Bill Clinton transitioned from political rock star to legendary supernova in forty-eight electrifying minutes on Wednesday night.
The former president in his nomination speech for President Barack Obama very likely changed the dynamics of the reelection campaign from blasé to blazing. With folksy mannerisms, wonky statistics and easy charm, Clinton rocked the Democratic National Convention and made Republicans sigh a big “Uh oh.”
Only Clinton can make a crowd applaud and cheer about statistics like they’re at a rock concert. Only Clinton, the master of political persuasion, can go off script, throw a back-handed Arkansas jab at Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan and make the arena explode. Yes, there’s only one Bill Clinton, and he was on fire like a Southern preacher at a tent revival in Charlotte.
As the speech progressed, the real seal of public approval emerged: a tsunami of changed Facebook profile pics with Clinton and seemingly everyone he’d ever met. Celebrities chimed in via social media, and Friends of Bill’s — the legendary FOB’s — posted their favorite memories of the former prez.
Drummer Sheila E tweeted, “I want a Bill Clinton backpack, a Bill Clinton lunchbox, Bill Clinton toothpaste, Bill Clinton curtains, and a Bill Clinton beach towel.”
Author Anne Rice wrote on her Facebook page, “President Bill Clinton's speech tonight at the DNC was beautiful. It was a masterpiece. If you didn't see it, I urge you to seek out a rerun of it. Clinton did a magnificent job of laying out the case for the re-election of President Barack Obama… I am very proud to be a Democrat tonight and I'm optimistic. I feel my party has beautifully articulated the principles that mean so very much to so many of us.”
A meme featuring a picture of Clinton giving his speech quickly went viral, and, perhaps, said it best: “Bill Clinton. Wow.”
On Thursday morning, the State Department distributed a photograph of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is traveling in East Timor, sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen watching her husband. Of course, the picture is going viral.
“It’s safe to say that she loved every single minute of it,” according to a Hillary aide.
No doubt, she did. Who didn’t? Even Republicans had to give the “Big Dog” props. Clinton didn’t just invigorate true believers. Camera shots of 20-somethings, too young to remember the early 1990s, showed them awed and mesmerized by the mojo of the United States’ greatest orator.
The Romney-Ryan ticket should be very scared. Clinton, ever addicted to adoration like any rock star, won’t stop now that he is unleashed. He’ll crave the limelight repeatedly, and the Obama camp would be smart to quickly dispatch him to Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin.
The public definitely doesn’t want their beloved Bill to fade away. Many people yearn for a Clinton third term and relentlessly tweeted so on Wednesday night. Even Clinton wants one, but that will never happen because of the 22nd Amendment. Of course, Clinton stays very busy with his foundation, traveling the globe as a public service superhero. Many believe he should receive a Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Clinton certainly wouldn’t scoff at that.
But maybe he wants something bigger and flashier especially if Obama is reelected.
For years after he left the White House, close Clinton confidants whispered that he wanted to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. With Hillary resigning in January, any conflict of interest would vanish, and it’s always good to have a Clinton on the world stage.
An even higher aspiration is Secretary-General of the United Nations, a spot no American has ever held. Would the world make an exception for Bill Clinton?
Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist , who has covered Bill Clinton for decades, and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.” Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker