Let's assume Bill Clinton gave a rousing speech at the Democratic Convention. I don't believe he did, but the talking heads on the cable stations keep trying to tell me otherwise. Timing out at just short of an HBO miniseries, the speech was one long stuttering, meandering, hypothesizing, self-aggrandizing, rambling mess that only Chris Matthews could love. It kept going and going and going until even the Energizer Bunny must have felt like committing suicide.
Mercifully, most Americans changed the channel and watched the NFL Kickoff between the Cowboys and Giants, which means they most certainly missed the Patriots vs. Fauxcahontas, as Elizabeth Warren reminded us why charisma matters in a candidate.
Michelle Obama's speech the previous night grated on my last nerve given the over-the-top rhetoric, but at least it was well-crafted. It would have made a great testimonial except that it made actual testimonials of people who have accepted Christ as their Savior seem small by comparison. And Barack has enough image problems without being compared to the Messiah.
But Clinton's speech, with its faint praise and convoluted excuses for Obama's presidential challenges, couldn't have been effective even if it was the smashing success Washington insiders and media elites claim it to be. Why? Because it wasn't going to move independents to Obama, and that's the point at this point in the game.
We are down to just a handful of undecided voters, six to eight percent really, who have yet to make up their minds in this election. So appealing to them is crucial. And when a cheater who was impeached for lying under oath steps in as your character witness, you know your campaign is in trouble.
As it turns out, Clinton presents a Catch-22 for independents. Either they liked him and miss him or they recall his extracurricular activities, Monica, the blue dress, the big lie, etc. For those in the latter group, Slick Willie was just that, and he lacks the credibility to sell Obama's policies. For those in the former group, Bill Clinton is nostalgia for the economic heyday of the 90s when deficits were one trillion dollars less and Congress actually came together and passed laws. Standing next to each other, our current president is found wanting. Clinton reminds us of all Obama's faults and failures.
Alex Castellanos, a GOP "strategist" who spends most of his time on CNN gushing over Democrats, claimed Clinton's speech by itself was strong enough to "re-elect Obama." I won't ask what medication Mr. Castellanos is on or which winning conservative politician he's given advice to recently, but I will point out the flaw in his analysis.
"Bill Clinton saved the Democratic Party once, it was going too far left, he came in, and the new Democrats took it to the center," Alex summarized. "He did it again tonight."
I disagree. What Bill Clinton actually did was remind independent voters that the Democratic Party has gone too far left, that we don't have a centrist in the White House. Obama's campaign slogan is "Forward" but the Clinton years are "Backwards." And backwards in the Democratic Party sounds a lot saner than forward, where fights break out over honoring God on the convention floor.
The Democrats put Bill Clinton on stage as a measuring stick Wednesday night and proved Obama doesn't measure up.