Bill Clinton is typically described as the empathetic, feel-your-pain guy. But his greatest political skill may be as a formulator of arguments — the explainer in chief.
At the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night, he did not disappoint, boiling down Mitt Romney’s case to one sentence: “In Tampa,” Clinton said, “the Republican argument against the president’s reelection was actually pretty simple, pretty snappy. . . . ‘We left him a total mess, he hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.’ ” He cast the philosophical differences between the parties just as crisply. Republicans, he said, believe in a “winner-take-all, you’re-on-your-own society,” while Democrats seek “a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibility — a we’re-all-in-this-together society.”
That Clinton, the cheerful political educator, played such a central role at this conclave reflected the extent to which it should be seen as a three-day tutorial designed not only to defend President Obama’s economic stewardship but also to advance a view of government for which, over the past 40 years, Democrats have often apologized.