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Susan Estrich
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That Old Clinton Magic


Back in 1988, we had what we thought was a great new idea. There was only one slot for a keynote speech at the Democratic convention on Monday night, but we had two great candidates for the job. One was the late Ann Richards, then the treasurer of the state of Texas and a candidate for governor, famous for her wit and wisdom (remember: George Bush was born "with a silver foot in his mouth"). The other was the governor of Arkansas, a young star of the party, a charismatic speaker, a southern moderate and a good friend. We needed the votes of women; we needed votes among more conservative white men.

How could we have them both?

We asked Richards to keynote on Monday and Bill Clinton to nominate Michael Dukakis on Wednesday. Clinton's initial reaction was disappointment. Our answer, my answer, at the time was that this could be just as good of a slot; we would cut out all of the seconding speeches, and he would be the one who told the candidate's story and made the case for his election.

The first draft we saw of Clinton's speech was not exactly what we had in mind. It went on, at some length, about international economic policy. Hand it to Clinton: No one I've ever met in politics has a better sense of where we are headed, and we were certainly headed for a global economy that most of us could not have foreseen in 1988.

But this was a convention. So we sent word back that while the international economy was certainly interesting, what we really needed — particularly since our candidate was less comfortable than most with either singing his own praises or crucifying his opponent — was a more political speech that would set the tone for the nomination of the party's candidate for president.

Maybe we weren't clear that we also meant "drop" the international economy stuff.

The rest is history.

The history of a disaster. It went on and on. Poor Tad Devine, legendary political consultant, kept hitting the red button. The biggest applause line was: "In conclusion..."

And for years afterward people would say to me, "Who came up with the hare-brained idea of wasting a guy who was a better speaker than the candidate on a single nominating speech?"

As in most things, if you just wait long enough...

On Wednesday night, Bill Clinton did brilliantly what he (and we) did quite a bit less brilliantly 24 years ago. Putting aside the tensions of the past, he made the case for Barack Obama and against Mitt Romney with passion, eloquence and genuine conviction. I have no doubt that more people watched and listened on Wednesday night because he was the headliner.

It is, of course, no small triumph that 12 years after leaving office, President Clinton returned to the Democratic convention more popular than ever. And to listen to the people who tried to destroy his presidency now heaping praise on his tenure so they can knock Obama with it confirms once again the divide between politics and principle. The Clinton triumph is not just the product of nostalgia — although there certainly is nostalgia for those years of peace and prosperity — but of his tireless efforts and commitment to helping the world's least fortunate in the years since. He has been an admirable former president.

But it speaks just as well of the current president that he wanted Clinton there. I've been around long enough to remember cases where candidates openly worried about being upstaged at their own conventions and arranged speaker slots so that wouldn't happen. We used to joke that that was what Monday night was for. For this convention, there was no Monday night.

Bill Clinton dazzled Wednesday night because Barack Obama asked him to. And that speaks well of both of them.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



23 Comments | Post Comment
Says a lot about the state of the demorat party that its glittering star is not barry boy but Clinton a proven reprobate, a proven serial perjurer, a proven abuser of women and against whom there is more than credible evidence of rape.

It says more that such a "star" was brought in to ostensibly bolster up another proven congenital and repeat liar, a proven enabler of actual infanticide, a proven anti semite, a proven enemy of Isreal, a proven panderer to our enemies, a proven traitor (remember barry boy caught hot mic advising Putin's PM that he could be more flexible in betraying America after re election) and the enemy within.

However, what Estrich (who conveniently and consistently erases Clinton's serial abuses and rape because he is a liberal and does so though she never fails to remind us of her own harrowing experience of rape) and all other obama zombies did not see even though it was patently obvious in Clinton's speech, was that although Clinton remains the demorat star he did not go there to praise obama but to bury him. And bury him he did. LOL!

The obama zombies did not recognize that Clinton was not talking to the assembled delegates of the Dependency National Convention or to demorats but to the population at large. The obama zombies did not recognize the subtext of Clinton's self serving speech, to wit, that Clinton had a bad situation but turned it around, that he had problems but dealt with them, that he had a GOP congress but worked with it, that he was a leader and that barry boy has not turned anything around, has solved no problems and has utterly failed. Oh there were the weasle words about the future and re elect obama but the damage was done.

