So Bill Clinton is giving the keynote address at Netroots Nation 2009, and it's pretty intriguing for any number of reasons.
Probably the most obvious attraction of the speech is its man-bites-dog quality. Bill Clinton and the netroots don't exactly come from the same place in terms of their approach to politics. Although there are many in the the Pittsburgh convention center tonight who espouse a more moderate suite of policy positions not unlike Clinton's, positioning on a left-to-right axis never really defined the netroots. The overarching principle of the netroots has always been a relentless drive for transparency and openness, for a government that isn't just populist on paper -- or even in its legislation -- but in its responsiveness to its citizens. Bill Clinton, with his big-money friends and advisers like Terry McAuliffe and Bob Rubin dominating his administration, doesn't really fit in.
That said, in the age of Obama, old sects may be less entrenched and the nature of party politics more fluid. It'll be interesting to see how well he adapts to the audience. My guess? Pretty good. He's Bill Clinton, after all -- he knows how to play to a crowd), and how well the the crowd reacts to him. Even more interesting is how the unusually honest Netroots Nation crowd reacts.
Hell, who am I kidding? He'll kill. We all know it. The guy is still the Big Dog, even in the age of Obama. He may be gray around the muzzle, and there may be another guy who has earned the limelight, but he's the most charming man in the business, and you'd have to be pretty churlish to choose not to enjoy him.
The live stream is below. Enjoy.