QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 9:21 A.M. ET: The buzz is about Bill Clinton and his rousing speech last night, a speech that overshadowed the rest of the convention. Michael Gerson, of the Washington Post, once a speechwriter for George W. Bush, assesses:
...Bill Clinton possesses better political judgment than any of his Democratic peers, and it was on full display in his convention speech. Instead of suiting up in the culture war, Clinton pitched his message to employment-focused independents. He sympathized with public anger and frustration, but claimed that Obama has “laid the foundations for… shared prosperity.” Clinton identified Democratic ideology with “free enterprise” and “individual initiative” and “advancing economic opportunity and economic empowerment.” He praised past Republican presidents for their achievements and assured Americans that democracy doesn’t “need to be a blood sport.” Clinton explained Obama’s own policies better than the president has ever done. He defended Obama from Republican attacks with humor and skill. And Clinton imputed to Obama a belief in “constructive cooperation” which the president has rarely shown. In fact, many of Clinton’s items of praise for Obama seemed more like praise for Clinton’s earlier self.
Yeah, and that's the problem. Obama ain't big Bill.
From the earliest days of his administration, Obama lacked ideological creativity. He almost immediately polarized the country with a deeply partisan health care proposal – passed on a party line vote, then repudiated in the 2010 midterm election. Obama’s Keynesianism is typical, tired, ineffective and expensive. More recently, he has attempted to shore up his base by embracing liberal cultural issues – an appeal accurately reflected on Tuesday night.
There is nothing Clintonian about Obama’s governing approach, which more closely resembles Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis if they had ridden to office on the wave of a financial crisis. Obama is an utterly conventional ideological figure. Clinton was anything but.
COMMENT: Very well said. Look, the real base of the Democratic Party is left wing. It isn't even liberal any longer. It is George McGovern, Not Jack Kennedy. It is Jesse Jackson, not Martin Luther King Jr. It is Jimmy Carter, not Bill Clinton. It is Barack, come to save us.
As we've said before, Jack Kennedy couldn't get the nomination of this party today, and Harry Truman wouldn't be allowed in. I'd guess that most of the delegates have only a vague knowledge of FDR.
But will Americans understand what the new Democratic Party is on election day? The press filter will make that very difficult. But the country's future may depend on it.
September 6, 2012