The subtext for the population at large was to remind of the Clinton days and to set the scene for Hilary, who has utterly and deliberately avoided the Dependency National Convention and avoided being in the US while it was ongoing.

To this extent Estrich is right "Bill Clinton dazzled Wednesday night because Barack Obama asked him to." But what barry boy did not ask was for Clinton, to do what he did, which was to play barry for the amateur he is and the amatuer Billy boy has described him to be. And what is funnier, Estrich, and all the lib commentators and pundits know it but like the truth also avoid that like the plague.
Comment: #1
Posted by: joseph wright
Fri Sep 7, 2012 6:50 AM
Clinton is more popular than ever because people see that when compared to Bush and Obama, he did one hell of a job. How much debt did he accumulate? A few hundred mil? Compare that to the nightmarish 4 and 5 trillion dollars the last two numbnuts racked up each. If anything, his speech made me want 8 more years of Clinton, not 4 more of BO. So yes Joe, Clintons speech was self-serving and thats good for Hilary in 2016. Estrich didn't bring up Clintons lies and promiscuity because no one cares. He got through his scandals more popular than when he went into them.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Fri Sep 7, 2012 7:08 AM

Forgot the jobs report.

Only 96,000 jobs added in August. So far 14,000 jobs fewer each month this year than the previous month. 368,000 people left the job market. 88.92 millions not in the labor force.

Guess this is what Joe (if you can't cure stupid make it your vice president) Biden meant last night by "turning the corner" is this the "future filled with hope" or the "path to a better place" barry boy rambled about.

More time for more of this?

Wake up people !

Comment: #3
Posted by: joseph wright
Fri Sep 7, 2012 7:12 AM
Re: Chris McCoy
How soon people forget! The primary reason Clinton had a great economy was Y2K. Companies were crying for people to help them get ready for the change in the millineum. Equipment had to be replaced, computer software needed to evaluated and modified, procedures needed to changed. It was a frightful time that required many man hours and expensing to prevent a calamity.
And yes, Clinton was a pragmatist who knew he had to work with the other party to accomplish what was needed for the country to improve. This is where Obama fails, he doesn't give a damn about the country suceeding, in fact, it's just the opposite.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Oldtimer
Fri Sep 7, 2012 8:05 AM
Not to denigrate President Clinton, but he had a much easier time of it than either Bush or Obama because he had a much better hand dealt to him. During his term we had:

(a) Tax increases from a Democratic Congress in his first two years.

(b) Spending cuts from a Republican congress in his last 6 years. These cuts were made easy by the end of the cold war (i.e., The so called "Peace Dividend").

(c) A booming economy that increase revenues (i.e., the Dot Com bubble).

The concatination of these three favorable events allowed us to have a budget 'surplus' (Really a deficit if you didn't count the SS taxes as revenues). Anybody think we will get this fortunate again any time soon?
Comment: #5
Posted by: Old Navy
Fri Sep 7, 2012 8:32 AM
President Clinton's whole case was that nobody could have done better in the last four years than President Obama. In other words, the people were wrong to HOPE that things could have been better; or to think that the President could CHANGE the situation. So his message was no hope and no change. FORWARD! Nobody can solve these problems!
Comment: #6
Posted by: Cowboy Jay
Fri Sep 7, 2012 9:46 AM
Re: Cowboy Jay

You are almost correct, in order to properly present the thrust of Clinton's argument correctly you must add the words "except me, Bill Clinton, who you will also get if you elect Hilary when she runs" after the words "Nobody can solve these problems"

Does not alter the fact that Clinton played barry boy like an amateur and indeed plays into the rightful statement of the other Clint (Eastwood that is) that barry boy is "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated upon the American people"

