Bill Clinton got rave reviews for his speech last night. Five-minute standing ovation! He looked so fucking thrilled to be there. Chuck Todd and Keith Olbermann loved it! If you listen to the pundits, Bill basically rehabilitated his entire miserable public image in one nice speech. Here's avowed Clinton-hater Andrew Sullivan:
Tonight, I think, was one of the best speeches he has ever given. It was a direct, personal and powerful endorsement of Obama. But much, much more than that: it was a statesman-like assessment of where this country is and how desperately it needs a real change toward reform and retrenchment at home and restoration of diplomacy, wisdom and prudence abroad.
Way to go Bill, for lowering the expectations so much (just the other day he was giving more terrible ill-advised quotes) that the sudden reappearance of President Clinton the Master Speaker was an amazing flashback. Remember when our President spoke like this? Christ. Even Peggy Noonan—who's been hating Bill and Hillary for years!—was impressed:
This was Deft Political Pro Bill doing what no one had been able to do up to this point at the convention, and that is make the case for Barack Obama. He lambasted the foe, asserted Obama's growth on the trail, argued that he was the right man for the job and did that as a man who once held that job and is remembered, at least in terms of domestic policy and at least by half the country, as having done it pretty darn well. He gave his full imprimatur to a crowd that believes he has an imprimatur to give. As Clinton spoke a friend IM'd, "What is this, the Clinton convention?" The fact is, until both Clintons spoke, it was. Now oddly enough it isn't. Now eyes turn, and finally, to Obama. This was one of the great tee-ups.
And, you know, the speech was generous and good and amazingly well-delivered. But two nights of Clintons? It is the Clinton convention, bookmarked by the Obamas only on the first and last days. Which can go either way—if it makes audiences fondly remember the happy 1990s, when Democrats ran things fairly well and we all bought things from Pets.com while listening to that "Da da da" song in our VWs, than yes, brilliant work, Obama's a sure thing. But if it just reminds people of the Clintons, with all their strengths and baggage, then that does absolutely nothing to help Obama get elected. Bill did good. Really good. And now it will be like three days until he says something insane and undermining about Obama again. (Which is maybe another positive for Obama! Angry red-faced Bill just makes Barack Obama look fresh and good in comparison. Who knows, it's all just pissing in the winds of public opinion.) Here's the speech! Click to view