Bill Clinton gave the speech officially putting Barack Obama's name into nomination for the Presidency. Judging from the initial reaction to the speech, a host of observers experienced something akin that that "leg tingle" Chris Matthews described in the early days of Obamamania. Although full of rhetoric, it was empty on reality.
Clinton opened with more allusions to Obama's personal adversity that he implicitly linked to the adversity faced by Americans in our tough economic times. Obama, too, feels our pain.
"I want to nominate a man whose own life has known its fair share of adversity and uncertainty.
He made the first of several counterfactual arguments, unsupported by any evidence, of what might have happened if not for Obama.
"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."
He offered up the obligatory charge that the uncompromising spirit of the Tea Party has made things even more difficult for Obama to do even more.
"Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn't see it that way. They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness."
Aside from Obama's unwillingness to compromise or even seek input from the Republicans, the time for compromise has passed. A couple of decades of compromises between the Social Democrat and Republican members of the political class is exactly what got us into the current situation.
He attacked and mocked the Republican message given in Tampa:
"In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President's re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn't cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.
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."
Then he went through a list of Obama accomplishments:
Health care overhaul.
College loan bailout.
Some critics have described the Clinton's speech as an attempt to tie the Obama administration to the success of the Clinton years. But Clinton's list of so-called accomplishments sounds like he is arguing for another term for Bush. After all, hasn't Obama I pretty much been Bush III?
Yes. Yes. Yes. We know Obama inherited a mess. As suggested above, however, it was inherited only in the sense that George Bush happened to sit in the White House at the time of the collapse. The failure was a "team effort" of both Republicans and Social Democrats--including the financial deregulation that took place under YOUR administration.
He closed on the same note as all other speakers of both conventions--the future.
"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 honor – to form a more perfect union."
But that is a problem. We always come back stronger, but so does the government. It grows exponentially through crises: Civil War, WWI, Great Depression, WWII, Cold War, the 2008 Wall Street collapse, and the imaginary health care crisis.
And after the crises pass, government never returns to previous levels.