Comment: #7
Posted by: joseph wright
Fri Sep 7, 2012 12:43 PM
Once again the job number comes in in positive territory for the 30th straight month. It is funny to listen to most Republican moan about this number while so convieniently forgetting what the numbers were for the last six months of the last Republican president. THAT IS THE proper standard for comparison..
Say,,,,,who was that last Republican president???? Maybe he was the invisible man in the chair at the Republican one dared mention HIM at the RNC. Because he was such a disaster. or should I say, DISASTER in all capital letters.
One thing most Republicans avoid speaking about is that the Dow has more than doubled under Obama and most IRA accounts have also doubled. ARE YOU BETTER OFF SINCE OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT??? You are if your IRA was invested in the swtock market. It's value has more than doubled.
I note that the American auto industry reported record auto sales in the last two months. Yet the Republicans have stuck their heads in the sand on that fact and refuse to talk about that. I li9ve near the Lordstown auto plant and this area of Ohio is boom boom booming....New factory construction, which is visible along Interstate 80 near Hubbard Ohio at exit 224, is solid evidence that it was a wise decision to bail out this auto industry. All of the parts suppliers and ancillary industries are also booming. tool and die shops are overwhelmed with parts orders.
Yes, the above posters can sling their useless and baseless insults all they want but here in northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, the evidence is more than clear. The auto bailout has worked beyond all expectations. I voted for McCain the last time, but I am honest enough to admit that I made a horrible mistake. Over the last four years I have come to respect this thoughtful MAN for his leadership.
Comment: #8
Posted by: robert lipka
Sat Sep 8, 2012 1:05 PM
Lipka wrote:

" I li9ve near the Lordstown auto plant and this area of Ohio is boom boom booming...."

One of the wonderful things about the internet is that you can quickly check out the reality of various claims. For instance, I was able to find out that Lordstown is a village in Trumbull County, Ohio. Further, I was able to research the Unemployment Rate (UR) for both Trumbell County and Ohio. Here is what I found:

June 2012: Trumbell County UR = 8.2%, Ohio UR =7.4%
July 2012: Trumbell County UR = 9.1%, Ohio UR = 7.9%.

With all due respect, these numbers hardly reflect a 'boom boom booming' economy. In fact, the numbers appear to be going in the wrong direction for a 'boom boom booming' economy. I'd get that 'boom boom booming' your hearing checked out, its isn't the economy in Ohio or just about anywhere in the US. That is unless the noise is due to the beginnings of an economic collapse.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Old Navy
Sat Sep 8, 2012 7:14 PM
Now Old Navy, you know better than to confuse liberals with the facts. They "feel" that things are getting better. Thats what matters. Obama cares about the plight of the middle class, isen't that enough.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Sun Sep 9, 2012 9:44 AM
Ronald Reagan was the first President to be accused of rape. Selene Walters accused Ronald Reagan of rape 39 years after the alleged assault.

Clinton is the second President to be accused of rape. Juanita Broaddrick accused Bill Clinton of rape 21 years after the alleged assault.

Clinton committed adultery and lied to cover up info about his sex/private life.
The Republican propaganda machine fail to mention the Watergate scandal where the Repub president lied to cover up the misuse of government power for political purpose. Nor do they mention George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William J. Haynes II, Jay S. Bybee and John Yoo have been found guilty in absentia of the crime of torture, noting that “they had wilfully participated in the formulation of executive orders and directives to exclude the applicability of international conventions and laws” — namely the UN Convention against Torture (1984), the Geneva Conventions (1949), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Charter — “in relation to the war launched by the US and others in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in March 2003,” and also that, “Additionally, and/or on the basis and in furtherance thereof, the accused authorised, connived in, the commission of acts of torture and cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment against victims in violation of international law, treaties and aforesaid conventions.”
“Transcripts of the charges, witness statements and other relevant material were sent to the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, as well as to the United Nations and the UN Security Council,” and will, of course, add to their tarnished legacy.

Comment: #11
Posted by: morgan
Sun Sep 9, 2012 10:37 AM
Morgan wrote, "Ronald Reagan was the first President to be accused of rape..."

I'm confused. Reagan is dead and none of the people you mention in your note are running for President. What is your point here? You seemed to have raised the art of the non sequitur to a new level. Does any of this have anything to do with this years elections or anything being discussed in this Blog?

BTW, as long as we are mentioning disconnected unpleasantries from the past, you forgot that Clinton bombed an aspirin factory in a third world country with the still unproven justification that it was making WMD for terrorists. Also, I should note that quite a few people are very unhappy with the present denizen of the White House for his use of drones to take out terrorist. All sorts of concerns about collateral damage and civilian casualties there. Are you also worried about either of those factoids?
Comment: #12
Posted by: Old Navy
Sun Sep 9, 2012 12:38 PM
The New America Foundation analysis of the drone campaign in Pakistan found that:
-- The civilian casualty rate has been dropping sharply since 2008. The number of civilians, plus "unknowns," those individuals whose precise status could not be determined from media reports, reported killed by drones in Pakistan during Obama's tenure in office were 11% of fatalities. So far in 2012 it is close to 2%. Under President Bush it was 33%.
-- Conversely, the percentage of militants killed has been rising over the life of the drone program. The number of militants reported killed by drone strikes is 89% of the fatalities under Obama compared to 67% under Bush.
-- Some of these attacks were designed to help Pakistani interests. In the first eight months of 2009, the U.S. carried out 19 drone strikes targeting affiliates of the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, who had carried out an extensive campaign of attacks against Pakistani police officers, soldiers and politicians. Mehsud was eventually killed by a CIA drone strike.
-- Since it began in 2004, the drone campaign has killed 49 militant leaders whose deaths have been confirmed by at least two credible news sources. While this represents a significant blow to the militant chain of command, these 49 deaths account for only 2% of all drone-related fatalities.
Osama bin Laden himself recognized the devastation that the drones were inflicting on his organization, writing a lengthy memo about the issue in October 2010 that was later recovered in the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where he was killed by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs. In the memo to a lieutenant, bin Laden advised that his men leave the Pakistani tribal regions where the drone strikes have been overwhelmingly concentrated and head to a remote part of Afghanistan and he also suggested that his son Hamza decamp for the tiny, rich Persian Gulf kingdom of Qatar

What do you think?

Comment: #13
Posted by: morgan
Sun Sep 9, 2012 1:30 PM
Re Lipka and Morgan
As was posted by another, on this one point you win. We will not cast a vote for Bush, Cheney, Reagan or Nixon in this upcoming general election.

Lipka who sees and hears imaginary economic boom in every diner he visits or auto union drone he talks to posits “respect” for the “thoughtful” barry boy. It follows that the thoughts that drive barry boy are also respected by Lipka.

One does not have to be a mind reader to guess or to crystallize barry boy's thoughts. He has spelt them out and continues to spell them out for all to hear and to readily discern. Indeed Minnie the Moocher obama also spelt them out in her mostly dishonest diatribe at the demorat convention.

The following is a non exhaustive selection of his policy driving thoughts in no particular order. All are equally heinous and demonstrative of barry boy's hatred of this country, of this Republic and of the Constitution.

• Primary, driving first thought is always, his contempt for America. There can be no other reason for wanting to fundamentally transform it or for the apology tour or for denying the exceptional nature of America abroad and for doing so in front of those that hate us.

• To tax tax and tax again. Not just the rich, not just the successful, but everyone. The brain dead obama zombies out there still believe the “no increased taxes of any kind on those earning under $250,000” big lie by obama. Obamataxhikeoneveryoneocare has been declared a tax hike and it is indeed the greatest tax hike on everyone in US history. Further, Taxmageddon by way of letting the Bush tax rates expire follows in January 2013. If that were not bad enough barry boy's destructive energy policy and the directly resultant increased costs to businesses and to consumers also act as a tax. Remember barry boy each time you pay $80 to fill the gas tank or look at your rocketing utility bills. His words, his prediction his driving thought was that electricity prices will have to necessarily skyrocket.

• To deliberately create debt, debt and even more debt. Trillion dollar deficits each year for the foreseeable future all as planned and set out in his (LOL!) budgets. Guarantee the destruction of the economy.

• Redistribute the wealth and private property earned and owned by individuals to the parasites and the worthless both hands out for free sh*t moochers.

• “Redistribute” justice through the offices of a corrupt, racist, Department of “just us” and through the efforts of Constitution hating justices like Sotomeyor, the liar Kagan and Bader- Ginsburg.

• Encourage and facilitate the invasion of the individual States by illegal aliens and criminals as part of an open borders policy.

• Subvert and marginalize the separation of powers and the co equal branches of Government bedrocks of the Constitution. Undermine and subvert Articles I,II, III, and Article IV Section 4 of the Constitution.

• Subvert and marginalize the First Amendment.

• Subvert and marginalize the Second Amendment.

• Subvert and marginalize the Tenth Amendment.

• Encourage and fund infanticide upon pre born and actually born and viable American babies.

• Abandon and betray our allies, particularly Israel and Poland.

• Betray even more of our secrets to Russia and further undermine our nuclear capability, if re-elected.

• Destroy the energy industry. Destroy and marginalize all forms of home grown energy.

• Mock and punish business and entrepreneurial success while pandering to the blood sucking parasite public sector and auto unions.

