The Hug Is Never Just a Hug: Bill and Barack Are Perfectly Physical


You’d have to be living under a rock (or at least without an internet connection) to have somehow missed the news that Bill Clinton completely slayed his forty-eight-minute speech at the DNC last night. Both Twitter and Facebook were bursting with energy regarding the former president, though it wasn’t just because of his fantastic public speaking skills. No, what had the masses all stirred up was a hug — a seemingly simple embrace shared between President Barack Obama (whose arrival in itself was a surprise) and Clinton at the end of the speech.

The full-bodied hug (no lame A-frame for these two) was charming as all get-out and — let’s be honest — probably did some pretty intense things to the vaginas of certain ladies across the nation. But that’s not the point. While outwardly this hug did everything a show of affection between two red-blooded alpha men ought to, inwardly it included a very powerful subtext: This hug was not just a hug, but rather it was the herald of a new and (ideally) powerful alliance between two people who, while they haven’t agreed in the past, are coming together for what they believe to be the greater good.

According to The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza:

It was exactly their lack of personal chemistry and failure to become “close friends” that gave Clinton’s speech its lift. A subtext of the address was that, just like Bill Clinton, wavering voters need not love Obama to understand that he’s a better choice than Romney. When the two Presidents came together and hugged after the speech was (finally) over, the distance between them made their embrace all the more powerful.

It makes sense that we (the internet) are this excited about something as minimal as an embrace between two presidents because it is exciting. As the old idiom goes, actions speak louder than words and, in this case, the action was speaking into a megaphone pointed at a microphone that was being filtered through an amp that was turned all the way up to 11.

The parties’ unwillingness to cooperate has been one of the most exhausting parts of the political process over the last few years and the bulk of Clinton’s speech was spent pointing out that this is primarily a Republican issue. With Clinton having given several examples of Obama reaching out to those he hasn’t agreed or gotten along with in order to get things accomplished, The Hug (as it will be known as in the future) acted as a perfect button to a near perfect speech — a physical manifestation of politicians meeting in the middle.

Clinton’s Speech: The Power of a Hug [The New Yorker]

.Gif courtesy of Dodai Stewart.

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