While most of the Obama-loving media gushed and fawned over former President Bill Clinton's nomination speech at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday night, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer was singularly unimpressed.
Appearing on Fox News shortly after the speech's conclusion, Krauthammer called it "a giant swing and a miss" as well as "a wasted opportunity."
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, I think I’m going respectfully dissent from the panel. I think it was a giant swing and a miss. Mighty Casey - and Bill Clinton is “The Natural” - struck out on this. I don't think it would move the needle whatsoever. Look, it had all the classic Clinton elements: it was engaging; it was humorous; in some cases, it was generous. I think there more mentions of the Bushes than I heard in three days in Tampa. But on the other hand, it was also vintage Clinton in that it was sprawling, undisciplined, and truly self-indulgent.
This is one of the strangest nomination speeches I think ever given. It was a kind of an amalgam between the State of the Union address, a policy wonk seminar, and what sounded to me like a campaign speech for a third Clinton term. Obama was sort of incidental. He’d be shoved in every once in a while in the speech as a way to say, “Well, he thinks as I do.”
You know, Megyn, you raised a point about Clinton saying, “I believe that no other president could have done this or done any better than this, or quicker.” But, remember, the slogan of Obama in ’08 was “Yes We Can.” And as was mentioned earlier, you heard in the Elizabeth Warren speech, it was a sort of denunciation of the miserable conditions in America today, and that’s the kind of speech you would have expected four years ago running against the Republicans. There was no recognition whatsoever that the current conditions are the result and they're on the watch of the Obama administration.
And one last point: it is true that he made a lot of detailed rebuttals - that he’s sort of the Rebuttler-in-Chief – on most of the stuff heard in Tampa, but Paul Ryan can handle all of that in ten minutes in his debate. So, I think it was a wasted opportunity of what could have been a great, stirring, rousing endorsement of Obama. […]
I think there is a value in the hall and among the believers that this was an important event. It’s the laying on of hands of the grand old man. Look, Clinton is to Democrats what Reagan, after his presidency, was to Republicans, you know, an icon, and I think there is a kind of symbolism in Clinton saying - particularly because he was centrist, Obama is not - “He's okay, support him," etc. But, I don't think it has any resonance beyond the hall. And that’s why I think it was a missed opportunity. It could have been a tight speech. It could have been an Obama-oriented speech.
And I think there’s one great irony here: think about how long Obama was hiding behind the curtains waiting for Clinton to finish. In some way, it was the Clinton revenge for ’08. I’m sure he was sort of tapping his watch the whole time in disbelief about how long it was going on, and in a way it was Clinton keeping people waiting, as he always does, except this time, it was a man he was supposedly endorsing and promoting.