Better Late than Never, Bill: Clinton stumps for Frank and Grossman

Is there any scenario in which a co-sign from a former President can do more to hurt a candidate than help? Unless his last name happens to rhyme with ‘mush', the answer would seemingly be no. And if that former Commander in Chief even goes as far as coming out to show support at a rally in your backyard? You'd really have to go above and beyond the call of ineptitude to fuck that up.

So while I'm going to refrain from labeling Bill Clinton's appearance at Sunday's Barney Frank rally a failure, it certainly didn't pack the game- leveling potential it should've heading into his showdown with Sean Bielat.

Admittedly, the assembly of bleeding-heart liberals crammed into the Taunton High gymnasium would've still been among the first in line when the polls open on Nov. 2, even if Clinton hadn't showed at all. But still, keeping an audience of 2,000 on hold for over two hours, on a Sunday, during Patriots season? Not a good look, Barney.

The stall tactics got underway when word started to spread that Clinton had left his stump stop in Connecticut for US Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal around the same time they started letting people enter the gym. This made for a a solid chunk of time to be filled by screamy local politicians, hypemen handing out lawn signs, and the high school's jazz and choral ensembles.

And much credit is due to those musical outfits for both their talent and timeliness. If there was ever an occasion to unleash a medley of Blues Brothers' songs, it was for this event, which hilariously (ironically?) called to mind the scene from the movie where the band is forced kill time when Jake and Elwood's car runs out of gas on the way to the big gig.

Finally, not too long after Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" was given its third go-round, Taunton Mayor Charles Crowley introduced the dynamic duo. Never the sharpest public orator in the shed, Frank was quick to hand the mic off to Clinton, much to the relief of those who were chomping at the bit to hoist their recently acquired signs.

Unfortunately, there wouldn't be too many more opportunities for raucous cheer as Clinton pretty much kept the applause baiting flourishes to a minimum, surprising considering his known reputation as a schmoozer. There was an air of solemn combativeness to his speech, perhaps in retaliation to the burgeoning wave of support for Bielat, who was simultaneously holding his own impromptu rally across town to combat the Clinton factor.

"In this election, Republicans are hoping for anger, apathy, and a dose of amnesia regarding how our country ended up here," said Clinton in his plea for at least two more years of left-trending government to offset the turmoil levied by eight years under Bush. "This election is not a referendum on anger. It's a choice between two candidates."

There were a lot of numbers bandied about, from 3 trillion (the debt we face) to 21 (the months Obama has had to dig us out of this debt) to 8 (the length of time between finding a fresh source of jobs in order to keep our economy afloat).

And as soon as Clinton exited the stage, there was 45 (the minutes it took me to get from Taunton to the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston, for Clinton's appearance at treasurer candidate Steve Grossman's fundraiser).

Mercifully arriving just ahead of the guest of honor, I was spared another two-hour wait. And I was glad to have made the excursion, if for no other reason than getting a glimpse of a more colloquial Clinton afforded by the room's intimate quarters and his history with Grossman, who served as head of the democratic party when Clinton took office in 1992.

"This campaign is about the state's money, not about witchcraft or wrestling," said Clinton, simultaneously taking a jab at US Senate candidates Christine O'Donnell and Linda McMahon, and giving us a little taste of the Bill we all know and love -- on time with the biting punchlines regardless of how late to the party he is. 
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