Notes on Bill Clinton’s DNC speech:
1) Strange that Bill Clinton speaks the same night as Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown. Clinton made his national political career appealing to disaffected middle class whites — especially the so-called Reagan Democrats — in part with tough-on-crime policies. Now he speaks to a convention peppered with activists who despise his crime bill and ennoble a man shot after he tried to grab a cop’s gun. White working class voters are fleeing to Trump and the party of Clinton’s wife doesn’t seem to care much.
2) The introductory film on Bill doesn’t highlight the 1996 welfare reform bill. That seems a miscalculation. The people in the hall would hate it, but Dems are trying to appeal to people outside the hall, where I suspect welfare reform remains popular, and not just because many single moms improved their lot.
3) OK. I forgot. Bill’s charming and sensible! I’d probably vote for him again. But he’s not running.
4) He also looks terrific, laying to rest for now the rumors that he’s in failing health.
5) “In good times and bad, through joy and heartbreak …” Guess he’s not going to apologize for all he put Hillary through.
6) The key part of the Clinton education plan in Arkansas — teacher competency testing — was added by Bill, not Hillary, if I remember right.
7) Glosses over the crushing failure of Hillary’s health plan, and Hillary’s role the single biggest mistake of Bill’s first term (his failure to pull the plug on Hillarycare and shift to passing a welfare reform bill so Dems would not lose Congress in the 1994 mid-terms).
8) Love the Tom DeLay outreach.
9) Did anything else happen between the demise of Hillarycare in 1994 and 9/11, other than the passage of the “SCHIP” plan to give kids Medicaid? Guess not! It was so long ago. At this point, what difference does it make?
10) Hillary did a lot of changemaking in Libya. Was hoping for some discussion of this.
11) Here’s a very odd passage:
And so I say to you, if you love this country, you’re working hard, you’re paying taxes and you’re obeying the law and you’d like to become a citizen, you should choose immigration reform over somebody that wants to send you back.
Did I miss something? Do people who’d only “like to become a citizen” — i.e. who aren’t citizens — get to vote and choose what kind of immigration reform we’re going to have?
12) The paragraph devoted to “disillusioned” African Americans (e.g. Black Lives Matter) is framed as pro-police. Now that‘s the old Bill Clinton.
OVERALL: Bill is so good at this he may well overshadow anything Hillary says. He also cherry-picked the good parts of his wife’s career, languishing in the early years of promise, fast-forwarding through the rest and completely failing to address the obvious problems (including cattle futures, the Rose law firm billing records, the Russian “reset,” the Libyan mistake, etc.).
That’s not what my old boss, Charlie Peters, would call “playing Notre Dame.” And it’s why Bill’s re-re-re-introduction of his wife wasn’t as effective as it needed to be.