Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Big Dog Crushed It

8 years ago, Bill Clinton gave the world the impression that he liked Barack Obama very much. Last night, he gave the world the impression that he likes his wife very much -- and who knows, this time it might actually be true. I'm not under the impression that the impression we get on TV from movie stars and politicians is necessarily accurate. Part of the reason I don't believe we actually get to know these people through the tube is that I've actually met a few movie stars and politicians, and the actual person I met was always a surprise. Instead of continuing the imaginary relationship we formed with a celebrity on TV, meeting one of them has always meant that things went off on a tangent, sometimes a pleasant tangent and sometimes an unpleasant one. But I never judge someone I've known for half a minute if it's an unpleasant half-minute, because anybody can have a bad day, even if I've had a long imaginary relationship with them because they've been on my favorite sitcom for years.

Over the past 8 years, the public has gotten a few strong hints that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are not, in fact, close personal friends. As far as how Bill and Hillary get along, I'm not even going to guess.

And the main reason I'm not going to guess is because I don't feel it's any of my business, or yours, unless you happen to be Bill or Hillary or maybe as many as 2 or 3 other people. But politics is everybody's business, and Bill's speeches 8 years ago and last night were politics. I don't care if that big hug between Bill and Barack on the convention stage 8 years ago was bullshit in terms of their personal relationship: politically, it was very important, and politics is more important than the personal stuff. 8 years ago, the Big Dog gave a very effective speech for a very highly-qualified Presidential candidate, and last night he did it again. Hillary's abilities and qualifications are our business. The lack of substance of the charges constantly hurled at her from the Right is definitely our business. I admit, I was kind of caught up in Bill's depiction of some of the aspects of his private life with Hillary. I'm not immune to his speaking skills, I'm not made of stone. But the important thing about that drama is how Bill used it to deliver a long, detailed, fact-checkable list of his wife's remarkable political achievements, and then asked -- the link is a full transcript of Bill's speech:

How did this square with the things that you heard at the Republican convention? What's the difference in what I told you and what they said? How do you square it? You can't. One is real, the other is made up.

You just have to decide. You just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans.

I like that. I like it very much. How do you get people to behave more intelligently? You remind them that they can.

We'll never really know for sure how accurate Bill's charming portrayal of his private life with Hillary was -- and, again, it's none of our business. But the highlights of Hillary's resume about which Bill spoke -- drugs for AIDS patients in Africa, the sanctions against Iran's nuclear program, the upgrades in battlefield equipment for US military personnel, legislation for adoptions of foster children, the decades' worth of fighting for greater access to health care, etc, etc -- these were the highlights of Bill's speech. Hillary's political qualifications. And as voters, those are the things which are our business, and the reasons you should watch or read Bill's entire speech if you haven't already, and re-watch it or re-read it if you have. Don't worry, there's plenty of adorable private stuff to liven it up, like how Bill supposedly was too shy to speak to her when he first saw her on the campus of Yale in 1971, and just followed her around like a helpless puppy until she finally came up to him and introduced herself: "Look, if you're going to keep staring at me, and now I'm staring back, we at least ought to know each other's name. I'm Hillary Rodham, who are you?"

Awwwww... Was the Big Dog really such a helpless little puppy back in 1971?

Once again: I don't care.


  1. Great post - I really liked his speech too, not sure why it isn't getting the same attention - and described as rambling. I thought it was great - and full of specifics.

    1. Maybe the 2008 speech was more of a surprise, and set the bar very high. And of course there are those who dislike the Clintons for irrational reasons, and will diss or ignore things they've done well.