Almost 25 years ago I sat in the cheap seats of an Atlanta arena listening to then Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton give a seemingly endless speech.
The speech continued last night in Charlotte as the former president reported for duty far better than John Kerry did in 2004 to help his party win another term in the White House.
Barack Obama knows he can’t win re-election without Clinton. That’s why the current president swallowed more pride than any human should possess and invited Clinton to help him.
But I have to wonder if Obama sensed how badly Clinton overshadowed him, reminding American voters of the “good times,” what they wanted to remember about the disgraced president who left office after impeachment and abusing the public trust in ways never before entered into the official public record.
Most Democrats seem to forgive Clinton for his terrible transgressions.
Do I? I’m not sure. Do I forget? Never. To forget invites a repeat.
Has Clinton redeemed himself?
Has he rehabilitated his reputation and restored personal honor to his family?
I believe he has.
But none of what I think about Clinton matters in the big picture. I’m just one voice who matters little even though I’m on the radio every day and can have some impact in shaping the public opinion that Obama needs on his side if he is to win another chance to try and be better than Clinton.
Clinton shapes far more public opinion that I could ever hope to mold. And the people behind those numbers matter far more in the long run than my personal disappointment and mystery at what must motivate a political super hero who more people seem to like than dislike.
That’s why he’s Clinton. There’s nobody like him, even Obama, whose luster dims when Clinton walks into the arena. Nope. There’s nobody even remotely like Clinton – except Clinton.
Hillary, I mean, whose cameo video appearance during the convention to highlight the presence and importance of women in the Democratic Party indicated her powerful presence even through she could not show up in person.
Hillary was working. Everybody else, including the presidents, was campaigning. Hillary was earning her paycheck and actively accomplishing foreign policy – something that Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney knows nothing about.
Hillary knows. Hillary also knows more about what makes all these men tick than any other elected or appointed American public official.
Hillary knows more about sneaky Bill than sneaky Bill. Because she faced off with sneaky Barack, she knows more about his underhanded capabilities than his own wife. And Hillary knows Mitt because, except for his secret tax returns, he’s pretty much an open checkbook.
Put them all together and they’re still relatively readable men – albeit powerful, ruthless men who ooze charm and panache - and, Hillary can hold her own with all three.
That’s why the Oval Office is hers for the asking and for the taking.
Bill Clinton’s speech last night on behalf of “Little Brother Barack” makes America’s first black president deeply and forever in Bill – and Hillary’s - debt. Even if Mitt wins, the party’s over when Hillary announces her intention to become America’s first woman president.
No matter what happens, Bill has his foundation and his global good work. Barack can write books, shoot hoops and sell wolf tickets (boast) about taking out Osama. Mitt has his offshore bank accounts to keep him warm.
Hillary can do whatever she pleases. But let’s hope she does what pleases a nation in perpetual need, no matter how good life gets in the next four years for the middle class. Let’s hope that Hillary has not stopped thinking about a tomorrow unlike any tomorrow that we or she has ever experienced.
Unlike Barack, Hillary does not need Bill or anybody else to do her talking for her.
Hillary Rodham Clinton can, does and will speak for herself.