Bill Clinton was classic in his speech at the Democratic Convention. He was passionate, folksy, eloquent, and (as always) verbose. His 48 minute speech kept everyone impressed by his ability to be long winded, if nothing else.
However, I think there was more. Much more.
Following the speech, I interviewed Steve Parkhurst, Senior Editor of US Daily Review and political consultant about the speech. He indicated that it was, in fact, vintage Clinton and it reminded him of the old days of his presidency.
In particular, it was reminiscent of the trying times for his administration during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. During the height of the scandal, after being accused of having sex with the intern, Clinton went on national television and spoke passionately -- wagging finger and all -- about how he "did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky."
Fast forward to 2012 and you can see Bill Clinton in classic form. Colorful, warm, jovial, and then he gets serious. Monica Lewinsky serious. When you watch the video of his speech as he makes the case for Obama (starting at 1.22), the spirit that embodied Clinton when he defended himself on charges of sexual misconduct in the 1990s, seemed in full force in his passionate plea for the President. Harsh tone, angry face, and of course, the wagging finger. Later we learned that Clinton lied in the case of Lewinsky, what about in 2012 in his speech for Obama?
Let's begin by looking at the point in the speech in which Clinton changed his tone, demeanor, and brought us his famous finger. He told the audience, "President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it."
As is the case with most effective lies, there is a sliver of truth in the statement. In the case of Lewinsky, Clinton tried to get technical as to what "sex" meant; in his defense of Obama he makes a comparison between the economy the current president inherited to those of others who served in the Oval Office.
Clinton argues that Obama inherited the worst economy in U.S. history. Just in the last few decades alone, this would be a hard case to make. What Reagan inherited from Carter was a horrible "stagflation," in which the economy had both high unemployment and massive deficits.
It was the worst economy since the Great Depression, but in four years Ronald Reagan was overseeing a rebounding economy and won all but one state of the union in his reelection bid.
Another president who inherited a terrible economy was FDR from Herbert Hoover. How did FDR compare to Obama? Well, in spite of the romantic notions of liberal ideologues, Roosevelt was a disaster as he took a serious recession into the nation's worst Depression. Interestingly, Obama's approach to solve our economic crisis is similar to FDR's and we are getting similar results. Big government, outrageous subsidies, and massive increases in regulations guaranteed that the Great Depression would be the worst economic period in our nation's history to date. It appears Barack Obama may be committed to out performing FDR in this notorious area.
In an ad lib portion of Clinton's speech (there were many of them), he said he didn't know if the audience "believed him" or thought he was telling "the truth." His body language and history gave this observer every reason to believe that the former president was selling a bill of goods.
Some people have "lying eyes," others have wagging fingers.
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