'First Rock-Star President' Tours Texas, Opening Acts Suck

Bill Clinton spoke at UT as part of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Big whoop.

When Bono Bill Clinton finally took the stage to stump for his baby-boo Hillary Wednesday evening at UT, speakers were blasting the U2 hit "Where the Streets Have No Name." Maybe War's "Why Can't We Be Friends?" would have been more appropriate for the occasion, but folks were nonetheless excited to hear what he had to say about Hillary's campaign. From the ground near the stage it was hard to tell just how many had turned out, but it was most definitely in the first few thousands.

Here was his "case" for Hillary (maybe you've heard this oldie but goodie): experience. But, naturally, more words were involved. Are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well, Hillary has.

It was really nice when Clinton undermined the Obama camp and their precious change mantra by saying that to affect actual change in our country, someone with, oh, say 35 years of experience actually working for change within the political system might be handy. Kinda made sense the first hundred times I heard it.

Bill's case also called on him as Hillary's character witness. He recalled how in law school she spent extra time working on child abuse and neglect legislation, and immediately after law school she took a job working for the Children's Defense Fund and pushed for more comprehensive special education legislation.

He noted that her first political job took her to South Texas, where she registered mostly Hispanic voters that for years had been overlooked by the system.

Clinton then argued that Hillary would do a better job than Obama at improving the perception of the US abroad. That might be tough when she's spending all her time not meeting with the leaders of enemy nations.

But, again, it all boils down to experience for the Clinton camp. Apparently Hillary stumped for Bill in over 40 different countries while he was president, so there's that international diplomacy experience a commander in chief needs. And Bill's just trying to repay the favor on this not so magical mystery tour.

Why all the rock 'n' roll diction, you ask, fair reader? Here's how the head of the University Democrats Laura Hernandez introduced the US' most stately saxophonist: "Welcome back to UT the first rockstar president of the US, Bill Clinton!"

Give me strength. Is that what we're voting for? Has anyone come out and endorsed Axl Rose or Geddy Lee for president in '08?

And then it dawned on me: that's exactly how folks are voting this election season. Right after City Council Member Jennifer Kim offered her support in a short statement before Clinton came to the stage, campus group Students for Hillary started the "Gimme an H" cheer. Embarrassing.

Former Rock the Vote director Jehmu Greene started her own custom-made chant during her 2.5 minutes on stage: "Hillary Speaks for Me!" Say it with me now.

Sean Astin, he of the moving pictures, gave us another original while he was, for whatever reason, on stage: "When I say Hillary, you say 'I got your back!'" Thank you, Samwise Gamgee, for that gem.

The only introductory speaker who acted in a halfway dignified manner was former San Antonio mayor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros. And we're not even going to go into the guy who was onstage hurling t-shirts to whoever yelled the loudest. At least this thing didn't have a half-time.

Is turning the election into a pep rally the only way to get young people out to vote? It's great that so many people are excited about voting, but does rockstar-type excitement in the electorate equate with an informed public?

Take, for example, the girl standing next to me in the crowd, who was constantly looking over at me wondering why on earth I had pen and pad out and was taking notes: "This isn't as cool as the Obama rally. There's just no energy here."

What, the opening reggaeton/stomp performance by the Sigma Lambda Beta international fraternity wasn't entertaining enough for ya (whose fucking idea was that by the way)? It almost makes one pine for the good ol' days when voter apathy was at an all-time high.

Maybe if something was done about the wretched public school system in this country, young people could be lured to vote for a candidate based on his or her platform and service record, not on how super cool Janie and her friends think they are. Hopefully either Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama can help us experience some change in that department.

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at austinchronicle.com/opinion.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Democrats
Watson to Lead Senate Dems
Watson to Lead Senate Dems
Travis County senator to replace San Antonio's Van de Putte

Richard Whittaker, June 28, 2011

Peña and Ritter Jump Ship
Peña and Ritter Jump Ship
Talk of tables and access raises committee questions

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 15, 2010

More Election 2008
Craddick's Cash
Craddick's Cash
Texans for Public Justice file ethics complaint about former speaker

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 7, 2009

Small Consolation for Doherty
Small Consolation for Doherty
Last November's CD-10 challenger was the "biggest loser"

Lee Nichols, Jan. 27, 2009

More by Matt Martinez
ICE Draws Cool Reception in Austin
ICE Draws Cool Reception in Austin
Immigration comes calling at the jailhouse

June 13, 2008

George H. W. 'The Dude' Bush
George H. W. 'The Dude' Bush
Do the foreign policy debacles of Bush 43 rehabilitate the career of Bush 41?

April 4, 2008


Democrats, Election 2008, BIll Clinton

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle