An undecided voter on President Obama's convention

An undecided voter on President Obama's convention

Summary: It's the Democrats. What could possibly go wrong?

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Bill Clinton

There is nothing -- nothing -- in politics quite like a Bill Clinton speech, with the possible exception of those by Ronald Reagan.

Since we'll never again have the pleasure of listening to a new Reagan speech, the closest we may ever get to a new peak speech experience is a Bill Clinton speech at a national convention.

Here's a fun fact: did you know that Bill Clinton has spoken at every Democratic presidential convention since 1980? He's gotten better at giving speeches over the years, so Wednesday night was something to look forward to. It's also the first time, according to David Gergen, that a former president has nominated a current president.

There is also no politician alive that so visibly derives life force from the crowd he's addressing. When Bill Clinton stepped onto the stage Wednesday night to unrestrained cheering, you could almost see his arteries inflate, his blood flow increase. The strength of the crowd clearly gives Clinton strength, almost like Venom powers up Batman's Bane, but in a good way.

Many people don't realize this, but after Bill Clinton and the senior George Bush ran against each other in a brutal campaign, the two men, years out of office, have been working together on a variety of important humanitarian clauses -- and have even become friends.

I'm mentioning this because Mr. Clinton spoke at length about the issue of bipartisanship and cooperation, and how important it is for the growth of this country. He talked about how he worked with President Reagan and how the parties would disagree, but still focus on getting the job done.

Great quote: "We believe, 'we're all in this together,' is a far better philosophy than, 'you're on your own.'"

This is an important message. I often fault the Democrats for buckling under pressure from the Republicans for, well, just about any reason. But one of my biggest worries going forward is the political doctrine we're seeing more and more in Washington, that of win at any price.

Individual Americans can't withstand the "any price" price, because it usually comes out of their pocketbooks and their ability to feed their families. I remember, back in 2010, that I was personally infuriated when I heard Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell say, "Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term."

This, by the way, is why I don't support any political party. They don't deserve my support. In a country and at a time when millions of Americans were not only out of work, but losing their homes, this was the articulated agenda of one of our top leaders.

In a time of highly escalated partisanship, it's important to remind our leaders that they are Americans first and members of their political parties second.

In last week's analysis of the Republican convention, a reader exploded in the comments about the fact that I won't choose an ideology. His claim was that ideology is all that matters.

This is why I disagree. When all that matters is ideology, we lose sight of reality. I'd rather be ideologically flexible and make sure Americans keep their homes and jobs, than ideologically pure and watch people drown in suffering.

And that's why President Clinton's discussion of a time when cooperation was possible was so important. No matter which candidate wins in America, America itself can only win if we cooperate to create a stronger future.

One of my core recommendations for how to save jobs in How To Save Jobs (free PDF download) was to increase community college reach, and to link the community college system with job creation. So far, of all the speakers at both the GOP and the Democratic conventions, Bill Clinton was the only speaker who made that link a key point.

He correctly stated that while there are many Americans in need of jobs, there are also millions of jobs that are open and unfilled because there aren't enough Americans with the specific skills needed to fill them. He also correctly stated that our education system needs to be supported so people can afford to get the training to fill those jobs.

It's impossible for anyone to truly encapsulate a Bill Clinton speech in a few paragraphs, but I can share with you my favorite statement of the speech, and that will give you a flavor for why this man is still, after all these years, such a master of public address:

"Now people ask me all the time, how did we get four surplus budgets in a row. What new idea did we bring to Washington? I always give a one word answer: Arithmetic."

Next: Where's Hillary? Plus Joe Biden.

Topics: Government, Government US

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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72 comments
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  • The real party platform:

    (Think of a 'Meow Mix' cat food commercial) God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god, God god god god....
    robin@...
    • "Corporate should have losses!!"

