Saturday, January 05, 2008

Are we talking about the same "Bill Clinton" here?

I'm going to pick on Iminister here, though she's only the most recent person I've seen make this argument*.

Iminister writes about Hillary Clinton: Her husband's behavior in the White House was not her fault, and I honor her for apparently forgiving him for it and continuing with the marriage, but in making him such a prominent part of her campaign she's forgotten something that nobody else has, which is what a miserable episode that was and how it laid an important part of the goundwork for the even more miserable time we're having now.

Maybe, in order to forgive Bill she had to tell herself it was all no big deal, but it was a big deal. So while I admire Hillary the wife, Hillary the politician has made a terrible mistake.

The man was a tremendously popular president. Clinton presided over the longest period of peace-time economic expansion in American history and left office with the highest approval rating of any president leaving office in modern history. They have a five-story mural of him in Kosovo.

He's also a brilliant campaigner.

Hell, even I like the guy. I was furious at him for welfare reform, but that welfare reform has been so successful that it is being copied all over Europe. Even the CHALICEMOM likes welfare reform now**. My bad.

IMHO, Gore's fussy refusal to use Clinton on the campaign trail (again, despite Clinton's huge popularity rating and Gore's lack of charisma) only made Clinton's actions seem more unforgivable. Given how close Gore came to winning and how the people who were truly anti-Clinton weren't going to vote for Gore anyway, I'd say Gore made a huge mistake in not getting Clinton to campaign to moderates, who love him. Clinton reaching out to moderates would have allowed Gore to shore up his base and keep more of it from going to Nader. Need I remind you how a tiny amount of energizing of the base could have changed that election?

THAT laid the groundwork for where we are now, not Clinton's personal weaknesses.

Good for Hillary for not repeating Gore's mistake. (Though Hillary is a moderate like Bill, so he can't do quite as much for her. Gore's liberal credentials were better.)

who has the weirdest urge to go watch "Primary Colors" again.

*The fastest way to get criticized on the Chaliceblog is write on your UU blog about something that has bugged CC when she has seen it other places.

**The Chalicemom works in low-income housing and has for decades. She deals with poor people on a daily basis and knows a lot about this stuff, both in theory and how it has effected the people she's around all the time.


Bill Baar said...

Hillary hasn't lost the nomination yet by the way. She's in trouble, but hardly out.

The notion Clinton somehow laid the ...groundwork for the even more miserable time we're having now is really strange.

I think GOP's preoccupation with Lewinski may have done more to take Clinton's focus off Iraq and Bin Laden than anything else.

One of my earliest memories is fear during the Cuban missle crisis. As a teen I remember smoke billing over Chicago during the riots and tanks rolling down the street towards the looting which was all of a half mile away or so from my house. There were some bad times in the 60's.

We're in a war and its a hard one. But we're winning... there are far fewer wars throughout the world than any time in my life... the UN's goals for poverty reduction are within sight and achievable... the world is moving in the right direction.

The threat is the suit case nuke, and asymetical attack, but we'll learn to live with that threat, eventually destroy it, and keep our Liberal society.

Liberalism is in bad need of rethinking which I suspect causes the pessimism here. And Clinton may be as good as it gets for the left (don't bet on Obama for sure...wait until people start asking him about Chicago Democrats and the pervasive police brutality we've had)... but it sure wasn't Clintion's lack of control on his urges that set the stage for much of anything other than the sad end to his presidency.

Comrade Kevin said...

I see both your point and the author's point.

Clinton's behavior with Monica Lewinsky certainly created one of the key issues of the 2000 election---"restoring character to the White House" which to his credit, W was able to use to his advantage. It was a move that certainly drew more Evangelicals, social conservatives, and traditional GOP voters to the polls. It probably made little to no impact upon liberals, moderates, and traditional Democratic voters.

That being said, the current administration has been so incompetent, so abusive of power, and made so many poor decisions that it would be tough to find any President that looked worse by comparison. That is why I see many people lusting away for the days when Bill was in office.