Republicans may not like to be reminded, but after all the energy they spent trying to take down Bill Clinton, he left office with spectacular approval ratings. In the final Gallup poll of his presidency, he was at 66 percent approval, which was around where he had been for most of the final three years of his presidency. For comparison, Ronald Reagan, whom many people mistakenly believe was a uniquely popular president, spent his last couple of years with approval ratings around 50 percent (though he got a spike to 63 percent in Gallup’s last poll before he left office). And perhaps most importantly, George W. Bush spent his entire second term in negative approval territory, and when he left office his approval was in the twenties.
The reason that’s important is that there are really only two former presidents people remember these days in anything that approaches a substantive, detailed way. One of them is remembered as a smashing success, and one of them is remembered as an epic failure. So saying to voters, “Do you want things to be like they were when Bill Clinton was president, or like they were when George W. Bush was president?” may not decide the election, but it’s a powerful argument. It’s no wonder Dubya’s name was barely mentioned at the Republican convention.
— America Loves Bill Clinton (And they really didn’t like the last Republican president)
Political Wire has reactions to Bill Clinton’s speech at the convention last night — all positive:
Bill Clinton gave an extraordinary speech at the Democratic National Convention last night.
Andrew Sullivan: “I never liked Clinton but it is now pure churlishness to cavil at his remarkable skills. He is able to reach middle class voters with clear argument, grasp of detail and narration of history that very few others can. If Obama has said that his main failing in this campaign is that he hasn’t told the story of the past few years well enough, then it is surely fitting that it was the husband of his former rival and former president Bill Clinton who finally told that story.”
Howard Kurtz: “Whether out of conviction or political convenience, Clinton demonstrated anew a skill that Obama barely possesses, to translate complex policy arguments into simple human terms. And his starpower also guaranteed maximum media attention on the evening after Michelle Obama drew praise for her highly personal speech.”
Chris Cillizza: “He was the explainer-in-chief without seeming too preachy. He was full of Southern aphorisms without being hokey. And, perhaps most importantly of all, Clinton was quite clearly having a very good time — and he let it show. He adlibbed. He played with the crowd. He smiled and laughed. And, yes, he went on a little too long. But, if you are a student of campaign politics — like we are — what you watched tonight was the work of someone with massive natural ability in the political arena.”
And some reactions collected by Andrew Sullivan:
Matt Latimer: Here’s why I think Bill Clinton’s speech was successful. For all of his tortured arguments and wonky, ponderous asides, Bill Clinton made a substantive case. He dealt with facts and statistics. He made points and then explained why he made them. He had details. Boy, did he have details. In short, he did what almost no one at the Republican convention tried to do, what few conventions bother to do anymore. He treated the American people like thinking human beings.
Daniel Larison: [H]e gave the sort of speech that Ryanmaniacs might have once imagined that Ryan would deliver and the sort that some Romney supporters still imagine Romney is capable of giving. Romney-Ryan was supposed to be the presidential ticket of the “data-driven” manager and his budget wonk sidekick, and between the absence of any significant policy discussion last week and what happened tonight that has lost all credibility.
Alex Castellanos claims the Clinton speech “will be the moment that probably reelected Barack Obama.”
Noah Millman: [W]hat I’m most impressed by is that Clinton really did seem like the elder statesman of the party. He’s replaced Ted Kennedy. This speech was “about him” only in the sense that you could never forget who was giving the speech. Clinton himself never became a distraction.
Jonathan Cohn pinpoints Clinton’s strongest arguments: You can take real issue with Clinton’s claim that Obama did all that he could to create jobs. You can’t really argue that Romney, who’s never put forward a plan for short-term job growth, would do more. You can quibble with Clinton’s suggestion that Obama has focused enough on the deficit. You can’t really suggest Romney, whose own budget plan is the stuff of fantasy, is more serious about it. You can disagree with Clinton’s argument that Obama has reached across the aisle. You can’t suggest, with a straight face, that Romney and the Republicans ever had the slightest interest in compromise.
Bill Clinton makes the case for re-electing Barack Obama — via: Daily Beast, part 5 — ‘I Love Our Country So Much’:
Why vote for Barack Obama? Clinton really drilled it in during his last few minutes (as the TV producers breathed a sigh of relief). “If you want every American to vote and you think it is wrong to change voting procedures just to reduce the turnout of younger, poorer, minority and disabled voters—you should support Barack Obama.” The audience, at this point, was barely containable. “I love our country so much,” Clinton continued. “People have predicted our demise ever since George Washington was criticized for being a mediocre surveyor with a bad set of wooden false teeth.” But betting against America has never been wise, he said. “We decide to champion the cause for which our founders pledged their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor — the cause of forming a more perfect union,” Clinton yelled in a triumphant finish. “My fellow Americans, if that is what you want, if that is what you believe, you must vote and you must re-elect President Barack Obama.” And as the audience jumped out of their seats, Obama came onto the stage to hug his most important supporter and close the second night of the Democratic National Convention.
*and the crowd went wild*
A Smart Politics review finds that Michelle Obama’s 2012 speech to the Democratic convention was written at the highest ever grade level for spouses of presidential candidates and seven grade levels above Ann Romney’s Republican convention remarks, as measured by the Flesch-Kincaid readability test. (via: Political Wire)
The First Lady’s speech was seven grade levels above Ann Romney’s speech? Exactly how dumb does Lady Romney think you people are?
