Defending the Affordable Care Act in his memorable nominating speech at the 2012 Democratic convention, Bill Clinton did as he often advises his party’s elected officials: Don’t run away from the argument; confront it directly instead. During his own political career, the former president has done both.
“When the president asked me to speak for him in North Carolina, I said that I would do it — but that I could only do it and be effective if he let me explain and defend the health care deal,” Clinton recalled this week, speaking not only about the 2012 election but the midterm campaign now underway.
I thought that Democrats had a tendency to shy away from things they had done that were unpopular, [and] talk about positions they had that were popular. And that my own experience had convinced me — going back to ’94 and even more when I was governor — that that was always a terrible mistake. That you had to turn in toward all controversies and embrace them — even if you said you were wrong or a mistake was made. You couldn’t not deal with it.”