September 6, 2012 by David K. Sutton
President Bill Clinton’s DNC Speech Makes Him the FactChecker-in-Chief
Former President Bill Clinton delivered a 50 minute substantive speech that thoroughly explained how we got here and where we are going if we elect President Obama to a second term — an economy built for the future. Along the way he eviscerated some of the biggest Republican lies over the past few weeks (and years). Lies like the $716 billion Medicare cuts [savings] and the welfare work requirement. Issue after issue, President Clinton delivered the clear honest truth to Americans and he even re-appropriated President Reagan’s famous line when he said of Republicans, “there they go again.” In his own unique style, Clinton reminded us why he was a two-term president and why he is such a popular former president.
Clinton also did a skillful job articulating something that many of us on the left “try” to explain, the hate that some on the Right have for President Obama. There is no equal on the left. There are many people on the left who had serious issues with George W. Bush, but the heated rhetoric was aimed at his policies, but not the man and the presidency. There is a level of hate among some on the Right born from projecting who they want Obama to be, and not who he really is. It’s a delusion. President Clinton said, “Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats.” There is no doubt about this. I believe him when he says he doesn’t hate Republicans. I don’t hate Republicans, I don’t even hate the far right that hates Obama. I don’t understand them. They make me angry. I think their delusion is bad for the health of our country, but I don’t hate them. Hate is a strong word and it’s a powerful emotion, and Clinton was correct to call out the hate on the far right for the 44th President of the United States.
President Clinton also addressed bipartisanship when he talked about cooperation in Washington. It’s a great message to deliver to those few remaining undecided voters who are looking for compromise to get things done. Clinton said, “When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better. After all, nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes. Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.” In fact it was the Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner who said he doesn’t like the word “compromise” when he appeared on 60 Minutes last year. Nothing will get done in Washington if we do not compromise and it is unacceptable that the leaders of the Republican Party in Washington believe compromise is a bad word and a sign of weakness.
On the economy, President Clinton dispelled the false idea that President Obama should have been able to fix everything in just four years. This is the Republican narrative. They want you to believe that Obama has failed and you should elect them to fix the problem, a problem they created. Clinton said, “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. I believe that with all my heart.” Republicans, conservatives and especially Fox News try to paint a different picture. They want you to forget the trajectory of the country when Obama took office. Well, we know where the country was heading in January 2009 and we know where it’s heading now.
Finally, on the debt, Clinton summed it up with one word, arithmetic. He said, “People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets. What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic.” Clinton says Republicans offer a debt reduction plan that first creates a $5 trillion tax cut for the wealthy before even attempting to tackle the debt itself. People who are a fan of facts, reality and a little thing called math know that trickle-down economics doesn’t work. It never has. It never will.
Quotes courtesy of ABC News, Transcript: Bill Clinton’s Democratic Convention Speech (as prepared before the speech)