Baratunde Thurston, Writer, Comedian, WNYC Special Correspondent
Baratunde Thurston is the author of the book How to Be Black, former digital director of The Onion, and founder of baratunde.com
Day one at the DNC was full of stellar speeches and a crowd ready to be inspired: Cory Booker, Lily Ledbetter, Michelle Obama! I wondered how the DNC programmers could possibly top that opening, and it turns out that for most of tonight, they could not. But none of that mattered because former President Bill Clinton delivered. Having your party's former president officially nominate the candidate is a powerful move. It reminds me of George W. Bush's amazing endorsement of Mitt Romney last week in Tampa. Oh right, that didn't happen.
All you have to do to excite a democratic crowd is display a screen with the year 1992 emblazoned on it. That was the signal that Bill Clinton was about to appear. It was also a reminder of a better time with a stronger economy and more creative hairstyles.
Then, Clinton took the audience, the viewing public and the Republicans to school. As so many speakers have done this week, he reminded us of how dire the country's conditions were when Obama took office and listed the current administration's accomplishments. Summarizing the Republican portrayal of President Obama, Clinton said, "We left [President Obama] a total mess, but he hasn't cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in."
I witnessed the speech from the convention floor, pressed against others standing right in the center. To my right, a Clinton fanboy got increasingly animated throughout the night, describing the former president's speech as "Beautiful. It's like he's painting." He later moved on to barking, "Bill! Bill! Bill!" In the end his repetition of "Oh my God, yes, yes!" started to make me think he was getting a lot more out of the speech than the rest of us, and I inched my way away from him.
My favorite moments came when Clinton pointed out in simple terms how audacious and deceptive GOP Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan had been last week when he accused President Obama of stealing from Medicare and weakening the welfare work requirement. This is what I tweeted in that moment.
Clinton takes Paul Ryan out to the yard, rubs his nose in [redacted], smacks him with newspaper #dnc2012— Baratunde (@baratunde) September 6, 2012
And of course, the closing moment simply won. Twenty three minutes after the supposed end time of 11pm ET, when Clinton finished and president Obama joined him, I tweeted this:
Obama joins Clinton on stage. Crowd loses remaining [redacted]. RNC looks like a tech rehearsal by comparison #dnc2012— Baratunde (@baratunde) September 6, 2012
Nothing else really needs to be said.