The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Wasted Opportunity

Yeah, I get it. Bill needed to “humanize” his wife as all the instant-analysts say. But that seemed to be his whole goal here. And that was a wasted opportunity. 

The simple fact is that everyone expects husbands to speak well of their wives — even Bill Clinton. That was a box he could have checked in 10 minutes of his speech. Instead, he took the 9,072 minutes of his speech (by my rough estimate) reading Hillary Clinton’s C.V. The biggest problem is that the more he talked the weirder it was that he didn’t address the elephant(s) in the room. This is not a great marriage by any normal person’s definition, unless you measure them almost solely on the metric of political success. 

I’m not saying there weren’t effective bits. But my God that speech was boring unless you’re already fascinated by Hillary Clinton. He could have been extremely effective as the attack dog — a role he relished in previous conventions. He could have tried to appeal to the core of what was once his base: the Bubba vote. He could have spoken seriously about terrorism or immigration and other wedge issues that hurt the Democrats right now. Instead he opted to reassure the ranks of law professors, legal aid activists, bureaucrats, congressional committee staffers and other apparatchiks that Hillary Clinton has always been the sort of progressive to sport a COEXIST bumper sticker on her car. 

Oh, and let’s return to the fact that Bill needed to humanize Hillary Clinton. The woman has been in public life for three decades and the highest best use of her former president husband is to spend an entire convention speech trying to convince voters that she’s human. 

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