This story is getting better and better! The countdown begins: 22 days. Surely Romney / the billionaires will pay a measly $1 million to keep his secret tax returns secret. After all Romney has spent way more than that in personal credibility by refusing to release this usually common information already. From The Tennessean:
The Williamson County Republican Party this morning notified police about a package received last week that claims to include copies of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s tax returns hacked from an accounting office in Franklin.
A letter in the package corresponds to an incredible claim posted anonymously on a website popular among computer hackers that boasts of having downloaded copies of the tax returns obtained by hacking into systems via PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Franklin office. Whoever is behind the message is threatening to release the filings by the end of the month unless they receive $1 million.
For the same price, someone interested in seeing the returns made public could guarantee that action, according to the letter. Whomever pays first, wins.
[...] Kevin Kookogey, chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party, said his office had not attempted to access the flash drive.
Meanwhile, the Williamson County Democratic Party said they found a similar package at their office Thursday. “Somebody pushed it through the mail slot in the door,” said Gary Moore, a spokesperson for the organization.
Moore initially characterized the alleged scheme as “preposterous,” but said that because a duplicate package was left with the Republican office there may be something amiss.
Oh, please, may something really be amiss!
CNN: The Secret Service said it is investigating, and the company said there is no immediate sign that any such theft took place.
“Using your office” in Franklin, Tennessee, the group tells PricewaterhouseCoopers in an online posting, “we were able to gain access to your network file servers and copy over the tax documents for one Willard M Romney and Ann D Romney.”
It threatens to send encrypted copies to “all major news outlets” and warns, “If the parties interested do not want the encrypted key released to the public to unlock these documents on September 28 of this year then payment will be necessary.
They are demanding a cool $1 million, paid in Bitcoins, “an untraceable online currency popular in the criminal underworld,” says Chris Taylor at Mashable. “An anonymous post on Pastebin asking for Bitcoins? That’s basically a parody of hackers.” says Julia La Roche at Business Insider. — Is this theft even plausible?
I can’t imagine how disappointing THIS would be:
Democrats moving President Obama’s speech to Time Warner Cable Arena — CHARLOTTE, N.C. President Barack Obama will now deliver his acceptance speech Thursday at Time Warner Cable Arena after forecasts about severe weather led officials to move the event out of Bank of America Stadium.
The switch means the approximately 65,000 members of the public who received community credentials for the stadium event won’t be allowed to go inside the arena, which the DNC has said is holding about 15,000 for the convention.
Instead, the arena seats will be limited to delegates and convention officials, according to the Obama campaign.
Campaign officials promised a Thursday conference call between Obama and the 65,000 people no longer able to attend his speech. And they said they’re working on an event where the president would be able to meet with the credential holders before the election, though no date or location was announced.
On Wednesday, the Democratic National Convention Committee said officials had monitored weather forecasts in deciding whether to move the speech from the football stadium. With several reports predicting thunderstorms on Thursday, officials decided to relocate the event “to ensure the safety and security of our delegates and convention guests,” convention CEO Steve Kerrigan said in a news release.
The National Weather Service, who have been briefing convention organizers and others about forecasts this week, said the number of thunderstorms on Thursday could be fewer than what has hit the region in the past few days. But forecasts showed there was a slight, 2-to-5 percent chance of severe thunderstorms developing during the day that could produce either winds of at least 58 miles-per-hour or hail measuring at least one-inch in diameter.
Even if the storms don’t reach severe level, meteorologists said there still is a possibility for cloud-to-ground lightening.
And let’s just go ahead and admit the obvious right here: no one normal – no normal man (or woman – especially) – listens to Rush Limbaugh regularly. If you do, I’m sorry to break it to you, but something’s very wrong. Here’s how El Douchebaugh interprets the venue change:
And from the Romney campaign — well known for its honesty (and for its no-bump-for-Mitt convention):
“Enthusiasm for President Obama is so low that he’s being forced to downgrade his convention events left and right,” said RNC spokesman Matt Connelly. “First the DNC had to cancel their opening event at Charlotte Motor Speedway due to low enthusiasm, now President Obama is being forced to move his acceptance speech to a smaller venue just to avoid the embarrassment of speaking to an empty stadium. After four years of failure on the economy, it’s clear that Americans are looking for actual solutions, not another speech full of empty promises.”
Considering that Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech came in second in viewers on the final night of the RNC to TLC’s Honey Boo Boo Child Show (or whatever it’s called), I believe the psychological term for this is called transference.
According to Nielsen overnight ratings, TLC’s controversial reality show “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” drew 2.9 million viewers Wednesday night at 10 p.m. In second place: Fox News’ coverage of the Republican National Convention, to which 1.2 million adults tuned in.
But yeah… no one likes Obama anymore. How many Republican kneejerk base voters, dittoheads, dullards, and rubes will believe the President couldn’t fill 70,000 seats? YEP — ALL OF THEM. They really, really, really need to believe it.
Supposedly it’s 45° outside right now. I felt slightly chilled, but not 45° chilled. Heaven is autumn.