It happens all of the time. Obama does something feeble in terms of domestic policy or extends the unitary executive theory to assassinating Americans who should be tried first and while the comment threads fill up with anger some idiot steps in and says something like, “Yeah, but Bill Clinton was a Republican and a DLC leader and he was a Baaaaaad Dude and we don’t like him.”
And I think, where the Hell did THAT come from?
No president is perfect. I don’t expect perfection. And the DLC has been made out to be the equivalent of some Democratic Volturi, complete with glowing red eyes. Ya’ know, I just don’t buy that. The DLC has always seemed to me to be some kind of Rotary Club or other organization that you have to check off the list of memberships you need to be successful in Democratic politics.
But, Ok, maybe I’m missing something. I wrack my brains over what it is exactly that is pissing so many Democrats off about Clinton. And I come up with… nothing. Or nothing that makes any damn sense. I have to admit I didn’t like the results of the deregulation of financials with the termination of Glass-Steagall act. But as I understand it, that deregulation was going to pass with or without Clinton’s support. And I’m not fond of his former economic advisors like Rubin and Summers. But somehow, I can’t see the Big Dawg giving into the bankers in a crisis like this one.
In cases such as these, I do a gut check. I don’t look at the details. I look at results. Did the economy prosper? Yep. Did we get into any unnecessary wars? No. Were we hit by terrorism? Yes. But we also headed off a plot or two. Richard Clark says by contrast, the Clinton administration was on top of things where the Bush administration was, er, lax. Were his Supreme Court appointments reasonable? Yes, he appointed the last liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to the Supreme Court according to recently retired Justice Stevens (and what does that mean regarding Elena Kagan?) Did he raise taxes? Yes, on the wealthy. That probably resulted in the surplus. Did he solve the health care debacle? No, but his wife was instrumental in getting the popular and efficient SCHIP legislation passed.
So, what is pissing off progressives? I’ve heard a lot of nasty noises about Welfare Reform. It makes no sense to me. Nobody wants to be on welfare. It needed to be reformed and getting people back to work is important. Yes, the Republicans were shooting for a retributive and mean sprited bill and they voted it in. But Clinton managed to get it softened. The other thing that gets progressives’ dander up is NAFTA. This puzzles me. What exactly is the problem with free trade between your two closest neighbors? The problem wasn’t the trade. It was the labor laws. From what I recall, the labor protections were stripped out of the bill- by Republicans. And if you were paying attention back then, something progressives apparently were not doing, you would have known that the biggest threat was from India and China, not Mexico. How many refrigerators do you buy that have “Made in Guadalajara” on them? Heck, I could see it 15 years ago when I watched a flood of Chinese scientists into the R&D industry. If China could afford to let their best and brightest go to America, how many more must they have at home? Millions, as it turns out. It’s one of the reasons I ran for the school board in my town. Our standards were abysmally low in math and science compared to China. But the truth is, if you don’t support labor, the race to the bottom is steep and cruel, regardless of how well you do in calculus.
Now, let’s revisit Obama’s “accomplishments”, shall we? Um, he doesn’t really have any. You can pass all the legislation you want but if it doesn’t help people in the end, or worse, makes their economic situations more precarious by making it easier for employers to pass on the costs of health care to their employees and making that insurance more expensive, then the total number of bills passed means squat. If you’re going to get on Clinton’s case regarding welfare reform, shouldn’t you be doubly incensed that in a Mother of all Recessions, you have his administration cutting food stamps to pay for some Race to the Top education plan that very few people want or endorse? Starve families while you starve their schools. That’s progressive? Better than Clinton? Or consider that in spite of the recommendations of some of his economic advisors, his stimulus plan failed to deliver a buzz because it was half the size it needed to be. And don’t even get me started on Obama’s unitary executive theory stuff where it is OK to keep Guantanemo open, assassinate Americans and announce that you’re ending combat operations in Iraq while you keep 50,000 troops there.
It makes no sense to keep harping on Clinton when Obama isn’t in his league. I remember the night Clinton won. The Clintons and Gores stood on the steps of the Governor’s mansion in Little Rock and we were all so happy. Ding, dong!, the nasty Republican presidents were gone. Mean spirited Reagan, hiding behind his sunny disposition and sour faced Bush who didn’t bother to hide at all, twelve years of stingy, dispiriting, soul crushing conservative nastiness, to be replaced by a young president and his working woman wife. The Clintons were who we aspired to be. Successful, hard working, dedicated public servants. And for the most part, they delivered. They gave us 8 years towards the restoration of the American Dream in spite of the screaming banshees of the Movement Conservatives.
If that success invites comparisons between Obama and Clinton and it makes the people who service Obama a tad uncomfortable, that’s not surprising. What is surprising is that so many people who should know better and know how the Republicans dogged Clinton for 8 years for no legitimate reason, would give in to the propaganda that Clinton is no better than a Republican president and a DLC mastermind. These little gems, carelessly tossed off by the likes of Big Tent Democrat and cluttering up the comment threads of progressive blogs everywhere are distractions from the fact that Obama’s performance is horrendous in terms of liberal and progressive values. He is not a friend of the working guy. Instead of giving him a pass because “Clinton was a Republican president”, why aren’t these people holding Obama to a higher standard of performance? I mean, compared to Clinton, isn’t Obama a LOT more Republican?
Unless the only point of the comments is propaganda and distraction. Yeah, that’s what I’m going for. Forget the fact that Clinton is busting his ass for the party that stupidly rejected his more qualified wife for Obama. Make sure those sheeplike progressives who are leaderless right now don’t start pining for a Clinton.
I got their number. Do you?