Lady Michelle Obama, and everybody in between, it’s been speeches back to back.
Yet last Wednesday at the Democratic National Convention, before the commander in chief got his say, one of his predecessors took the stage for what was the best case for Barack Obama I’ve heard the Democrats deliver.
Former president Bill Clinton came out as what appeared to be the Democrats’ unlikely trump card, because despite his rhetorical and political prowess, he is now more well known for his admittedly ill-advised cigar shenanigans than for what he actually accomplished while in office.
However, his speech was everything the Republican National Convention speeches weren’t in that it actually laid out plans, accomplishments, and details.
It spent more time presenting what one side got right than what the other got wrong; that is why I believe it did more for the president than practically any other effort in the past four years. In spite of his somewhat sordid reputation, Clinton laid out a strong foundational case for the Democrats by reminding us all of a little thing he calls “arithmetic” — sheer numerical facts.
His bottom line? In the past 51 years, Democrats created 42 million jobs while in office and Republicans created just 24 million, less than half that amount, a statement that fact-checking website PolitiFact.com verified as true.
Such numbers, while the crux of Clinton’s argument, weren’t the only things he stressed. He made sure to give credit were credit is due, even to former president George W. Bush for his support of PEPFAR, the government’s AIDS relief program, a mention conspicuously absent from this year’s RNC. But Clinton also reminded us of all the qualities that make Obama the preferable choice.
He stressed Obama’s attempts at cooperation within and without the party, from cabinet appointments, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to the new jobs plan that was rejected by Congress. Clinton also included the actions taken by Obama early in his presidency, such as the then-unpopular (but now seemingly vindicated) stimulus plan and automobile bailout.
Clinton played up what is arguably Obama’s biggest accomplishment in healthcare reform, and noted the other side’s plans to get rid of it.
And in his final remarks, Clinton struck a chord with the audience, summarizing why those concerned with changing voter policies, immigration, or the middle class should re-elect Obama. Clinton’s line of the night might have been: “We cannot afford to double-down on trickle-down.”
Thus, he was able to convince me that whether you go just by the numbers or are simply looking for a moderate willing to reach across the aisle, Obama is who you should vote for come November.