Charlotte --The last Democratic president of the United States took a rock-star turn at his party's national convention Wednesday night, leveraging his outsized reputation as a master of governing -- and, more importantly, campaigning -- to make the case for the reelection of the current Democratic president.
It was a remarkable performance by a political wunderkind turned senior statesman. And it provided a powerful reminder that in the ex-president competition -- and there is an ex-president competition -- Bill Clinton has defeated George Bush, overwhelmingly.
Where two weeks ago, Bush was the former president whose name dare not be spoken at his party's national convention, Clinton was more than a revered elder returning to the warm embrace of his party's convention: he was a defining figure.
Even Democrats who were never Clinton fans -- and it is important to remember that there were a lot of them when he was president, and when he campaigned in 2008 to make former first lady Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, his partisan successor -- agreed that Bill Clinton did a damn fine job of framing what is all but certain to be the Obama message for the remainder of the 2012 campaign.
"In Tampa the Republican argument against the president's re-election was pretty simple: We left him a total mess, he hasn't finished cleaning it up yet, so fire him and put us back in," declared William Jefferson Clinton, who took the extraordinary step of nominating the man who did not only succeed him but who defeated Hillary Clinton for the opportunity to do so.