Bill_Clinton

DNC Blog: Bill Clinton Misses The Mark?

DNC Guest Blog Post #2 From the League of Young Voters:

The tone of last night’s Democratic National Convention was quite different than Tuesday’s performances.  Way more somber than the inspirational speeches that motivated progressive activists the night before, the Dems rolled out individuals like Senatorial Candidate Elizabeth Warren, Costco co-founder Jim Sinegal, and Planned Parenthood boss Cecile Richards to, remind attendees that the party is filled with high ideals and intellectual rigor. 

Of course no Democrat, except for maybe Barack Obama, personifies that dual perspective better than Bill Clinton. 

Remember Bill Clinton? You know, the affable former governor of Arkansas whose 1992 presidential campaign was so soulful that many people of color started calling him the first black president.

Well, last night he took the stage with the sole purpose of dismantling the economic arguments put forth by President Obama’s competitors.  While his message was powerful, thought provoking and rooted in facts, its focus on middle class prosperity missed the mark.

Repeatedly reminding audiences that they were better off than they were four years ago, Clinton and his fellow speakers virtually ignored the hard to ignore reality that poor people, young people, and people of color are by all statistical measures way worse off than they were prior to Obama taking office. While the former president rightly pointed out that many of the problems impacting everyday people may have been exacerbated by Bush’s failed economic policies, the failure to acknowledge the struggles of the poor, further marginalizes populations that have been hurting since Clinton went on the Arsenio Hall Show to play his saxophone.

And that’s the struggle with Democrats.  While the party is strengthened by its diversity, far too often it fails to come to grips with the fact that they have often embraced the neo-liberal policies that have weakened the public safety net.  Heck, while in office, even Bill Clinton defunded AFDC, deregulated the banking industry, and sent more black men to prison than any other time in the history of the United States.

So unlike the night before, last night’s speeches unfortunately failed to connect to the masses. Although the Democrats are clearly not Republicans, their failure to address the needs of the working poor could be their downfall this election cycle. While many Americans are starting to see the light at the end of the proverbial recession tunnel, no speech, no matter how fact filled, can erase the fact that many of us are way worse off than we were four years ago.

Hopefully Barack Obama won’t make this same mistake tonight.

          Rob “Biko” Baker, Executive Director, League of Young Voters Education Fund

Here is Bill Clinton’s speech in full.

About Robert “Biko” Baker:

The Executive Director of the League of Young Voters Education Fund, Rob “Biko” Baker is a nationally recognized leader. He has organized town hall meetings and used social networking to motivate young people to get involved in the civic process. Baker has served as the deputy publicity coordinator and young voter organizer for the Brown and Black Presidential Forum. He has appeared on MSNBC, C-SPAN, Fox News and CNN and has interviewed luminaries Cornell West, Russell Simmons and Howard Dean to name a few. He has also written a number of articles for America’s biggest online publications, including HuffingtonPost.com, GlobalGrind.com, VIBE, The Source and The Nation.

  • Teron

    Some of this has to do with the underlining racism the African-American community is facing. We all know the Republicans main goal (said 2 years ago) was not to stimulate the economy, it was to make our President a One Term President. I copied Governor Deval Patrick (Governor of Massachusetts who succeeded Mitt Romney), He said the following when they asked him about his remarks on the president being bullied:

    “It’s not about the election i’m talking about.
    It’s about being in the midst of an economic meltdown.
    It’s about the minority leader in the Senate
    And one of the most prominent members of the Republic party say that
    the number 1 agenda of the Republicans is to make this a one term president.
    What we must not tolerate and what we must reject is a behavior in the congress.
    And I’d say the same thing i’m telling you if democrats were behaving this way.

    A behavior in the congress by congressional republicans that simply says “we’re gonna say no, not because we disagree on substance, and not because we have historically opposed a point of view, but because we want to embarrass and defeat and diminish THIS president” And to have that be an idea that anybody would reward, especially at a time of crisis, is what I think part of this election is about. ”

    My point being: A lot of these corporations have the money to hire and create jobs, but they are obviously holding back and definitely giving blacks a hard time just b/c our President is black. They won’t say that, they’ll just call it “Politics” PAY ATTENTION.

