Bill Clinton appeared as the featured speaker on the DNC's second night. He came after the official nomination and before the ceremonial shattering of the glass ceiling (I involuntarily shouted, "Mazel Tov" at the screen). Bill is moving stiffly now, trembling slightly, his voice a bit hoarser and weaker than in his prime.
He took us on Hillary and Bill Clinton's fabulous adventure from adolescence to the present. He went on for nearly an hour, holding our attention. He described in vital detail all of those moments of transition and growth in his wife's life, how she got to be who she is and arrive at this moment. He skipped over the rough patches, as expected. In the end, their marriage made for a one-of-a-kind story of two gifted and ambitious people, finding each other and together through life, reaching incredible political heights.
Bill made the case for Hillary as a force for social justice and for the improvement of the lives of the poor, capable of moving policy and people. He recounted several fascinating anecdotes, filling in a portrait with details not well known to many.
Before the glass crashed, with a bold, colorful image of Hillary following the black and white slide show of the forty-four Presidents, he withdrew, offering a final wave to the convention crowd. This speech was about Hillary, but it also was about Bill. It had the feeling of a leave-taking. Possibly, his presence on the campaign trail this fall will be limited; that this night, he truly passed the torch to his wife, whatever her fortune may be, and stepped away from the political arena.