Clinton and the Vetters

So BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith is reporting that the convention speech vetting operation has yet to receive (as of yesterday, at least) a draft of Bill Clinton’s Wednesday address. Smith suggests that is making the vetters “nervous.” I don’t know if this is some sort of attempted parallel to the Eastwood fiasco in Tampa, but if so, it’s not a good one.

Clinton has always been a late speech noodler, to put it mildly. He is also (like Barack Obama) a very good wordsmith on his own account. And he’s got an awful lot to cover on Wednesday, in what could turn out to be a speech as important as the incumbent’s.

There was an incident during one of Clinton’s State of the Union Addresses (can’t remember which one) where the teleprompters went down for a good twenty minutes. He did not miss a beat. I’d be shocked if he did so in Charlotte. Republicans this year are battling to trash his legacy even as they seek to coopt it and pretend that Mitt Romney will restore the “reforms” Obama has abandoned. He will almost certainly climb onto the podium with a head of vengeful steam. So Team Obama should be patient and let it build.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.