    As young people, we need to educate ourselves. Nobody says you have to be a political guru, just research the facts for yourself.
    Follow Me: (@TeronTheDon)

  • dominicancoke

    You can talk all that political talk if you want all I know is that I consider clinton the best president ever I mean we had so much in common during his presedency I was smoking weed he smoked weed I was getting head from my baby moms and side chick he was getting head from his baby moms and side chick

    • toreal

      lol

  • Mike Thompson

    Though I understand the author’s point and accept that it stems directly from a sincere love for the poor in this country I must say the speech didn’t miss the mark. In the end the population that you are referring to isn’t a strong enough voting bloc to dictate the kind of pointed speech that the author wanted. In the end we are in crunchtime with the election, this is a delicate balance where the DNC must remind the middle class to come out otherwise the poor will not be taken care of. The republicans have painted the democrats as promoting a welfare society. The republicans are attempting to convince the middle class that a releection of Obama will mean more tax dollars going to “poor” people. Their spin on this is to argue our tax dollars get wasted on these “failed” social programs. The democrats know this to be a lie but the middle class are still receptive to this lie. For example, unemployment amongst blacks is in the double digits (15-16%) whereas for whites its in single digits. Notice how Obama was able to extend unemployment benefits only when the unemployment for whites hit 8%. Im arguing here that it wasn’t a problem until the burn of unemployment reached the middle class. It wasn’t important enough when blacks reached 8% unemployment. So the democrats must work with this known favortism towards the middle and rich when it comes to social programs. Any benefit they hope to get for the poor must be tied to some benefit for the middle class otherwise theres no support. Clinton’s speech captured that issue by attacking with vigor the economic issue of 4 years ago. He needed to remind people that the middle class was hurt’n bad 4 years ago (and if they’re hurting that bad imagine what the poor goes through). Having Bill Clinton speak directly to the poor gives republican ammo to lie that Obama is just going to remove “work” from welfare. It’s like saying Obama can’t connect to the people because he doesn’t highlight the poverty and jobless numbers in the black community. He has to capture the greater voting bloc in order to make the kind of change we want for the poor. The speech to me accomplishes this goal by ensuring the middle class that “this guy has your best interest”. Let us not rush progress because we want it spoken more directly to , lets get the man re-elected so he can use the 2nd “carefree” term to accomplish the things we want done.

    • Freedom Scott King

      Hell no, this speech didn’t miss the mark. Are you crazy? Do you realize that the campaign asked him to stick to a certain point and script, but bill generously gave you an extra 23 minutes of real shyt, real problems, real metaphors, and real conversation against the networks intensions. You sound crazy, Bill Clinton literally gave a speech that he legally should not have given. He had my whole family saying “bring Bill back”. “Bring bill back”. Even my one republican Aunt agreed in a sarcastic way. How much can he say in 48 minutes, stop bustin his balls!!!!!!!

  • Shalove2

    Did you actually watch the convention last night? I don’t even like Bill Clinton and I know that it was a masterful speech. The point was not that the middle class is doing better now then they were then but that because of the policies of President Obama we have avoided a much worst crisis. The point on Clinton’s speech was to reach those White working class independents that voted for him but did not vote for Obama.

  • Freedom Scott King

    Hell no, this speech didn’t miss the mark. Are you crazy? Do you realize that the campaign asked him to stick to a certain point and script, but bill generously gave you an extra 23 minutes of real shyt, real problems, real metaphors, and real conversation against the networks intensions. You sound crazy, Bill Clinton literally gave a speech that he legally should not have given. He had my whole family saying “bring Bill back”. “Bring bill back”. Even my one republican Aunt agreed in a sarcastic way. How much can he say in 48 minutes, stop bustin his balls!!!!!!!

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  • jamaicanbornanbread

    are u a republican…….i bet u jerk off to bill o’ riley….shut da fuk up…before obama clinton was the closest thing to a black president…..u saying we were better off with bush….i dnt know who dick u sucked to post this garbage…….the problem with ppl like u and dat cumbucket manaj…..ya’ll steady trying to impress these crackers by benedict arnold ur own kind…go back to serving massa dat mint julip…..phucking sellout

  • TruthSerum

    I think you missed the biggest point Clinton made. Its not necessarily about praising Obama as it was a reminder that a majority of the problems we face now we’re sparked by the Bush administration and how Obama, while still having a lot of work to do, may have saved us from an even worse scenario with his victory in 08. I think that’s the message he was trying to convey and I think mot people saw that.

    As far as your facts about Clinton trying to degrade his 8 years in power, they are all true but the good he did far outweighs the bad. I wont go into detail but my families life was much more comfortable when he was serving then its been since and likely will be again. I think the man was a great president no matter how many statistics you pull up.

  • Macie Hill

    Bill Clinton Miss the Mark?,,,,, your kidding right?

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