Bill Clinton and the Charlotte Home-Run Derby

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Brendan Hoffman / Prime

Former President Bill Clinton speaks in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 5, 2012

With two nights of the Democratic National Convention down, it’s safe to draw a clear comparison between Charlotte and Tampa. At last week’s Republican affair, you had the sense of fingers crossed in the hope that the big speakers wouldn’t blow it, and a sense of relief when they didn’t. (Or frustration when they did, as many people said about Chris Christie.) Ann and Mitt Romney gave strong speeches that helped their causes, but those speeches seemed more like stand-up doubles rather than home runs.

Bill Clinton’s blockbuster speech on Wednesday was the highlight of a week that so far seems like a home-run derby. One after another, Democratic speakers have been making full contact with the ball — and their audiences. Those who’ve been watching at home must sense how much more energy is roiling in Charlotte than it ever did in Tampa. Republicans have been the “motivated” ones in recent years, but the past two weeks suggest something might be shifting.

(PHOTOS: The Democratic National Convention)

It was actually the Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke who spoke most directly to the party’s base on Wednesday. Their speeches made strong, even aggressive cases for liberal values — and hit the GOP with gusto. With remarkable poise for a woman in her mid-20s who is new to the national stage, Fluke went after the GOP for positions she called “an offensive, obsolete relic of our past,” exploiting the party’s radicalized image on abortion rights in the wake of Rush Limbaugh, Todd Akin and distinctions on the nature of rape. Warren was a voice of outrage against the brutalities of capitalism, deriding “Wall Street CEOs who strut around Congress demanding favors and with no shame acting like we should thank them.” Both speeches were tough but maybe a notch too combative for the taste of some undecided swing voters.

(MORE: The Clinton Speech)

But then came Clinton, whose 49-minute speech, while featuring candy for party activists, seemed designed to reach those voters in the middle. Clinton emphasized the value of bipartisan cooperation in the service of improving the country and peoples’ lives. “When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good,” Clinton said. “But what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation.” Clinton even name-checked George W. Bush — another former President, who did not appear at his party’s convention — for supporting a program to reduce AIDS in Africa. (Amazingly, he had Democratic delegates cheering W’s name.) Now that you’ve read those words, read this passage from the Aug. 21 Washington Post:

[O]ne clear factor that separates them from Democrats and Republicans is a near-uniform call for greater cross-party cooperation. Seven in 10 independents say they favor compromise between the parties rather than confrontation, according to the survey. Just as many say they are dissatisfied with the country’s political system.

Clinton played another important role for Americans still making up their minds: that of fact checker. “You be the judge. Here’s what really happened,” he said, before refuting the Romney-Ryan charges that Obamacare “raids” Medicare of $716 billion. Clinton took this approach on several issues, including the wildly exaggerated charge that Obama is gutting welfare reform, and presented himself as an honest broker supplying Americans with policy detail they rarely hear in a convention address.

The crowd loved it. The hall was even louder than it was after Michelle Obama’s direct-hit speech on Tuesday night, and that was twice as loud as the response to Romney’s nomination-acceptance speech in Tampa. Of course, what matters most is how the conventions are seen outside the halls by the millions of people watching at home. But the omens for the GOP are not good. And the true star of the Democratic Party has yet to speak.

PHOTOS: Michelle Obama on the Campaign Trail

95 comments
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ThePhdScientist
ThePhdScientist

Hmmm. I wonder how history will view the GOP nomination. A wall street fat cat who pays a smaller percentage of taxes than many middle class (nurses, engineers, scientists) teams up with the guy who seeks to redefine rape and outlaw abortion in all circumstances while handing grandma a coupon for her medicare. A more ridiculous pairing seeking to send the country back light years on social issues and further into debt is hard to imagine!

Dr Sam
Dr Sam

ABOUT BILL CLINTON’S SPEECH AT THE

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, SEPTEMBER 5, 2012.

 

A master indeed of the fine art of

politics!  President Clinton has no equal in our recent memory except perhaps

FDR.  Amazing performance!  Romney earlier thought he was being

clever by naming Clinton kindly, as a wedge.  He was too clever by

half--and he was trying to make a friend of Clinton before he could do him

harm.

 

Start Loving
Start Loving

Well done author.  Well done true patriots of the 2012 DNC.   We haven't seen such an assembly of serious, compassionate, intelligent, prepared, courageous, accomplished folks assembled for America in, well, when was the Untied States established?  Seriously. 

This is a moment to study, ponder, and rise up, unviolently, and not, NOT, this time, sit down, A. before we re-elect Pr. Obama by a landslide; B. WIDEN, NOT LOSE THE SENATE MAJORITY, and C. NOT SIT DOWN ANY SECOND OF THE NEXT 4 YEARS.  Our psychologically impaired (I'm a Masters in Counseling) brothers and sisters on the right wing (neither Reagan or Eisenhower could win a primary in today's GOP - FACT) DO NOT SIT DOWN. 

IF THE RIGHT AND CENTER SIT DOWN IN THE NEXT 45 DAYS, OR IN THE FOLLOWING 4 YEARS, THE REPUBLIC IS LOST, (and with run-away global warming, the future of our children, with it). 

We've seen this happen.  There was no more sophisticated, intellectually advanced country than Germany in 1930.  And the left and center, sat and watched, and talked, and worried, and complained..., EVERYTHING BUT STAND, UNTIL SANITY PREVAILED; until SANITY WON.

Never again.

