...Bill Clinton possesses better political judgment than any of his Democratic peers, and it was on full display in his convention speech. Instead of suiting up in the culture war, Clinton pitched his message to employment-focused independents. ...He praised past Republican presidents for their achievements and assured Americans that democracy doesn’t “need to be a blood sport.” Clinton explained Obama’s own policies better than the president has ever done. He defended Obama from Republican attacks with humor and skill. And Clinton imputed to Obama a belief in “constructive cooperation” which the president has rarely shown. In fact, many of Clinton’s items of praise for Obama seemed more like praise for Clinton’s earlier self.
THE DEFIANT ONES
CHARLES M. BLOW
NEW YORK TIMES
If viewers thought Democrats might tuck in their tails and run away from the president’s record, they were mistaken. The speakers gave full-throated, bare-fanged defenses of Barack Obama — rattling off hours of his accomplishments — and they used that record to draw a stark distinction with the plans of Mitt Romney, whom they attacked with unfettered ferocity. The Democrats came to the party ready for a fight. ...It’s not clear if the Democrats’ performance will win converts — on Tuesday Gallup reported that there was no bounce in the polls for Romney after his convention — but their speeches may well stiffen loyalists’ spines. In an evenly divided election where a win or a loss may come down to mobilization and turnout, that’s not nothing.
THE BETTER ECONOMIC QUESTION
NEW YORK TIMES
The contradiction between the plain facts of the data and the tepid feel of the recovery suggests that the recession created a more important question than the simplistic “are you better off?” Voters should ask themselves — and their leaders — how to keep this and future generations better off. How to prevent future recessions. How to design a tax code that promotes fairness and reduces inequality. How to make sure a safety net is in place for those who inevitably need more help. ...Voters should remember the days when the country was hemorrhaging jobs by the millions, but it is far more important to make certain they never have to remember another financial crisis.
THE BIG DOG SHOWS HOW IT'S DONE
Bill Clinton [last night] showed them all how it’s done. He gave a master class in how to combine folksy and poetic language, stinging one-liners and policy nuance, empathy and rip-roaring partisanship. It was as good as it gets. ...It’s not just that he was a reminder of happy times for Democrats. It’s that he covered the issues – the arguments – that Democrats are making (or should be making!) this year. One by one, one after another, with good cheer and with a seemingly bottomless supply of facts and anecdotes and ad-libs. All, as he returned to again and again and again, in service of the very simple case that Barack Obama had done a pretty good job after all – and that the Romney/Ryan ticket was too far from the mainstream to win.
OBAMA IN CLINTON'S SHADOW
Obama was backstage while the audience clapped along to the old Clinton theme song, Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop.” ... [Clinton's] speech — a meandering Clintonian mix of folksiness and savage partisanship — was illuminated by the sparkle of thousands of camera flashes and punctuated with regular shouts of “We love you, Bill!” Inevitably, the subject matter frequently returned to the speaker’s favorite topic: Bill Clinton. ...Obama and his advisers knew that this was exactly what was going to happen. But they calculated that it was worth risking the perception that Obama was trying to ride a former president’s coattails to reelection. In the end, that gamble will probably prove to be a good one, because Clinton, a far more popular figure than Obama, bestowed his blessing on the president unambiguously, in some ways making the case for Obama’s reelection more cogently than Obama has made it.