Clinton’s Egoistic Sublime

What I love about Clinton is his skill as a both teacher and preacher. He made a better practical case for Obama’s reelection than any of Obama’s surrogates or Obama himself has managed to as of yet–arithmetic. Just reminding voters how many of those Medicaid dollars that Romney/Ryan propose to slash are underwriting middle class seniors’ nursing home expenses and paying for services for disabled children could be a game changer.

First he appeals to our common sense and our pocket books, then he reminds us of our better natures. “If you want a you’re on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket,” he says. “If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a ‘we’re all in it together’ society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”

But what really slayed me was his peroration–when he said how everyone who ever bet against America lost their shirts. You can knock us down, he said, but we always get back up. It was the egoistic sublime, as I think Coleridge put it. America is me and I am you–we are every last one of us the Come Back Kid. Especially Barack Obama.

I’m not sure what it says about me, but it moved me to tears. He seems to have gotten under his wife’s skin too, who was captured watching him speak from halfway around the world. Don’t know what that says about her either, but the look on her face strikes me as Mona Lisa-esque.

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4 thoughts on “Clinton’s Egoistic Sublime

  1. I’ve long been interested in the art of speech making and how it can influence an audience/nation. I confess I haven’t heard Clinton’s speech but will look it up soon enough. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I am clearly tone deaf when it comes to the appeal of Bill Clinton. If he wagged that finger and said, “Now, listen, this is important,” one more time, I was going to shriek. He is powerful, but in the end, it’s all about him and it often undermines the person he is “supporting,” be it Gore, Hillary, or…I fear, Obama. The way he ran over and left a brief moment for Obama to join him was classic. That should have been a strong coming together of past and present. Instead it was rushed, perfunctory, and basically, a way of getting him off the damn stage. But for the party’s sake, I’m glad it works for people.

  3. Back when he was president I was often astounded by how well his State of the Union addresses went over. Last night, he had me in the palm of his hand. I was thinking that if this was 150 years ago, or Communist Cuba or something, he might have gone on for several more hours (Castro spoke for more than seven hours at the 1986 Communist Party Congress, or so I read on the Internet). I was also thinking, how is it that we (or me anyway) forgive this guy, with all we know about him? I imagine future students of history pondering the same question. I truly think that much more than his genius for explanation and salesmanship, it goes to the very heart of who we are as a country. The man is part Elvis, part Lincoln. Someone posted a picture of Hillary in Asia, watching the speech on a computer–the look on her face is absolutely priceless. I’ve added it to the post above.

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