THE COMEBACK VEGAN
NEW YORK TIMES
Obama doesn’t like to share the stage with other politicians or even campaign for House Democrats. ...But now — because of his own naïveté, insularity and arrogance — he needs [Bill] Clinton to rev up the disillusioned faithful and donors and lure independents and white working-class men. Bill, hailed by some as the first black president, must expand Barry’s narrative to reach back and link Obama’s roiling tenure of wars, debt and partisan-fencing to Clinton’s restful stretch of prosperity. ...It’s not a bromance, like Romney and Paul Ryan. It’s a transaction. Obama needs his Democratic predecessor to reassure jittery voters that the future can look like the past, with a lower deficit, plenty of jobs and the two parties actually talking. In return, Bill will have the capital to try to ensure that the past can look like the future, with Hillary as Obama’s successor.
A SECOND OBAMA TERM
We agree that Republican bullheadedness, particularly in the doctrinaire opposition to revenue increases, has been a major obstacle to progress. If Mr. Obama wins, a crucial question will be whether defeat nudges Republicans to moderate their positions or whether they decide that nominee Mitt Romney was not ideological enough. But Mr. Obama wasn’t faultless. Even when conservative Republicans such as Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma signaled a willingness to deal, the president failed to show the leadership that might have made something happen. ... Most fundamentally, any solution to the nation’s fiscal crisis is going to require compromise. No matter who is in charge, taxes will have to go up and entitlements will have to be scaled back. The math doesn’t work any other way.
THE OBAMAS' PARTY
NEW YORK TIMES
The party’s most plausible 2016 contenders will be conspicuously missing from the dais: Bill Clinton will speak, but his wife will not; Joe Biden will speak, but Andrew Cuomo will come and go in silence. In their absence, the convention’s primetime lineup seems designed to leave the impression that the Democratic Party has a past and a present, but not much of a future. ... The absence of Democratic rising stars in Charlotte isn’t just a clever propagandist’s move, designed to keep the spotlight on the president and only on the president. It also reflects certain hard realities for liberals.
Their party has had an extremely difficult time since its 2008 landslide. Their leaders haven’t figured out what liberalism should stand for in an age of budget cuts and fiscal cliffs. Their president is running for re-election on an agenda that’s longer on criticisms of the Republicans than on positive promises of what his party wants to do next.
ENIGMA IN CHIEF
Just when the Democratic Party needs more of Bill Clinton, there is less of him. ...He is the anti-Obama. He gives so much of himself. Barack Obama gives so little. ...Obama and Clinton don’t much like each other. They have their reasons, but Clinton got a coveted prime-time slot for his speech, the one usually reserved for the vice president. Obama showed both poise and confidence in allowing that, but he can more than hold his own in this regard. He was born for the podium. It is from Clinton’s manner, his open-faced welcome, that Obama ought to learn. Clinton is a Venus Flytrap of a politician. Walk near him and you are caught. There are precious few stories about Clinton not returning phone calls.
OF BILL AND BARACK
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Arguably the most memorable phrase (not related to a scandal) that Bill Clinton uttered during his Presidency came in his 1996 State of the Union address: "The era of big government is over." And for a few years, it was over. By contrast, Mr. Obama's four years have been spent expanding the government willy-nilly—with more spending, the promise of higher taxes, and intervention across the economy. His only economic plan now is still-more spending. So as Mr. Clinton tries to lay hands on Mr. Obama and rewrite the history of the 1990s, the real story isn't how much policy the two Democrats have in common. What matters is what they did differently. Bill Clinton learned from the mistakes of his first two years. Mr. Obama has doubled down on his—and, on all available evidence, he will double down again if he's re-elected.