Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bill Clinton's Presidency: Manager or Visionary

Ezra Klein writes, in The Democrats' Choice: Manager or Visionary, the following about the Bill Clinton presidency:

Reagan set the politics; Clinton played the steward. ...Newt Gingrich and his followers were intent on enacting a far crueler version of Reaganism. Clinton, sensing their threat, smartly co-opted their principles and refashioned them as part of a relatively progressive and unquestionably compassionate agenda. In doing so, he succeeded in making some admirable policy advances... and staving off their most dangerous initiatives.

That's not the way I remember it.

Bill Clinton, along with Tony Blair in Britain and Jean Chretien in Canada, created a new liberalism: a progressive agenda that also emphasized fiscal responsibility. This new approach blew the lid off the old conservative complaint that liberals were fiscally irresponsible and poor economic stewards ("tax and spend"). At the time this movement was called The Third Way, but since then it has just been accepted as what modern liberalism is. To some on the left it spells abandonment of core values, but to me it is responsible leadership.

Even though welfare reform had seemed anathema to previous generations of Democrats, the welfare state as it existed in 1992 was not working for welfare recipients or the country, and so Bill Clinton reformed it. He didn't do this (as Republicans like to pretend and Democrats have been duped into believing) because he was triangulating: he did it because it was the right thing to do.

A similar initiative was all the hard work that Al Gore, as vice-president, put in to reforming government to make it work better and more efficiently. Other examples were middle class tax cuts and balancing the budget - they were things Clinton did because they were right thing to do, and they fit in with his Third Way approach. Dick Morris might like to tell people that Clinton was out-Republicking the Republicans, but that it is not the essence, purpose or legacy of the policies.

To say that Clinton adopted Reagan's values is ludicrous. Clinton didn't adopt trickle-down economics. He didn't follow the crazy Libertarian economic policies of Reagan guru Milton Friedman. He didn't try to break the unions. He didn't adopt an environmental policy that claimed trees were major polluters. He didn't promote school lunch programs in which ketchup and mustard were deemed vegetables. He didn't adopt the rabid anti-communist policies that caused Reagan to persecute and attack small Central American and Caribbean countries or make slimy secret deals with Iran. He didn't divert the scientific geniuses of the day into a pie-in-the-sky missile shield.

The genius of Bill Clinton was that he didn't reject policies just because the opposition supported them. That doesn't mean that he adopted the values, agendas and platform of previous governments.

Bill Clinton didn't accomplish everything we would have liked, but that's because America voted in a Republican congress. The buck stops there.



Larry Gambone said...

Was it not under Bill Clinton that welfare was refused to people with a criminal record and school loans as well? Such vindictiveness could serve only one purpose - to feed the prison industrial complex with more victims. Thankfully, here in Canada (and in Europe) we don't have such cruel laws (and we have far less crime than the US) Since 58% of prisoners are non-violent drug offenders and about 80% of these are African-American or Latino there is also a racist aspect.

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton's experience is mired in controversy, ranging from:

1) turning $1,000 into $100,000 in cattle futures while working for the Rose law firm. She received tips from James B. Blair who was outside counsel for Tyson Foods in Arkansas. In one day she made over $10,000 on day trading which would point to insider knowledge from within Tyson Foods.
Washington Post (please check my references if you like)

2) to Whitewater, a 1980s land deal that went bad and revealed that 1) Bill Clinton exerted pressure on an Arkansas businessman, David Hale, to make an illegal loan that would benefit him and the owners of Madison Guaranty; and 2) that an Arkansas bank had concealed transactions involving Clinton's gubernatorial campaign in 1990.

3) to Travelgate, the 1993 firing of seven longtime employees of the travel office, which handles travel arrangements for reporters and television crews covering the president. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is alleged to have pressured White House lawyers into dismissing the travel office staff and bringing in the FBI to investigate them, so that friends of the First Family could enjoy the office's patronage spoils.
Columbia Journalism Review/New York Observer

4) In the aftermath of the apparent suicide (yes, it gets ugly!) of her former partner and closest confidant, White House Deputy Counsel Vincent Foster, Hillary Clinton ordered the overturn of an agreement to allow the Justice Department to examine the files in the dead man's office. Her closest friends and aides, under oath, have been blatantly disremembering this likely obstruction of justice, and may have to pay for supporting Hillary's lie with jail terms.
New York Times
5) In August 2000, during her first Senate run, Clinton met with the Hasidic community in New Square, where many members were working to obtain clemency for four members of their community who had been convicted of stealing tens of millions of dollars from the state and federal government.
She refused to talk about the controversial pardons of the four New York Hasidic Jews by her husband. New Square voted 1359-10 for the first lady - although other nearby Hasidic enclaves voted 3480-152 for Clinton's GOP opponent, former Rep. Rick Lazio.

