Thursday, September 6, 2012

The "country boy from Arkansas" does it again

I laughed at this line from Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention last night, in the midst of an attack on Republican economic policies in relation to the national debt:
It was a highly inconvenient thing for [the Republicans when I was President] that I was just a county boy from Arkansas, and I came from a place where people still thought two and two was four.  It's arithmetic. 
Talk about a great "everyman" line, invoking the cultural values of the hinterlands.  I also noticed that more of Clinton's Arkansas accent crept in as he delivered this part of the speech, but his phrasing and enunciation were colloquial at other times, too.  NPR this morning referred to Clinton's use of "folksy humor," and they quoted a convention delegate from Pine Bluff, Arkansas who said she would have happily listened to another 50 minutes from Clinton.  The delegate said "It was like we were home and he was telling us a story."

More substantively, Clinton made one reference to rural places.  It came in the context of lauding Obama's proposed student debt repayment program.
[I]t means that if someone wants to take a job with a modest income, a teacher, a police officer, if they want to be a a small-town doctor in a little rural area, they won't have to turn those jobs down because they don't pay enough to repay their debt. Their debt obligation will be determined by their salary.  This will change the future of young Americans.  
Here, he at least implicitly acknowledges a challenge associated with rural labor markets (lower pay), and also the needs rural communities have for health care providers.

The full text of the speech is here.

1 comment:

Giana Forzareli said...

I really enjoyed Bill Clinton's speech at the DNC. I appreciate how he covered the issues students are facing when they get out of college to find that there are no jobs available. He is an outstanding pubic speaker with a great presence on the podium. I just wish he could have covered more discussion on tax debt relief . This issue is fascinating because it is starting to effect a good amount of the American population. Make sure you get out to vote!