I don’t understand politics but I love President Barack Obama because he is a wonderful writer and speaker who really looks good when he smiles and is absolutely wicked when he quips. Cool and smart, that’s Obama. But the president I like most of all? Bill Clinton.
Maybe it has something to do with age and generation – The Who’s My Generation still gets me rocking on my feet – but Clinton’s my man, Clinton’s the boss for me.
No offence to the Boss, who sang with Pete Seeger at Obama’s inaugural, but that dawn of Hope and Change came and went four years ago and Obama is locked in a re-election race that threatens to be a lot closer than the cakewalk he had against Senator John McCain back then. The Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney tied at 46.8 per cent of the vote each, though Obama has a substantial lead in electoral college votes (221 to 191).
Obama now needs Clinton’s support, according to political pundits, and he got it at the Democratic national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. See fans applauding Clinton (2.08).
Michelle Obama spoke just as well at Charlotte as Ann Romney at the Republican national convention at Tampa, Florida, last week and Obama is sure to deliver a great speech. No one flies higher in soaring rhetoric than he.
But Clinton can speak the language of the common man. Just look at the opening of his speech:
We’re here to nominate a President, and I’ve got one in mind.
I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty. A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.
I want to nominate a man cool on the outside but burning for America on the inside. A man who believes we can build a new American Dream economy driven by innovation and creativity, education and cooperation. A man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.
With that he brought the house down. See the video (2.31).
He even managed to put in a good word for his wife, Hillary, who some say may be a presidential contender again in 2016, while praising Obama as a unifier:
One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation. He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation. He appointed a Vice President who ran against him in 2008, and trusted him to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. And Joe Biden did a great job with both. He appointed Cabinet members who supported Hillary in the primaries. Heck, he even appointed Hillary! I’m so proud of her and grateful to our entire national security team for all they’ve done to make us safer and stronger and to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies.
Clinton’s clever. Look at the way he praised Obama — “Heck, he even appointed Hillary!” — and then praised his wife for doing a good job as secretary of state: “I am so proud of her…”
Mitt Romney at the Republican national convention asked Americans if they were better off now than four years ago.
Look at the absolute conviction with which Clinton answered that question:
I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. 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 modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators.
Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month. The answer is YES.
I understand the challenge we face. I know many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy. Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don’t feel it.
I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet. By 1996, the economy was roaring, halfway through the longest peacetime expansion in American history.
President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.
Obama’s re-election could boost the economy, he meant.
He saved the best for the last:
My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in. If you want a you’re on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a “we’re all in it together” society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. If you want every American to vote and you think it’s wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters, you should support Barack Obama. If you think the President was right to open the doors of American opportunity to young immigrants brought here as children who want to go to college or serve in the military, you should vote for Barack Obama. If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama.
The next par gave me goosebumps.
I love our country – and I know we’re coming back. For more than 200 years, through every crisis, we’ve always come out stronger than we went in. And we will again as long as we do it together. We champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honour – to form a more perfect union.
And then came the closure:
If that’s what you believe, if that’s what you want, we have to re-elect President Barack Obama.
God Bless You – God Bless America.
Here’s the full text of Bill Clinton’s speech.