BILL Clinton, don't get me wrong, was the best speaker Wednesday night. But that is largely because the rest of the evening was atrocious.
Clinton was hoarse, and seemed to holler for no reason at all.
He decried those meanie Republicans of today (the favorite ploy of partisan Democrats is to praise every Republican no longer in office), and he repeated the tropes that Republicans want you to be on your own, want a "winner-take-all" society and want to help only the rich.
At times his defense of President Obama strained credulity: Obama, he said, is bipartisan because he hired Republicans in government jobs and he is willing to work "cooperatively."
The Obama record is so obviously at odds with that sentiment (unilateral action on immigration and on welfare and the refusal to make a deal on entitlements or address the fiscal cliff) that Clinton's argument seemed unserious.
At his most effective, Clinton said no president could have fixed in four years the economy that Obama inherited. And he extolled the belief that America "always comes back."
Unfortunately, Obama promised to fix the economy in his first term. And the Obama recovery is the weakest in history.
The comparison between the two presidents' records was obvious, leaving one to consider if Clinton's mere presence was a reminder of Obama's weaknesses.
Like every other Democratic speaker, Clinton ignored the appalling increase in poverty under this president, a cynical betrayal of liberals' supposed concern for the poor. No empathy or bitten lip is shown for them, or for the more than 8 percent of unemployed Americans (and millions more underemployed or who have stopped looking for work).
The actual results of Obama's policies are a sticky matter, so better to let him defend that himself.
Clinton's Medicare spiel was downright disingenuous, claiming that Obama's $716 billion in Medicare cuts don't affect benefits. But of course, payments to providers will be cut, making treatment less accessible, and a quarter of Medicare Advantage patients will be dropped from the program.
And his welfare explanation was, bluntly, incoherent. He claimed that governors wanted waivers to have recipients work more.
When he said, "Did I make myself clear?" honest listeners would surely have said, "No!"