Bill Clinton, I Love You

Tonight President Bill Clinton held the Democratic Convention in the palm of his hand. Clinton rebutted every single Republican statement about jobs, the economy, the deficit, health care, immigration, on and on. He cited misstatements and untruths and backed up his words with facts and figures on every single issue facing 'my fellow Americans.' Clinton is eloquent, passionate, folksy, credible and I miss him terribly. He's a master politician with a strong sense of the common good.

Remembering phrases of his speech and wanting his very words, I pulled up the transcript from The New York Times. Clinton says it better than I can tell you, so the rest of this post is 'cut and paste'.

Here's what Clinton had to say about statements made by Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan at the Republican Convention in Tampa last week: "In Tampa, the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was actually pretty simple — pretty snappy. It went something like this: We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in." 

Here's how Clinton gave Michelle Obama's speech the high sign, "And by the way, after last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama."
And listen to this: "You see, we believe that “we’re all in this together” is a far better philosophy than “you’re on your own.” So who’s right?  Well, since 1961, for 52 years now, the Republicans have held the White House 28 years, the Democrats, 24. In those 52 years, our private economy has produced 66 million private sector jobs. So what’s the job score? Republicans, 24 million; Democrats, 42 (million). 

Clinton’s spoke on economic opportunity: "It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics. Why? Because poverty, discrimination and ignorance restrict growth. When you stifle human potential, when you don’t invest in new ideas, it doesn’t just cut off the people who are affected; it hurts us all. We know that investments in education and infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase growth. They increase good jobs, and they create new wealth for all the rest of us."

What is the matter with Republicans? Why would we want to restrict or eliminate the very things that promote growth - and jobs? The government invested in a national highway system, a trip to the moon and the development of the Internet. Would a private entity been capable of giving Americans any of these?

Clinton talked more about job creation: "In 2010, as the president’s recovery program kicked in, the job losses stopped and things began to turn around. The recovery act saved or created millions of jobs and cut taxes — let me say this again — cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. And, in the last 29 months, our economy has produced about 4 1/2 million private sector jobs. We could have done better, but last year the Republicans blocked the president’s job plan, costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here’s another job score. President Obama: plus 4 1/2 million. Congressional Republicans: zero."

Here's what Clinton had to say about Medicare: "First, both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the president for allegedly robbing Medicare of $716 billion. That’s the same attack they leveled against the Congress in 2010, and they got a lot of votes on it. But it’s not true. Look, here’s what really happened. You be the judge. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits at all. None. What the president did was to save money by taking the recommendations of a commission of professionals to cut unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that were not making people healthier and were not necessary to get the providers to provide the service.

And instead of raiding Medicare, he used the savings to close the doughnut hole in the Medicare drug program and — you all got to listen carefully to this; this is really important — and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare trust fund so it is solvent till 2024.

“So — so President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare; they strengthened Medicare. Now, when Congressman Ryan looked into that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s Medicare savings as, quote, the biggest, coldest power play, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry — because that $716 billion is exactly, to the dollar, the same amount of Medicare savings that he has in his own budget. You got to get one thing — it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did."
More cutting to the chase on Medicare: “Now, at least on this issue, on this one issue, Governor Romney has been consistent. He attacked President Obama too, but he actually wants to repeal those savings and give the money back to the insurance company. He wants to go back to the old system, which means we’ll reopen the doughnut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and we’ll reduce the life of the Medicare trust fund by eight full years.  So if he’s elected, and if he does what he promised to do, Medicare will now grow broke in 2016. Think about that. That means, after all, we won’t have to wait until their voucher program kicks in 2023 —  to see the end of Medicare as we know it. They’re going to do it to us sooner than we thought." 
You gotta love this man who speaks to your best self and talks about the larger community and opportunity for all. A man who can site facts and figures instead of generalities and slogans.
I am so tired of hate and meanness of spirit. I am frightened by a growing indifference to both the public realm and the fate of the next generations. I am afraid that too many Americans will vote against their best interests this November. I am afraid that Bill Clinton's words will fade or will remain unheard. Did enough voters truly hear him this evening? Did he make an indelible impression?
By the way, I watched Clinton speak with two of my four grandchildren. And aren't they what all of this is about?