If Obama Wins Reelection

September 6, 2012 05:33 AM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

...he should thank former President Bill Clinton, but Clinton is not on the ticket

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

Nothing like a former president to articulate what a current president cannot yet do himself.

Just tell your story in simple terms. Former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday evening delivered a scalpel-like dissection of President Barack Obama's term to date, the factors behind it, and bottom-line assessments of the Republican approach without once mentioning Bain Capital. He showed other Democratic Party members – and perhaps Republicans – how to target someone without getting too personal.

Main audience targets: independent voter and party base. While the Clinton audience included the on-site Democratic delegates and those who tuned in to watch outside Charlotte, North Carolina, his real audience was the still-lingering independent voter, and the party's base. Both key factors in the Nov. 6 election outcome.

The Clinton on-target one-liners came as fast as Washington Nationals' home runs against Chicago Cub pitching. "We believe ‘we’re all in this together’ is a far better philosophy than ‘you’re on your own,'" Clinton said, in a crisp one-liner guaranteed to be repeated in the campaign weeks ahead.

And to show he can rise above the basement-level antics of this campaign, Clinton said, "Democracy does not have to be a bloodsport. It can be an honest enterprise."

Independent voters crave bipartisan cooperation. Clinton addressed that by saying, "One reason we need to reelect President Obama is he is still committed to constructive cooperation." He then got personal when he said, "Though I often disagree with Republicans, I actually never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate our president and a lot of other Democrats."

It could have been worse. Answering the question it took a while for the Democratic Party to figure out, Clinton made it clear that Americans are, indeed, better off now than when President Obama first took office. "No president, no president — not me or any of my predecessors, no one, could have repaired all the damage he found in just four years. But he has laid the foundation for a new, modern, successful economy, of shared prosperity, and if you renew the President’s contract you will feel it. You will feel it... So are we all better off because President Obama fought for health care reform? You bet we are."

Clinton also mentioned Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the man GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney tapped as his vice presidential running mate. "When Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s Medicare savings as quote ‘biggest coldest power play,’ I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Because that 716 billion dollars is exactly, to the dollar, the same amount of Medicare savings that he has in his own budget. It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did."

Devil is in the details, but Clinton likes the Democrat's plan. "I think this [debt] plan is way better than Gov. Romney’s plan. First, the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don’t add up." Clinton then added, "We simply cannot afford to turn the reins of government over to someone who will double down on trickle-down... Now people ask me all the time, how we go four surplus budgets in a row. What new ides did we bring to Washington? I always give a one word answer: Arithmetic."

Clinton then boiled down his message to voters: "The most important question is, what kind of country do you want to live in? If you want a you’re-on-your-own, winner-take-all society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared prosperity and shared responsibility — a we’re-all-in-this-together society — you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden."

Comments: We know, again, who the real communicator is in the Democratic Party: It's Bill Clinton. But he's not on the ballot. An unintended impact of Clinton's address may make mainstream Democratic voters think that someone like Clinton should be president. Clinton makes people long for the day when a person can and did reach across the political aisle (welfare reform), something Obama hasn't done. Clinton is a people person who understands that part of being president is inviting and listening (not preaching) to members of the opposing party.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.






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