DNC Dispatch: Bill Clinton Shows Dems How It's Done

Thursday, September 06, 2012 - 12:57 AM

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.


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:

Nothing else really needs to be said.


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Comments [10]

Marcy Sheiner from

OMG your reporting on the speech is almost as good as the speech itself! I've got a link on my blog if you want to visit.

Sep. 06 2012 04:52 PM
Boyd Brain from East Toidy Toid and Toid Street, Manhattan

OMG!!! These posts are soooooo funny!!!!!! It's such relevant and substantive satire. You are sooooooo funny Baratunde!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sep. 06 2012 01:45 PM
Herb from NYC

EllieBelle & Josh,

Please understand that $ to Israel are spent in USA. If the USA would earn the same return on our $ given to the enemies of USA We would decrease our deficit dramatically. Isreal is our military base in the part of the world that lusts for our demise. Please look into the USA / Israel relationship. they are our best friends. We get intelligence from them that save lives & $. Please take the time you will pleasantly surprised.

Sep. 06 2012 01:11 PM

I don't know Baratunde, I think you have some really good observations but you pander to primal human instincts with your reliance on crude basest humor. If you want to be funny, be funny but you can be funny without being juvenile.

Also, I don't think you'd tire of hearing "being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condiion" if you were a woman who had been victimized by health insurers simply because of your sex.

Sep. 06 2012 11:58 AM

Great summary, Baratunde Thurston.

Sep. 06 2012 11:40 AM

@ herb from NYC

I wish the USA would stop spending so much of my tax money on Israel. It should focus on this country first and foremost. You can go ahead and spend your earned money on another country. I'd prefer spending mine here. It's bad enough the amount that is already being spent on that country.

Sep. 06 2012 11:23 AM
Josh from NYC

@Herb from NYC: How about we stop worrying about Israel because, when push-comes-to-shove, Israel can stand up for itself (see Israel's not-so-secret nuclear cache). I want my U.S. Government (and my taxes) to start staying home here and creating better roads, schools, green-energy, health care, etc. We can lead the world by providing an example of how to do things better HERE and stop trying to prop up and take down other governments through military intervention. In case you haven't noticed, our own country has worse health care than Israel. Our own country feels more like a third-world feifdom. Do you really think either Dem or Repub candidate is going to veer sharply from the status quo on Israel? Nothing changes over there and nothing ever will.

Sep. 06 2012 10:55 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

WJC sure knows how to take the country from "meh..." to "Yeah!". If he were running the Democrats campaign, I'd feel that victory in November is more likely and the future of the country is more secure.

Instead, I'm about to watch billions of dollars get spent in lies and misrepresentations so that the mugging of the middle class can continue...If all we do is place BHO at the top of a divided Congress that blocks actions to fix things, what are we really doing?

Sep. 06 2012 10:50 AM
herb from NYC

President Obama wants Israel the go back to the 1967 borders. That would make Israel 10 to 15 miles wide. President Obama policies have brought the Moslem Brotherhood right up to the current border. Every neighbor of Israel is determined to destroy the Jewish state ( See Travis below). President Obama also did not assist the Iranian people during their failed attempt to overthrow the Iranian govt.. Insisting on sanctions that are having devastating impact on the Iranian people but are not slowing the Iran's progress in becoming a nuclear power. Even the UN acknowledge the progress. WHERE IS PRESIDENT OBAMA ACTIONS?

Sep. 06 2012 10:29 AM
Ian in Brooklyn from Brooklyn

Was I the only one during President Clintons speech notice that the networks recklessly zoomed into the womans Medicade card and showed her personal information for the world to see?

Sep. 06 2012 10:15 AM

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