Charlotte, N.C.-Last night, former President Bill Clinton literally took the Democratic National Convention and the national television audience to school. The comment I heard most from attendees after the speech was that, “He broke it down.” Even the talking heads got that mostly right. Their attention deficit disorder only allows them to understand sound bites, so a 48-minute speech seems too long for them.
However, those of us in the audience who were listening attentively to the speech thought it was just the right length. In the speech, the former President explained the complexities of the economic recovery that we are in right now, the healthcare issue that the Republicans say they have more credibility on and the deficit issue that the Republicans have no credibility on.
He broke these issues down and explained them so everyone could understand them. Clinton made it simple for America see the clear difference between President Barack Obama’s performance and plans for our future and the Republican Party’s distortion of the President’s performance and their plans to take us back to the past.
When Clinton was Governor of Arkansas, he had to run for reelection every two years. When he was defeated after his first term, he learned something. That something was that he had to break things down for the people so they could understand what he was doing for them. Now mind you, this is Arkansas, a small, relatively poor, highly rural and not highly educated state.
Consequently, Bill Clinton had to take complex issues and break them down to the 8th grade level so that most people would understand them. When he ran for governor again, he was elected and reelected five times.
Those communications skills are what he brought to the DNC showcase one electric night before President Obama makes his presentation to the American people. He took the most complex issue, Obamacare, which the Republicans say is a government takeover of health care and is a bad piece of legislation they will repeal, and broke down the reasons it is a good thing.
Among the many things he spoke about, Clinton said that individuals and businesses have received over$1 billion in premium refunds, insurance companies have lowered their rates, three million young people between 16 and 26 are insured under their parent’s policies, millions of seniors are receiving preventive care, insurance companies have millions of new customers that they must cover even with pre-existing conditions, and health care spending has grown under four percent for the first time in half a century.
He went on to explain that the $716 billion Republican Party Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice president nominee Paul Ryan say is being robbed from Medicare to pay for Obamacare is actually savings from cutting subsidies to healthcare service providers and insurance companies. These same savings are in Ryan’s budget. President Obama’s budget uses the savings to fill the Medicare drug program donut hole and add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund.
Finally, Clinton reminded us that two-thirds of Medicaid funds pay for nursing home care for seniors and services for people with disabilities, including kids with Down’s syndrome and Autism. The Ryan budget proposes to block grant the Medicaid program and reduces it by one-third. This is a direct attack on the middle class families who need these services.
President Clinton gave all of us who have a copy of his speech, those of us with good memories and the good note takers, all the major talking points that we need to go out and tell the truth about the current state of affairs in our country and help people make the right choice in this election.