Monday, January 07, 2008

The Clinton Rocks

At Captain's Quarters Ed Morrissey posts Bill Not Holding Their Interest, Either

Morrissey says: Earlier today, I noted that Hillary Clinton has a problem holding the interest of her audiences. Surprisingly, the New York Times reports that her husband has had the same problem of late. Fatigue seems to be the issue, but who's getting tired of whom?

Is this what it would have been like had Elvis been reduced to playing Reno?

Former President Bill Clinton has been drawing sleepy and sometimes smallish crowds at big venues in the state that revived his presidential campaign in 1992. He entered to polite applause and rows of empty seats at the University of New Hampshire on Friday. Several people filed out midspeech, and the room was largely quiet as he spoke, with few interruptions for laughter or applause. He talked about his administration, his foundation work and some about his wife.

“Hillary’s got good plans,” Mr. Clinton kept saying as he worked through a hoarse-voiced litany of why his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, is a “world-class change agent.” He urged his audience to “caucus” on Tuesday for Mrs. Clinton, before correcting himself (“vote”). He took questions, quickly worked a rope line and left.

Maybe the sluggish day was a blip. It was, in fairness, the day after Mrs. Clinton finished third in the Iowa caucuses, behind Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and John Edwards of North Carolina. Mr. Clinton was working on 30 minutes’ sleep. He traveled to New Hampshire from Iowa in the wee hours, and the university was on winter break.

But there was a similarly listless aura at the previous stop, in Rochester. And again, on Saturday in Bow, at just the sort of high school gym that the master campaigner used to blow out. Only about 225 showed up in Bow — about one-third the capacity of the room — to hear Mr. Clinton hit his bullet points on the subprime lending crisis, $100 barrels of oil and how “10 of Hillary’s fellow senators have endorsed her.”
The Hillary campaign can't figure out how to use Bill. When he talks about Hillary, the crowds go limp.

When he talks about himself, people respond -- and they compare Hillary to Bill. Mark Leibovich reports that Bill has attempted to de-celebritize himself by making his speeches more quickly and with less charisma so as to keep from outshining his wife.

But what does Bill offer outside of his charisma and his celebrity?

Could anyone have predicted that Bill couldn't get a room more than one-third full anywhere in New Hampshire the week before its primary?[...]

There's more to Morrissey's post here.


The Iowa results and now predictions for tomorrow's vote in New Hampshire have understandably rocked Hillary's seemingly inevitable march to the Dem's presidential nomination.

But what about Bill ( "He rocks") Clinton?

Shouldn't he be packing the rooms?

What's this about people walking out on Bill in mid-speech?

I think at least some of it may have somethng to do with what a friend told me a few years ago.

My friend was at a national trade association convention where Clinton was the featured speaker. The association had been touting for months how lucky it was to snag Clinton (luck and a six-figure speaking fee did it).

Everyone at the convention was urged to "be there early" to hear the former president. A SRO crowd was expected.

Comes the day and the hour for the "rock star quality" Clinton to speak and the hall, my friend said, was about two-thirds full.

There was some audience shuffling and talking while Clinton spoke and some people slipped out.

My friend said convention goers who didn't attend the Clinton event said things that amounted to "I've been listening to him for years." Many acknowledged being Clinton admirers but they were going to pass on what they viewed as "same old, same old."

I wonder if we're starting to see something like that on the campaign trail.

One thing's for sure: If something like that is already underway, the Dem dominated MSM will be the last to tell us what the stay-aways in New Hampshire may already be telling us.

The last word to Ed Morrissey, one of the best bloggers out there:

Barack Obama continues to inspire. He's the Bill Clinton in this race, and Hillary has become Dick Gephardt.
What do you folks think?


Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Mr. Obama has the ability to surf on the favorable-publicity wave, based on very few substantial policy proposals but unlimited clouds of glib feel-good rhetoric. From the beginning of this grossly extended campaign season, he's been a creation of mass media, and has yet to face any serious or hostile questions from his interlocutors.

Yes, he has the capability to inspire an audience that's sick of the endless MSM brutality aimed at the established Washington crowd, particularly the Bush administration, but also to a lesser extent aimed at the entitlement-mongers of the Clinton machine.

He'll prevail with the young idealists who in an earlier generation swarmed after George McGovern on the basis of sensitive feelings and little experience of the more serious aspects of government, business, foreign affairs and national defense. His silly notion of invading Pakistan was one of the few candid peeks we've had into his lack of experience and common sense.

For the moment, his gaseous emissions of a loving and peaceful future will continue to stoke the fires of fawning reporters. He will be a superb target, however, for an opposing candidate who lives in the real world.