JZimm09
JZimm09

Michelle - great.  Clinton - brilliant.  Many other speakers right on point.  But it's too easy and so unfair in a way.  Economically amp; socially the Republicans only have something to offer for about 1% of the population.  And the Democrats have a lot to offer for all the rest.

Sardonic_Soul
Sardonic_Soul

Yes the Democrats DO have something to offer!  Abject Poverty to all.  Get rid of the 1 percent, and you get rid of 99 percent of the jobs.  Without the "Jobs" of the world there ARE no jobs in the world.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

If only all of the 99% understand what you say, and vote in their own self-interest, there would be no race at all now.

The Republicans keep so many on board with the phony, useless social platform.

outsider2011
outsider2011

 It may be unfair - but they chose to cater to the 1%.

Having said that, i don't believe your post was wrong at all.

ProudTxBlue
ProudTxBlue

Proof that intelligence and charisma are democratic things.  Way to go!

Sardonic_Soul
Sardonic_Soul

And horndog!  Don't forget horndog!!!  That's a democratic thing too!  Watching Bill smile all I could think of was "Monica, how did you get THERE?"

sacredh
sacredh

Here's another difference between the democrats and republicans this year. We're PROUD of our candidates. We may not agree with them on everything, but we feel they've got our backs. They want to take us along on the ride, not ride us like the republicans do.

MrObvious
MrObvious

At least when dems screws me over they're nice enough to reach around. All I get from GOP is 'take it' and 'squeel like a pig'.

sacredh
sacredh

Come all ye faithful!

ERenger
ERenger

"At least when dems screws me over they're nice enough to reach around."

-------------

We're all in this togehter! 

ERenger
ERenger

"They want to take us along on the ride, not ride us like the republicans do."

---------

Please, God, if I ever end up being ridden by a Republican, do not let it be Christie. 

sacredh
sacredh

Ridden by Christie? BrokeBackErenger.

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

Kinda like the joke about how fast two guys have to run to get away from a hungry bear...

A little faster than the other guy.

ERenger
ERenger

MO, ever been chased by an elephant seal in rut? Very frightening! 

sacredh
sacredh

The difference between the GOP and democratic conventions is like the difference between paying the same price to see a tribute band or the real thing.

Sardonic_Soul
Sardonic_Soul

Yes, and the Democrats never quite get the tribute right!!!!  Maybe with more practice they can be "the real thing??"  Barry's an amateur after all.  Perhaps in a few more years?

MrObvious
MrObvious

I think the real point is that the dems can articulate peoples real frustration and a clear policy differense instead of the type of nonsensical soundbites GOP rely on.

For GOP it's tax cuts, God, restrict rights, lots about freedom and liberty without defining what it really is and then the refusal how they will accomplish these many magical shiny objects.

Clinton perfectly well demolished the lies and restructed the points of pain and laid out what has to happen going forward.

But will media be smart enough to let the message get out or will this be another pundit fest of he she said?

sacredh
sacredh

Clinton to GOP: Make my day punks.

Sardonic_Soul
Sardonic_Soul

GOP to Clinton "You feeling LUCKY?  You're shooting with blanks, dude."

theoldkathy
theoldkathy

The Republicans in their response to this convention, and to some extent in their own convention itself, sound angry, bitter, and  shriveled.  This is partly because they're the out party, but it's the sort of thing that makes you want to look away, and is not likely to attract  independent voters.

By contrast, it's the Democrats who sound joyful and optimistic, even while they're taking apart the Republicans with a chuckle. 

Sardonic_Soul
Sardonic_Soul

Did you notice the joyful drooling in the front row?  That wasn't an arena, it was an insane asylum and Bill was delivering the nightly dose of dream drugs.

sacredh
sacredh

Did you notice all of the huge sections of the convention that were devoid of minorities? I didn't either. It looked alot like the "Real America". Not just slogan stuff, how America really looks.

Sardonic_Soul
Sardonic_Soul

That's the "real" America all right!  Minorities with their hands out demanding their entitlements from the "other side."  Sooner or later you run out of "other side's money" -- what then?  

HebertMathew
HebertMathew

my co-worker's sister-in-law makes $60 an hour on the internet. She has been fired for 6 months but last month her pay check was $15365 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site CashLazy.*com(remove the *)

HebertMathew
HebertMathew

$14593 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here

­ C­ashLazy.­com

HebertMathew
HebertMathew

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­ C­ashLazy.­com

HebertMathew
HebertMathew

my co-worker's half-sister makes $78 every hour on the laptop. She has been laid off for seven months but last month her pay was ­ C­ashLazy.­com

HebertMathew
HebertMathew

like Charles explained I cannot believe that a mom able to earn $5413 in a few weeks on the internet. have you seen this website

HebertMathew
HebertMathew

my co-worker's half-sister makes $78 every hour on the laptop. She has been laid off for seven months but last month her pay was

HebertMathew
HebertMathew

my neighbor's mother-in-law makes $83 every hour on the computer. She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her pay check was

$❷❶❷❸❷

just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site

HebertMathew
HebertMathew

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HebertMathew
HebertMathew

my co-worker's aunt makes $81/hr on the laptop. She has been laid off for 10 months but last month her payment was($19620) just working on the laptop for a few hours.

HebertMathew
HebertMathew

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HebertMathew
HebertMathew

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HebertMathew
HebertMathew

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Sardonic_Soul
Sardonic_Soul

That's right it was the real America.  Charlotte is housing the homeless in that Arena.  It was filled to the brim.