The appeal of Bill Clinton – and, undoubtedly the reason he was tapped for the primetime, keynote DNC address Wednesday night – is his perceived popularity, crossover appeal and, particularly, his credibility on economic matters and the bipartisanship associated with his administration. Clinton, strategists hope, helps to sell an Obama reelection to undecided voters worried about the current president’s handling of the economy and the partisan rancor for which he shares responsibility.
It’s ironic, though, because Barack Obama’s Democratic Party bears faint resemblance to Bill Clinton’s. President Obama has helped to shape a far more progressive agenda – particularly on economics – and presides over a far more leftward Democratic Party, which also controls the Senate.
As Peter Boyer wrote for a cover story in Newsweek, “Conservative and centrist Democrats, so critical to Clinton’s efforts to reform welfare, balance the budget and erase the image of the party as being reflexively anti-business, have nearly vanished.”