Whatever else you might want to say about Bill Clinton’s speech, it broke the spirit of CNN contributor Alex Castellanos. Here is his immediate on-air response to Clinton’s performance:
CASTELLANOS: I would recommend to my friend Paul [Begala] here, tonight when everybody leaves, lock the doors. You don’t have to come back tomorrow. This convention is done. This will be the moment that probably re-elected Barack Obama. Bill Clinton saved the Democratic Party once, it was going too far left, he came in, the New Democrats took it to the center. He did it again tonight.
In case you are unfamiliar with Castellanos’ body of work, he is most famous for creating the most blatantly racist political ad of the last several decades. This was the white hands ad used by Jesse Helms during his 1990 reelection campaign.
Near the end of the 1990 U.S. Senate race in North Carolina, Castellanos produced an advertisement for incumbent Republican Senator Jesse Helms, who was then trailing Democratic challenger and Charlotte mayor Harvey Gantt, an African-American. The ad shows the hands of a white man crumpling a job application rejection notice as a narrator intones, “You needed that job. But they had to give it to a minority.” The ad then references Gantt’s supposed support for racial quotas and Helms’s opposition. No other part of the actor’s body is shown.
Castellanos also made the infamous “Rats” commercial that ran during the 2000 presidential election. He’s a career Republican hatchet man. He also worked for Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign. It’s not surprising that Castellanos would believe that Romney is finished. But he gets paid a lot of money not to be honest about such things.
Part of Romney’s problem is that his own party’s spokespeople do not believe he will win and therefore have no fear of kneecapping him in public. They know that there will be no opportunity cost.