      So says the Obama-loving communists at DNC. I just wonder how Obummer would get his donation then. Hoho. The liberals just could not use their brain.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07fTsF5BiSM
      LBiege
      • less than 20 people

        how many did he go through to get those 20 people?

        would be just as easy to find a bunch of democracy hating people to say obama's a communist, socialist, isn't a citizen, blah blah blah. you know, a president elected by the people of the country. hey wait! we can start with you! that's 1.
        oneleft
      • and btw

        your democracy loving party has done something never before done in the history of our country. congress averages a filibuster about every 10 years. in the last 4 years your patriotic elected officials from the right have managed over 400.

        really really really tough to govern when you can't pass anything. when you can't even get people approved for vital positions, positions filled usually within months of a new presidency that remain empty to this day, when the opposition is only interested in obstructionism.

        your flag waving leaders have held this country and economy hostage in their determination to undermine the will of the american people. you know, those people that elected the president to do a job. now good look up the word filibuster.

        but hey, stick a camera in the face of a couple of dozen people. use the word obummer like you actually have wit.
        oneleft
        • Please see my direct response to him, as

          that includes a few links - mostly to nonpartisan sources but I included a few from both right- and left-wing sources as well...

          These guys don't get it. If they really checked up on what politicians do, they'd find Obama by and large being "Bush's third term", and whose bipartisan and compromise has given the GOP a free ride. In 2003, Obama talked of single payer. After 2009, all he did was lift Romney's own plans, using his own people.

          Indeed, noting how the GOP loves to give corporate handouts to corporations, especially those that offshore, how Obama is the C-word is the biggest LIE being told. The GOP loves offshoring to C-word countries (China), and those sites that go into detail on votes tell it all...

          It's all documented stuff.
          HypnoToad72
      • LBiege ...your a F*****g jerk

        End of story.................
        Over and Out
        • Wow, my post with links to several sites has to wait

          but your immature slop got posted?!!!!!!!
          HypnoToad72
  • Neither were good, Neither were bad

    I feel like I am watching an episode of "I wish someone would figure this out" after watching both conventions. The sheer vastness of " they get it not" fom both parties leaves one wishing for a Kable third party.at this stage I am, either way - either party, looking at four more years of my wallet getting slimmer.
    rhonin
    • We really really really

      Need edit capability.
      rhonin
      • New CMS

        It's a new CMS. I understand that's many of the items the programmers are working day and night on. But, as with all mere matters of programming, when it'll show up is, well, a mere matter of programming.
        David Gewirtz
        • it's a tech site

          day and night and still not fixed? no other tech site i visit has this problem.
          maybe you guys should contract it out.
          oneleft
    • Well, since private industry creates jobs and sets their value,

      scapegoating any figurehead from any political party won't do you much good.

      Stop whining about wages going down. The politicians, dare they do something positive for you and me and others, will be called "comm unist" or something by the usual one-liner fluffheads...

      And it's documented, stagnant wages not keeping up with inflation... tons of articles exist online... you'd be surprised... Indeed, "The American dream died in february 1973" - web search that article. And "the vicious cycle of stagnant wages".

      Then look up corporate welfare, especially as handed out by the politicians that claim to love this country, hate "Communi sts", et cetera...
      HypnoToad72
      • in short,

        ask why corporate leaders devalue the worth of your labor, why you have to do more for less, give up vacation time, etc, etc... or do you choose not to defend your own value?
        HypnoToad72
  • Wrong Site Buddy...

    I though this was a tech website. What on earth does your blog have to do with technology? Use another forum to post political opinions.
    gribittmep
    • Go ahead

      glance at the top of this page where it says topic.

      It says "government".
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Since you say it's ok I'll post my opinion

        Obama has three "qualities": He's incompetent, He's a liar and He's a Socialist. He wants the government to control everything. All money is to flow through the government and they will decide what it is to be spent on and how much each person can have to spend. Obamacare is just the start. 49% of all Americans currently receive some type of government support. The Chosen One wants it to be 100% If that's the type of country you want then by all means vote for another 4 years of "Change".
        gribittmep
        • Oh no...

          Another idiot that doesn't know what "socialist" means trying to sound intelligent.
          Qbt
        • Did you mean to say Romney care?

          Maybe you should look that up.
          mrefuman
          • I put in some news articles

            but they're being vetted. It's worth the wait; there's nothing bad in that response...
            HypnoToad72
        • oh no you didn't!

          did you just use like almost every single sound bite the right and fox has been pushing for the last 4 years!?! SNAP! truly, a singular mind indeed. true, there's no real thought in there, no valid arguments, you know, just the talking points, but if you keep working on that soon you'll start believing that you can actually think! good job laddie, good job indeed.
          oneleft