The Clinton factor

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

September 6, 2012 1:26:25 PM PDT
C'mon - admit it. Even if you don't like Bill Clinton, you had to be swayed by the former President's speaking ability and charm.

There were many Republicans last night shaking their heads and saying - some of them publicly - dang, we don't have anyone who can speak like that.

It was - as a political speech and in my humble opinion - a remarkable piece of work. Politics aside. Mr. Clinton, who, according to a New York Times profile yesterday is apparently more aware of his mortality than ever before, seemed consumed with trying to sound as if he were spouting common sense than the party line.

And how interesting that he didn't talk much about himself, from the personal pages. Interesting because everybody else at this convention and the GOP confab last week IS gabbing in Oprah/Queen For A Day style. Interesting because it was Bill Clinton who started the whole "I feel your pain" thing 20 years ago when he ran for President.

There were so many quotable moments, but I thought the most telling was this one:

"My fellow Americans, you have to decide what kind of country you want to live in. If you want a you're-on-your-own, winner-take-all-society, you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities - a 'we're- -all-in-it-together' society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden."

Now reasonable people might disagree about whether that's entirely accurate or fair. And I'm not here to debate that.

But what struck me was that this is the dichotomy that presents itself to the American people. And it's the reason, many think, why so many people are frustrated by the political process and by political parties.

Why in the world, they ask, can't we have both? Why can't we celebrate and encourage people to be on their own and make money, while still having a huge safety net that protects and provides basic needs, and gives us a "we're all in it together" society?

There are many who believe those two shouldn't have to be exclusive positions. And, in fact, before this whole process became so incredibly polarized, this society strove to do it all - encourage success and encourage the safety net.

So what happened? I'd love to hear your comments. Click here to send a comment.

Meanwhile, tonight, Pres. Obama accepts his party's nomination - at least we expect him to - and his speech will kick off our newscast at 11 p.m. Lori Stokes anchors our coverage from the convention in Charlotte, and our political reporter Dave Evans will have the highlights of Mr. Obama's speech tonight.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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