In a speech many observers are calling ”controversial,” Bill Clinton began his keynote speech in support of his wife’s candidacy by telling the story of their courtship years. “In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” Clinton said. The reason some political analysts thought it was a risky move was because of the very good chance it might stir up some of the love story’s many rocky moments – Bill’s numerous betrayals and infidelities.
Nevertheless, the former president, in a long-winded narrative, went on to tell the story of Bill and Hill. He spoke of how they met at Yale Law School; how he couldn’t work up the nerve to ask her out; how he proposed marriage three times before she finally succumbed; how he bought a small house in Arkansas, which Hillary had had her eye on, that finally helped seal the deal.
Of course, Bill went on to talk about all the great things Hillary accomplished after law school and beyond. He talked about how she devoted herself to the public good and became the champion of ordinary people. He dwelled on her tenacity, her smarts, her organizational skills and her accomplishmensts. He said of his wife, “She’s the best darn change maker I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
While some political analysts, including Rachel Maddow, thought the start of Bill’s speech was odd and atypical for the gifted speaker, fellow MSNBC analyst, Joy Reid, thought it was perfect. It was Reid’s contention that Bill was targeting a specific demographic that tends to vote Republican – white, married women. The strategy was to humanize Hillary in the eyes of this voting group. What better way than to learn about the early years of perhaps the most famous and talked about couple in political history?
Bill Clinton ended his speech by pointing out how Republicans have portrayed Hillary as “a cartoon” and not a real person.
“They’re running against a cartoon. Cartoons are two-dimensional, they’re easy to absorb. Life in the real world is complicated and real change is hard, and a lot of people even think it’s boring,” said Bill Clinton. Not for Hillary the “change maker,” of course.
Bill Clinton is not only a master communicator but also a great political strategist.
Will Bill’s gambit of trying to humanize Hillary with their “love story”resonate among undecided voters or even some Hillary haters? This remains to be seen and won’t be known until after the convention and the start of targeted polling.
My bet is that the next possible “First Gentleman” got it right. We’re all suckers for love stories.
Photo | freep.com