One of the ironies of Bill Clinton's rousing oratory to the Democratic convention last night was the song played as he waved to the crowd before his speech kept repeating the strains, "yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone" from Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop.
The song was used as the theme song of Clinton's first presidential campaign, but is now a reminder of the relevance of his presidency to Obama's.
Yesterday is gone and Bill Clinton is yesterday's man. Clinton is a great speaker and a President fondly remembered as governing during one of America's strongest economies in a period that reaped the benefits of Ronald Reagan's victory but had not yet suffered the travails of 9-11. It's sometimes thought that one of the reasons Al Gore lost to George W Bush was because Clinton was kept under wraps during the Gore presidential campaign. Whether it was because the former Vice President did not want to be outshone by his old boss, or the wounds from the Monica Lewinsky scandal were too fresh, it turned out to be a big mistake. Al Gore's stiff personality, without the boost from the personable, warm Clinton kept him from getting into the big chair in the Oval Office.
Barack Obama knows better and Clinton turned in a typical Clinton performance, eloquent, intelligent, emotionally stirring, and about twenty-five minutes too long to hold everyone's complete attention.
|The former President's heart seemed strangely not entirely in his performance. Probably because he didn't believe all of his finely crafted speech. At one point, Clinton said, "though I often disagreed with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far-right, that now controls their party, seems to hate our President."
If that level of anger is mystifying to Clinton, perhaps we wan't paying any attention to what Democrats were saying in the eight years after he left office. The hatred and invective by them, that still continues, against George W. Bush is staggering by any standard. Leftist Democrats continue to utter Bush's name as if it were a swear word.
But one doesn't listen to Slick Willie for 100% accuracy, one listens to him to hear a good talk. He may have re-written the history of his own presidency through the lens of nostalgia and Obama's through salesmanship, but in the speechifying department, he certainly delivered the goods.