New York Times
6) Hillary Clinton's brother Hugh Rodham , was paid approximately $200,000 from Almon Glenn Braswell, whom President Clinton pardoned for mail fraud and perjury, as was Carlos Vignali, whose sentence for cocaine trafficking was commuted. News of his involvement in the pardon controversy prompted an outrage in Washington, D.C.
"I knew nothing about my brother's involvement in these pardons," Sen. Clinton said at the time. "I knew nothing about his taking money for his involvement."
The Clintons asked Hugh Rodham to return the cash, which he did.
Time Magazine
7) Hillary Clinton's brother Tony Rodham was paid $244,769 over 2½ years by a carnival company, United Shows of America, owned by Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory. The Gregorys had been convicted of bank fraud and were seeking pardons. Tony Rodham has said he mentioned their pardon application to his brother-in-law, who ultimately granted the Gregorys a pardon. But Rodham said he was not paid for anything having to do with the pardon.
Boston Globe
8) Peter Paul has business relationship with Clintons that goes bad. Clintons steal one of his clients and he retaliates turning Clinton in for violating campaign regulations during a fundraiser he held for her to the tune of $1 million. The FEC formally determined that Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign treasurer, Andrew Grossman is legally responsible for the three false FEC reports that Hillary's finance director, David Rosen, was criminally charged and tried for in mid-2005. Mr. Grossman signed a "Conciliation Agreement" with the FEC on December 13, 2005, admitting his culpability, and agreeing to pay a civil fine and amend his false reports to reflect the $721,000 that he failed to report since October, 2000.
Wall Street Journal

9) Pastor Got $1.5 Million in Clinton Earmarks Before Endorsement
Widely reported

10) Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton gives large earmarks of $1 billion in government-backed financing for a development project called Destiny. Robert Congel, the owner of Destiny, then turned around and financed and campaigned for her.
Robert J. Congel, his family and associates affiliated with his development have donated $40,000 to Clinton's state and national campaigns since she first ran for office in 1999.
Congel co-hosted a Syracuse fundraiser for her, an event said to have raised an additional $50,000. Lobbying firms hired by Congel in connection with Destiny and other ventures also donated more than $200,000 to various Clinton campaign funds, records show.
LA Times

11) New School in New York City, which received $1.6 million in earmarks in this year's defense budget and $6 million previously, is particularly well-connected. Its president, former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), campaigned for Clinton in Iowa. Three school trustees are among Clinton's most prominent backers, having each raised at least $100,000 for her campaign. A former trustee is Norman Hsu, who was indicted on fraud charges. After Hsu's criminal past was revealed last summer, Clinton returned $850,000 he raised for her.
LA Times

12) to falsely attacking Obama as a pro-life candidate for voting "present" in New Hampshire.

13) Her husband Bill Clinton says he consulted her on every major decision. Does that include Rwanda, and his decision to stand by and watch genocide kill hundreds of thousands of people? She is firmly entrenched with Bill and the establishment, at best a dirty politician who knows everything there is to know about our political system. A vote for her is a vote for the status quo. The Republicans are so sure she is the next Democratic nominee that there's even a movie set to release.


15) btw Bill Clinton is an experienced sexual predator with at least half a dozen rapes or assaults on women reported.
Posted by: skeyewater | January 31, 2008 10:23 AM
wanderingwill, you want a free and open campaign? Clinton's organization is by far the most padlocked. Hillary says she wants open conversation, yet she held virtually no press conferences during her Senatorial campaign and tenure in the Senate, and frequently refuses to appear on the Sunday political programs where serious issues are debated by political leaders. Someone who only answers scripted questions with pre-digested answers is hardly engaging in 'two-way' communication with the people.

Yappa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I cant find anything here.This is so stupid that I cant find an essay and a thesis of Bill Clinton's presidency.I have to do it because this Is a school project.