I enjoyed hearing Bill Clinton speak a lot more than I thought I would. And, without going into a lengthily psychoanalysis of his upbringing and why he likely chose to marry a domineering sort of woman, my amateur impression is that he is much different than his wife. And, as much as I will suffer should his wife find herself getting elected as president, I smile thinking of Bill having the run of the White House again, and getting into mischief. I think it would be entertaining.
What is often lost in political diatribes is the fact that Bill Clinton is a very smart man. Book smart. Yes, he let his little head rule too often, and yes, he and his wife are conniving, murderous, opportunistic manipulators - but that takes a bit of intelligence to pull off. Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar, studied at Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale. He is extremely well spoken - and, having been the president, has a great many names to drop and tales to tell. It was a pleasure listening to him, though he does not, at all, shy away from tooting his own horn.
Interestingly, Clinton spoke of both presidents Bush by name, but never even alluded to the current president. He spoke of Boehner and Pelosi, spoke of world leaders past and present, spoke of current events and political challenges, but never said a word that remotely referenced Obama. Waking up this morning to the news that Hillary intends to announce her candidacy this weekend has me wondering if Bill's omission was a hint of a separation strategy related to her campaign.
Clinton bit his lip, got teary eyed, smiled that sly grin. He chuckled and had that twinkle in his eye, though it was hard to ignore how much he has aged. Aged well, but aged. He even made a comment that "youth matters", which led me to wonder if Hillary's campaign had screened his remarks.
I imagine it is difficult to adjust a speech to the median intelligence of a room that spans such a wide spectrum of people. When Bill spoke of spending $3 billion of "your money" to sequence the human genome, the lady sitting in front of me turned to her friend and asked what a genome was. He did touch on climate change, but also commented, "There is nothing wrong with fracking technology." But, no matter what he spoke of, one thing remained as the common thread. Bill Clinton is optimistic and hopeful about America and the world. My boss, a staunch conservative, often says that he once heard Clinton say, "Never bet against America", and that piece of advice is a mantra to live by. After listening to Bill speak, I believe that, no matter his faults, he does love his country and has faith that our problems can be solved if people will work together - traits that our current president is lacking.