The DNC Performance of Bill Clinton
First reaction: it’s incredible how Bill Clinton performed his gender last night. I say “performed” for two reasons.
First is that, clearly, he hasn’t always been the person he was on stage in real life. From regularly stepping out on Hillary Clinton to trying to get political points at her expense (such as the ad lib about #BlackLivesMatter supporting murderers and drug dealers), Bill Clinton has often put his desires above her needs.
The second reason, though, is that gender is always a performance and, last night, Bill Clinton made a conscious effort to play the part of First Gentleman(?). I don’t think it’s possible to overstate how important this is, symbolically. A former president just gushed over how in love he was with his partner from the moment he met her. He followed that up with lauding her accomplishments and drive and efficacy with barely a mention of his own career.
This last point strikes me as so powerful; the symbolic value of that speech, particularly in terms of how it will resonate for generations that take it as the norm, is super-powerful.
There is plenty wrong with this candidacy and campaign, and with how last night was handled, but that element was pitch perfect.