Bill Clinton gave a speech today at the Democratic National Convention. It is lengthy, but the speech is a reminder that, whatever his faults (and they are numerous), Bill Clinton is unrivalled as a speech-maker.
Here it is:
We don't really do good political oratory in this country, and any list of inspirational New Zealand political speakers would be a very short one, assuming we could think of a single person.
Admittedly Bill Clinton is one of a kind, but compare his command of the audience with a stumbling and earnest speech from one of our own politicians.
Perhaps its a peculiarly American thing, but when a politician like Clinton speaks about values, it's so easy to believe him, and to forget in an instant his mixed record in office and his deep personal flaws.
And so, despite the power of Clinton's words, are we in fact better off with a stumbling speaker like David Shearer? Listen to Bill Clinton talking for half an hour and he'd be able to convince you he was the son of God. We will never be seduced by David Shearer's oratory. The only way he will win our hearts and minds is if he makes good on his promises. And that's not a bad test for a politician to have to pass.