Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bill Clinton vs. Obama

This Ryan Lizza essay, in talking about how Bill dislikes Barack, alludes to the ideological issues between the Clintons and Obama, and another reason why Hillary will not give up until beaten down on the last day of the convention. It also begins to explain the problem that someone like Bill Clinton has (and also McCain?) in the age of YouTube wherein the virtues of the speaker are not captured, just his vices: "Adjusting to the modern, gaffe-centric media environment has been wrenching. At most of his Pennsylvania stops, the national press was represented mainly by a pair of young TV-network ’embeds,’ whom Clinton regards not as reporters but as media jackals who record his every utterance yet broadcast only his outbursts, a phenomenon that has helped transform him into a YouTube curiosity and diminished him—perhaps permanently."

Discussions - 2 Comments

It is unlikely that Clinton gave a speech to that many people in Ghana for the simple reason that Ghana doesn't have a forum that could accomodate that many people. In addition to this people in Ghana aren't rich enough to drop what they are doing and come listen to Clinton. I lived in Togo and visited Accra which is the capital of Ghana the city and the country are better off than Lome, but essentially there is no large public space in Accra that could accomodate that many people...maybe quater million. But when Clinton says "I once gave a speech to a million people in Ghana." He is probably lying because Accra the most populated city and the capital only has a population of 1,658,937 people according to figures available online and "good" in 2000. If he gave a speech to a million people in Ghana then where did they all fit?

Of course on one level such a question of truthfulness is absolutely inconsequential, and it isn't just Bill Clinton who is stretching truth which is what undue focus on these things would allow one to believe.

Obama takes time in his book the Audacity of Hope to attack the lack of civility that often times characterizes campaigns, but now instead of it being a "paid" campaign aide that is collecting footage and invading privacy it is an independent partisan youngster with a video cammera an internet connection and a youtube account. So in one sense Obama can look quite pure, while letting his loyal base take up the dirt in an entrepreneurial fashion. This it seems to me is the dynamic. McCain, Obama and Hillary run to the center, good manners, civility, et al. While the partisans flame up everything they can to characterize and misrepresent the way that the candidates are trying to frame themselves.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of the campaign has been the demise of Bill. Some polls now show him with negative favorability among Democrats! The times the are a changin, and Bill may, as you point out, have ruined his "legacy" by not keeping up. Conservatives would do well to consider.

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