Warren, Clinton, and the Demo divide

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Talk about a contrast.

Tonight was all about the two sides of the Democratic Party, the two visions of how the party should approach policy, two utterly divergent approaches to the world that can hardly even be called "wings" of one party. And yet, they both got rousing cheers -- and even the progressives were all hot about ol' Bill.

Okay -- the guy's a pro. He's one of the best off-the-cuff, unscripted public speakers in America, even if he doesn't know when he's done. He had all the right talking points, all the great ways to demolish everything that the Romney team has been saying. He can talk about the "real world" from experience, since for eight years he sorta ran it.

But let's remember -- this is the guy who threw millions off welfare (and now brags about it), who was responsible for the deregulation of Wall Street and the telecom industry, a guy who the financial world loved and whose policies were pretty close to what the mainstream of the Republican Party supported just a few years earlier.

I got to meet Clinton a few years ago at an alternative newsweekly convention in Little Rock, and I asked him why he didn't consider same-sex marriage a civil-rights issue. He ducked and said in essence that America wasn't ready for it.

And just before he took the stage, Elizabeth Warren -- who talks seriously about regulating big business, who wasn't afraid to say "corporations are not people" -- was on stage. She talked like a member of the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, like someone who believes that too few have too much at the expense of the rest of us.

It's not odd to have a wide spectrum of opinion in a major political party (except that the GOP doesn't allow that any more). But it's startling to see two speakers who might as well come from different planets, not just different parties, sharing the podium -- and getting the same wild applause.

I get it -- it's all about the show. But it's also all about people forgetting what Clinton was about.