Charles Krauthammer's chonic dyspepsia never disappoints; accordingly Bill Clinton's speech went down for Charles as "sprawling, undisciplined and truly self-indulgent." I'll take Politico's network-surveying word for it, though: Krauthammer's Bubba-disapproval was essentially singular.
MSNBC's Lawrence O’Donnell thought Clinton's speech was pure "magic" and bipolar Ed Schultz was "giddy" (Schultz has two emotional gears: giddy and despairing), while Fox's Brit Hume crooned that "Nobody does it better." But it was GOP strategist Alex Castellanos, on CNN, who set the bar of convention-coverage hyperbole at a dizzying new high:
Lock the doors, you don’t have to come back tomorrow. This convention is done. This will be the moment that probably reelected Barack Obama. Bill Clinton saved the Democratic Party once. It was going too far left, he came in as the new Democrat and took it to the center. He did it again tonight.
The biochemistry of momentary passion does strange things to the brain, including, apparently, altering history. Or at least I, for one, missed those days, weeks, or possibly months and even years of the Obama administration "going too far left." Did the far-leftist moment come in President Obama's passage of a Heritage Foundation-conceived healthcare plan? Did it come in the auto bailout, for which the Bush administration had opened the door? Did it come in stimulus spending, which Republican presidents have repeatedly pushed in their own slumping economies? Did it come in Obama's executive reprieve of undocumented youth, which congressional Republicans, once, also supported? Are these profoundly moderate acts, singly or collectively, what Castellanos had in mind as not just leftist, and not just far leftist, but as too far leftist?
Bill Clinton hardly "took" his party back "to the center" last night, thus saving it. What he did do was package, in that unique Clintonian way, the many commonly circulating but regrettably scattered Democratic critiques of GOP mendacity into a tidy bundle of quotable quotes and usable soundbites. He took his party nowhere new. He only clarified it.
As for being "the moment that probably reelected Barack Obama," well, my goodness, oh dear; the embarrassment of blurting I love you! before its time. Someone get Alex a towel so he can wipe his fevered forehead.
First, endorsements are perhaps the most overrated trinkets in politics. Second, Clinton "magically" campaigned for congressional Dems prior to the apocalyptic slaughter of 2010, remember? Enough said. Third, President Obama will most likely continue campaigning--notwithstanding Bill Clinton's heroic salvation last night--and he'll do so because voters vote for or against presidents, not former presidents. And fourth, as I mentioned earlier, a Bubba-endorsement simply will not turn the heads of organically racist blue-collar whites, who, outside of Wall Streeters, are just about the only demographic that President Obama lacks in his corner.
So, was Clinton's a magnificent speech? Absolutely. Will it improve Obama's already excellent chances? Absolutely, no.