Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Expect Bill Clinton's speech to bring down the house.

I think we can expect a tough-as-nails, bring-down-the-house speech from former President Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.

Here's why:

James Bennet notes the following unguarded aside by Karl Rove to the Washington elite's stenographer, Mike Allen. Rove was unsurprisingly comfortable enough to say the following about a chat with Mitch Daniels:

And I said, 'Mitch, is there a white Democrat south of Indianapolis who's supporting Obama who's not a college professor in Bloomington?' [Laughter] And he stopped for a minute over his green beans and says, 'Not that I can think of.'

You know, Indiana's gone.

The simple assumption of racial politics as the driver of campaigns is what's striking. Karl Rove became what he is - a persistent whitehead on the face of American politics - because he learned the art of race-baiting politics in the South. Romney - having given up on Lainos and blacks and gays - is now betting the bank on the white resentment that has been fast losing potency since the 1990s. Which is where Bill Clinton comes in. He is used in that ad. His speech at the DNC should take on this lie aggressively, call Romney personally on it, and demand that the lie end. No one has more cred on this than Clinton. He should punch hard.

In many ways, this is the biggest moment in Bill Clinton's post-presidential life. Killing racial wedge politics would be a fitting finale to his life's work on that subject.