The theme of former President Bill Clinton‘s nomination speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention was cooperation. He praised President Obama‘s attitude of “constructive cooperation” and praised the cooperative attitudes of many Republicans he has worked with, while lambasting the far right Republicans who “seem to hate” President Obama.
In Tampa a few days ago, we heard a lot of talk. Oh, about how the President and the Democrats don’t really believe in free enterprise and individual initiative. How we want everybody to be dependent on the government. How bad we are for the economy. This Republican narrative, its alternative universe, says that every one of us in this room who amounts to anything, we’re all completely self-made.
One of the greatest chairmen the Democratic Party ever had, Bob Strauss, used to say that every politician wants every voter to believe he was born in a log cabin he built himself. Strauss then admitted it ain’t so. We Democrats, we think the country works better with a strong middle class, with real opportunities for poor folks to work their way into it, with a relentless focus on the future, with business and government actually working together to promote growth and broadly-shared prosperity. We believe that “We’re all in this together” is a far better philosophy than “You’re on your own.”
Though I often disagree with Republicans, I actually never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate our President and a lot of other Democrats. That would be impossible for me because President Eisenhower sent federal troops to my home state to integrate Little Rock Central High School. President Eisenhower built the interstate highway system.
When I was a governor I worked with President Reagan at the White House on the first round of welfare reform and with President H.W. Bush on national education goals. I’m actually very grateful … I have to be grateful and you should be too, that President George W. Bush supported PEPFAR. It saved the lives of million of people in poor countries. I have been honored to work with both Presidents Bush on national disasters, in the aftermath of the south Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, the horrible earthquake in Haiti … we focus on solving problems and seizing opportunities and not fighting all the time … what works in the real world is cooperation. What works in the real world is cooperation.
Why does cooperation work better than constant conflict? Because nobody is right all the time and a broken clock is right twice a day. Every one of us and every one of them. We’re compelled to spend our fleeting lives between those two extremes … unfortunately the faction that now dominates the Republican party does not see it that way. They think government is always the enemy, they’re always right and compromise is weakness.
One reason we ought to reelect President Obama is that he is still committed to constructive cooperation.
Clinton also got off a joke that brought the house down (and a blush to the cheeks of the First Lady) — “After last night, I want a man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.”
want Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States and I
proudly nominate him to be the standard bearer of the Democratic party,” Clinton announces.
What did you think of the former President’s speech?