Years from now speechmaking will be judged by an adjective derived from an eponym: Clintonian. It will be measured by the speaker's ability to connect one-to-one with a huge audience; by words reinforced by the waving hands of a symphony conductor; by a slight down-home clipped tempo; by pixie-like humor; by an astonishing recall of numbers; by an avalanche of facts delivered virtually as casual conversation; and, finally, by length - which could be compellingly sustained by all of the above.
On Wednesday night at the Democratic convention, that described former President Bill Clinton, who, as people have come to expect from him, was being Clintonian at its best. As the clearly impressed Republican strategist Steve Schmidt said afterward: "I wish our side had somebody like that."
In nominating President Obama, Clinton's oration made his case for Obama by wading through the complexities of issues like health care, taxation , welfare and others with the brilliance lacking in most active politicians today. That will be the long-term definition of Clintonian - a speaker in full command of an enthralled audience. Folks, who else could have gotten so much mileage from a simple household word - arithmetic?