Heard on the Hill: A Lesson in Communicating

Posted July 6, 2011 at 6:34pm

President Bill Clinton spoke at the Campus Progress National Conference on Wednesday, and he was kind of a firework.

The conference’s theme was “turning truth to power.”

“You cannot turn truth into power unless you have [truth] in the first place,” Clinton told the crowd of young progressives.

“We have this battle playing out in Washington over the budget,” he said. Clinton listed the accomplishments of the Obama administration before ending each section with “but nobody knew.”

Clinton sounded like a disappointed father in his lecture, which was directed at the administration and the Democratic message machine and can be paraphrased thusly: No one knows what you’ve done! And you’ve done so much! (Also, I have helped many people.)

The current governing philosophy in America, he said, is one in which everything would be just fine if the government was slimmed down to nothing.

“This idea that the government is the source of all America’s problems would strike the Founding Fathers as strange,” Clinton said. “But it has had a great hold on people since 1980.”

Clinton conceded that in 2010 the Democrats “took a terrible whipping.”

But he insists that the election wasn’t a failure of progress, but rather failure to communicate.

With that, he left the stage to the dulcet strains of Katy Perry trilling, “Baby, you’re a firework.”