I remember seeing Al Gore and Bill Clinton in their long wool overcoats do a full body hug on stage in 1992. I believe it was election night and it was the first time they appeared together after they’d won.
I remember thinking that they were from my generation because they hugged like that. Older generations of men didn’t do that.
I don’t think I remember that hug because of that so much as that I had the sense in the moment that it was historic; that it was a sign of change, of things to come.
I remember that moment right now because I got that same feeling tonight when Bill Clinton seemed surprised when President Obama appeared. Then Clinton bowed to him right after he’d just utterly owned the room, the country and maybe parts of the world for 48 minutes. The music abruptly switched over from Clinton’s theme to Obama’s theme.
These two men embraced, far more warmly than even Clinton/Gore—and for quite a bit longer—as if it went on as long as it needed to in order to rewind and then fast forward the storied, personal history between them. It was reshaping that turbulence into a laminar flow in ways only the political theatricality of Bill Clinton could.
Which is not to say the reshaping isn’t Truth: it’s just that selling the truth in Electoral 2012 is nearly impossible when liars are so easily forgiven *cough*
And Bill Clinton is nothing if not extraordinary.