Bill Clinton gave two speeches tonight.
He closed with the stronger one, namely that the GOP doesn’t deserve to be rewarded for the past 8 years. That argument works because it’s fundamentally true in many ways.
But he began with a speech endorsing Barack Obama, and that was, well, embarrassing. Bill Clinton essentially argued “Barack is the right man for the job because I used to have that job, and I say so.” Arguing from authority isn’t entirely useless, but it ain’t much.
Compare the second half of the speech — full of arguments, facts, statistics and examples — against the Obama portion. The weakness is glaring. I’ve always considered Bill Clinton’s biggest strength as a communicator his ability to connect what he wants you to believe to what you already know and believe. That’s good arguing, in the debate club sense.
What he showed tonight is that even one of the best salesmen in the Democratic Party can’t make the case for President Obama.