• Smother all new business with regulation and by letting the EPA run amok.

As neither Lipka nor Morgan can rebut any of the above I expect the usual charge of racism or some reference to Bush or anything other than obama and his ideology. Bring it on! Let them do their best/worst

For anyone to respect all or any of the above thoughts which clearly and indisputably drive the obama policy can speak only to a shared hatred of this Republic.
Comment: #14
Posted by: joseph wright
Sun Sep 9, 2012 3:18 PM
Re: morgan
Amazing. It's criminal to water board but not to kill via drone attack. What does the International Criminal Court have to say about this?
Comment: #15
Posted by: Oldtimer
Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:04 AM
Re: Nutjob
aka: I'm not a racist bigot because of my racial dna and you must be white because you call me a racist bigot. Yeah you...... nutjob ghetto throwback.

You're woefully ill informed, and via your own deluded logic are succinct about what and who you hate.
You don't support Obama or Democrats, alas, what a loss to the inclusive Democratic party. It's logical a racist bigot such as yourself would support an exclusionary party now trying to elect a candidate who is a lifelong member of an exclusionary religion. Better known as an Idolater in evangelical and religious right circles.
But hey, I just threw that in because I could. Some of my best friends are Mormon.

You spend time and energy bashing Obama, but I don't recall you supporting Romney/Ryan nor having knowledge of their platform. I've been asking around, no one seems to know, but you, with your amazing faculty to crystallize the thoughts and ideas of others, surely you must be at least as knowledgeable if not more so on Romney's plan. Now don't give me the 59 plan, read it, don't give me the Ryan plan, read it. Give me specifics, what will be cut what will stay, foreign policy and military spending, etc. I've an abbreviated list on O'Reilly's column, just the fundamental stuff one would want to know before hiring a new President.

Spit it out sonny, tell us the specifics of why the great white hope of the Republican party is your daddy.
No more dissing Obama, no more baiting . Facts not fantasy.
Or are you just a one trick pony?

Comment: #16
Posted by: morgan
Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:03 AM
Re: morgan
Morgan's words "nutjob ghetto throwback" "racist bigot" " idolator" "Great white hope"

Morgan's hysterical frothing at the mouth reaction was entirely predictable and indeed predicted by me just above. God this is so easy! LOL!

What is missing is any defence of obama or his proven policies and thoughts. Why ? Because there are no sustainable defences. I did not crystallize barry boy's thoughts and policies, he did. I just repeated them and pointed out that which he put in place.

The truth clearly stings. Seems that Morgan just can't take the truth. Loves the fantasy but can't stomach the facts. Poor Morgan ! Another liberal progressive "inclusive" tantrum coming?

Once again Morgan proves me to be entirely correct and displays for all to see just what liberals and progressives are, to wit, delusional and unhinged.

Your turn Lipka !
Comment: #17
Posted by: joseph wright
Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:24 AM
Re: joseph wright
So true. They are intellectual dimwits!
Comment: #18
Posted by: Oldtimer
Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:30 AM
Everyone is doing a great job bashing the others candidate while provide no defense for their own. Not just in this comments section, but this is taking place throughout the media and nation. And hear I am pulling my hair out because no one even knows about 4 pefectly great candidates that are running 3rd party, most of them with successful track records. Oh, and Oldtimer, great drone comment.
Comment: #19
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:14 AM
Re: Oldtimer

I don't know. What does it say?

Comment: #20
Posted by: morgan
Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:39 PM
Re: I'm entitled to be a racist prick blah blah blah....

I've proven nothing; just allowed you to reveal yourself. Now I'm done.

Comment: #21
Posted by: morgan
Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:00 PM
Re: morgan
Its clear that there is no self control. We know that. No need to keep proving it.
In this much you are correct ! You are done, your indolent, ignorant, useless, hand out seeking, America hating type is done, barry boy is done. America has been educated and has woken up to the evils of liberalism and progressivism, colectivism and identity politics.
As for the differences between someone nay anyone like Romney and obama, specifics of policy are not required, though one could write pages on that, one only need remember two sentences.
With obama hatred of America governs. With Romney love of country will lead.
Comment: #22
Posted by: joseph wright
Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:13 AM
Re: morgan
It's a question meant to get you to think. Obviously, that's not possible!
Comment: #23
Posted by: Oldtimer
Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:50 AM
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