Thursday, September 6, 2012

The "Good Democrat"

Steve Benen nailed it!
Months ago, Mitt Romney and his campaign team adopted a curious strategy. Hoping to undermine President Obama, Republicans would elevate former President Clinton, giving him unrivaled credibility and stature, as a way of positioning him as the good Democrat, as compared to that rascally Obama.

As was clear last night in Charlotte, Romney's plan was a spectacularly bad idea.
I'd suggest that "curious" might not be a strong enough word for that strategy. But you do have to wonder what the hell the Republicans were thinking. Perhaps they figured that Democrats are as inept as they are in healing old wounds and that because of his past with President Obama, Clinton would allow them to play him that way.

After last night we know that they made a very serious miscalculation. With the mantra they themselves gave Clinton as the "good Democrat," he just eviscerated their entire reason for being...point by point. And they only have themselves to blame if the American voter takes him at his word.

Now that that's done...bring on that "rascally Obama!"

Who said politics ain't fun????



  1. Just watched the entire speech this morning. Man, oh, man! Clinton has an amazing gift there.

    In a way it was very...English: reasoned and reasonable, mostly calm and factual. And then he slid the knife into his political opponents all the way.

    What a guy.

    1. That's another great point that Benen also made. He talked about how the Republicans treated voters like children with their shallow platitudes - but Clinton treated them like adults who can also reason (and do "arithmetic" LOL!)

  2. This is like the olympics:

    "That was really an incredible performance by Clinton, unexpectedly amazing. Now can Obama best him in this. He has to score a perfect 10 in order to win the gold medal and that's going to require that he surprise the judges in some way. Can he do it, Jim?"

    "Chris, time and again people have assumed that Obama had reached some kind of ceiling that he couldn't get past, and yet he always seems to do it. I'm putting my money on Obama, and remember that he will be cheered on and probably coached some by the best in the business, which is either Bill Clinton himself, or his wife Michelle Obama!"

    "Well, we'll just have to see. But the expectations are sky high."

    "Indeed they are."

  3. The thing is that Obama has occupied, in policy terms, from the relatively left through to the right of center, so Romney cannot talk policy without resorting--as he often does--to extremist positions. Unfortunately, extremist positions lose the center, so he tries what he can. Lies are most important, because it's only by lying that you can convince anyone that Obama's policies are radical in a conventional sense, or that he's incompetent.

    Romney can also go meta on an already meta narrative. This is all too po-mo for me, but nonetheless...the whole riff on Clinton, egged on by the idiot media, was beautiful is its absolute delusion. This was someone's great idea: divide and conquer, peel off some white support, etc. How they imagined that Clinton would in any way undermine Obama is beyond me. How they could imagine that praising Clinton's economy would raise the issue of his levels of taxation is beyond me. But at the same time, Romney's campaign has, in fact, shot its best shot some time ago and is now grasping at straws.

    I, for one, felt that Clinton was always an overrated speaker. Kennedy was great. FDR, he was something special. Clinton's real strength as some noted last night was an ability to inject a remarkably substantive discussion of policy detail in comprehensible language into speeches for general consumption. He certainly showed that in spades last night.

    I imagine that some people will say or have said that Obama has a tough act to follow tonight, but really they're in two different classes. Clinton always impresses with his intelligence and communication skills, but Obama works a room to mold it into a unit, as opposed to a collection of disparate individuals. Obama builds teams with his campaign speeches, with very rare exceptions. He declined to become the professor in chief despite some pressure in the media for him to do so.

    1. Should have written

      praising Clinton's economy would NOT raise the issue of his levels of taxation is beyond me

    2. I hear that talk about Clinton overshadowing Obama - and laugh.

      Other than your points, I'd add that Clinton has an ego that must be attended to. Obama's ego is satisfied. That ALWAYS gives him the upper hand and he knows how to play it.

    3. God knows, I sympathize with Clinton. I am just proud of myself that I know that someone with my neuroses shouldn't work them out at the expense of public policy. It's true: I'm definitely not fit to be President. Clinton felt he won on something if his name was on it. Obama feels he wins if he gets 80% of what he wants and puts an adversary's name on it next to his, or in place of his.

      On that subject, I'm nearly done with Lenin's "'Left-Wing' Communism: an Infantile Disorder." Lots and lots about compromise. I'm again convinced that people of all stripes interested in egalitarian social change need to study Lenin. I'll write something up for my book blog on it.

  4. wasn't Clinton the last dem that got good support from the much coveted 'angry white blue collar males'? if not then, now, which is why they tried to to label him the good one. to attract the ones that still are wavering between the unthinkable, voting for a republican or that black guy

    1. I think you're right, that was their calculation. It's the kind of argument that will fly if the discussion is kept among people who are more interested in seeming smart to each other than dealing with difficult, real situations.

  5. Republicans are idiots if they think President Clinton was going to fall for that!