Tuesday, July 27, 2004


BOSTON--Since he left office, when Bill Clinton speaks, I feel myself start to smile at the same time that I experience a profound sense of sadness. For after all that was the Clinton presidency, how did it come to this? (This being complete marginalization of the Democratic Party after yielding eight pretty prosperous during its last turn in the White House.)

Clinton remains a maddening figure to me; much like a family member with a major character defect whom you just can't help loving too much. (Yeah, I'm already feeling the results of missing this week's therapy appointment.)

Bill gave a good speech last night; he always does. (I had already seen the preview of the "Send me" riff in his post-primary address to a Democratic fundraising dinner in Washington last March.) His best line: "Strength and wisdom are not conflicting values..."

He also did a great job explaining the US economic relationship with China and Japan, asking how can the US hope to enforce fair trade laws with these competitors, when they're now the bankers who finance our deficit.

Was also nice to hear him give a nod to the candidates' "wonderful wives": Teresa Heinz Kerry and Elizabeth Edwards.

Yet, when it was all over, I felt a bit underwhelmed, even after Patti LaBelle's stunning rendition of "A Change is Gonna Come". The energy just isn't here. It all feels a little flat.

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