By Dave Andrusko
Pro-abortion former President Bill Clinton lifted a second day Democratic National Convention out of lethargy and chaos with a stirring defense of pro-abortion President Barack Obama. In a nearly hour long speech in which he formally nominated Obama for a second term, the only criticism he did not attempt to rebut was that Obama spends too much time on the golf course.
Hours after controversy swirled over efforts to return God to the party platform (successful) and a ham-handed, pity-me speech by activist Sandra Fluke (unsuccessful), Clinton entered the hall to the familiar sounds of his 1992 anthem Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop (Thinking about Tomorrow).” In fact, last night’s speech was all about thinking about yesterday.
Clinton, whose approval rating has been measured at 69%, argued that no President—by modest implication, even himself–could have done a better job managing the economy Obama inherited.
In that sense, the speeches of Clinton and Michelle Obama were bookend defenses of the beleaguered Obama, who own approval rating among registered voters in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll was a meager 47%. Both argued Obama’s stewardship is better than it appears to an increasingly skeptical American public with Mrs. Obama asking the electorate to understand her husband’s heart and Clinton insisting that Obama has done the best possible job with the hand he was dealt.
Clinton did not address the abortion component of ObamaCare.” Instead, he asked rhetorically, “So are we all better off because President Obama fought for (ObamaCare) and passed it? You bet we are.” Nor did he mention the highly offensive Obama mandate that religious institutions and individuals of conscience pay for health insurance plans that cover medical procedures and drugs contrary to their religious beliefs and consciences.
Nor did the former President even allude to the flap over the platform’s omission of God (see “Controversies from Day Two at the Democratic National Convention”), nor the change first instituted in the 2008 platform in which his own cleverly disguised formulation—supposedly making abortion “safe, legal and rare”—had been shorn of “rare.”
Instead he unveiled a technique familiar to all who’ve watched him operate: he piled on one questionable “fact” after another, plying his keenly-receptive audience with a blizzard of numbers and questionable assertions (the fact checkers will be busy for the next week), punctuating his comments with the admonition to “listen to me now.”
In essence Clinton adopted the role of protective big brother to Obama: trust him because you because trust me and I trust him, Clinton argued. Thus, in addition to attempting to shore up wavering Democrats, Clinton (unlike virtually every other speakers), in many places, reached out to those who are not already Obama supporters.
That was at odds with Clinton’s task of demonizing Obama’s Republican opposition (including pro-life Mitt Romney). However unfairly, he did so cleverly. Having rhetorically extended the hand of peace–“After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes”—he harshly attacked the “far right” that supposedly controls the Republican Party.
In that vein, perhaps the most dishonest implication was that Obama was, in effect, too good, too nice for his Republican opponents. But as the Associated Press pointed out this morning
“But when former President Bill Clinton took the stage at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, he portrayed President Barack Obama as a pragmatic compromiser who has been stymied at every turn by Republicans. There was no mention of the role that the president and the Democrats have played in grinding compromise to a halt on some of the most important issues facing the country.”
Tonight President Obama gets to make his own case for his re-election. We will post a first response story after his speech.
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