Gush about brilliant Bill Clinton: Last night, after Bill Clinton’s address, Lawrence and Chris started gushing.
Before we recall what they’ve said in the past, let’s review what Matthews said about Clinton’s manifest brilliance:
MADDOW (9/5/12): Chris, when you were hearing the arguments laid out by President Clinton, were you hearing him augment the existing message of the Obama campaign or was he doing a whole different thing? Was he running his own Clinton-for-Obama campaign?We agree that Clinton did a very good job. (It's about time somebody did!) But Matthews joined a great many others in suggesting that Clinton explained some very difficult topics—things which are hard to explain.
MATTHEWS: Well, I thought that it is as if Bill Clinton was the best staffer President Obama has, because he went out and got the numbers.
He really did the arithmetic tonight in a way that I thought the president and none of the people around the president have been able to do. Arithmetic is a good word, by the way. It reminds us of grade school, elementary school. It doesn’t intimidate us.
We can figure things out ourselves. When you talk about how Bill Clinton balanced the budget and held the debt down and actually reduced the national debt during his second term, you have to wonder. All he did was look at spending and revenue and did the logical choices, whereas W. came in and did the opposite, starting a couple of wars, cutting taxes, going Wrong Way Corrigan in both directions of revenue and spending.
So it seems so logical when Bill talks.
That really isn’t the case, except within the context of a press corps which can’t explain squat or squadoodle. Can’t explain squat—or won’t try.
(See our next post, about one especially pathetic CNN fact-check last night.)
In coming days, we’ll go over a few of the topics Clinton explained last night. In truth, these topics aren’t real hard to explain. They’re just hard to explain for people like Matthews, and for the rest of the hacks.
Having said that, did you notice the change in the weather from Chris and Lawrence, two long-standing Clinton-haters? In his first chance to speak, this is what the brilliant O’Donnell said from the convention floor:
MADDOW: Let’s bring on Lawrence O’Donnell, who is in the convention hall. Lawrence, tell us your experience of the speech, what you saw there.Even here, Lawrence couldn’t quite make himself say that Clinton had given a very good speech. He went straight to a standard old scripted concern: Bill Clinton talked too long!
O'DONNELL: Well, Rachel, I think one of the concerns that the Obama team has to have is what was the effect of the speech outside of this hall, where it went more than a half-hour longer than it was scheduled to go.
It was one of those Clinton tests of a television audience attention span. He used to do this sometimes with State of the Union addresses that many of us thought went too long. But then on Bill Clinton`s longest State of the Union address, when the pundit opinion was unanimous that it had gone far too long and he had lost the audience, he got his biggest poll jump ever from a State of the Union address, which was the longest one he ever gave.
Lawrence is a squirrel. His mind drifted back to one of the three million times when numbskulls like him swore that President Clinton had bombed, only to learn different.
(Please note: O’Donnell said “the public opinion” was unanimous that Clinton went too long in that famous State of the Union address. That claim is absurdly inaccurate. In instant polling of the address, public opinion was very positive. It was insider pundits, fools like O’Donnell, who insisted that Clinton had spoken too long.)
Still and all, as O’Donnell continued, even he was forced to admit that Clinton had given a good speech. As he closed, he referred to “the magic of the speech,” the way Clinton had “improved that speech beyond what was written for him.”
Even that was passive-aggressive, of course. (Clinton didn't write his speech!) But do you remember what Lawrence used to say about big dumb-ass Clinton? Back in the day, Clinton was always been the dumbest guy in the room! See THE DAILY HOWLER, 9/5/12:
O'DONNELL (3/6/03): In my experience being in the Oval Office with Bill Clinton, he knew about an index card worth of material.O’Donnell is one of the genuine fools of the past several decades. But last night, even this inveterate Clinton-hater knew that he was being paid to rein his pomposity in.
I'll put it this way. I was never in a meeting with Bill Clinton and senators where Bill Clinton was not the single most ignorant person in the room. And I don't say that as a criticism; that's the way it's—that's normal. He's from out of town. He's just coming from a governorship. He didn't have Medicare under his jurisdiction in Arkansas. He didn't have Social Security. He didn't have trade. So they don't know anything.
These governors that we make president—you know, it's like taking the president of Avis and making him the president to Warner Bros. What do you think he knows on the first day? Nothing. And, you know— But the image that Clinton easily achieved was that he knew more than most presidents. That's because up against the White House press corps, that's a really easy thing to achieve because no one's allowed three follow-up questions in a row. If they were, you'd discover that, “Hmm, I guess he has that one rap on Medicare, but he doesn't have anything else, does he?”
In his own first statement last night, Matthews gushed about the way Clinton “beat up the other side. There is no other phrase for it,” Matthews said. “He took down all the Republican arguments on welfare, on Medicare.”
Remember how angry Chris used to get when “the Clintons” engaged in such conduct? For one small example from 2008, see this second post from yesterday's DAILY HOWLER.
In that post, we reviewed some things Matthews said in 2008, when he was still a reliable hater of all things Clinton and Gore.
Under the new corporate structure, O’Donnell and Matthews have finally flipped. They’ve moved away from many years of deeply destructive Clinton/Gore-hating.
After Clinton’s very good speech, Lawrence was still a bit passive-aggressive. After pretending those topics were hard, Matthews was willing to gush.