Whatever your politics, you have to admire Bill Clinton's ability to give a stem winding speech at a critical moment. He did it again last night at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Clinton can reduce an argument to its essential syllogisms and drive it home. He summed up the Republican argument for electing Mitt Romney this way: “We left [Obama] a total mess, he hasn't finished cleaning it up yet, so fire him and put us back in." But, with Clinton, less is never enough. He's quite capable of going well beyond the scripted arguments. Mitch Potter writes in The Toronto Star:
Clocking in at an epic 48 minutes — almost double the allotted time — Clinton drove teleprompter operators to distraction, ignoring the text to free-riff his way through a president's-eye view of why Obama is the obvious choice on Nov. 6.
And with folksy good humour -- and not a touch of nastiness -- he summed up the Democratic argument for Obama's re-election and dismissed the Republican argument that Obama is a failed president:
“When we vote in this election, we'll be deciding what kind of country we want to live in,” Clinton told a jammed arena of Democratic loyalists in Charlotte. “If you want a winner-take-all, you're-on-your-own society, you should support the Republican ticket.
“But if you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility — a we're-all-in-this-together society — you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”
“I like the argument for President Obama's re-election a lot better,” Clinton said. “He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long, hard road to recovery and laid the foundation for a more modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses and lots of new wealth for the innovators.”
Clint Eastwood should feel embarrassed this morning.