In his stump speeches, Obama frequently credits Clinton-era policies for the strong economy in the ’90s, arguing the country fared well under Clinton because he “understood what it takes for this economy.” “Nobody has a better grasp and understanding of the issues than this man,” Obama said at a June fundraiser in New York. – Clinton stars in new Obama ad
DON’T LOOK NOW, but the presidential election of 2012 has a shadow candidate standing in the background sending The Message the current occupant of the White House simply can’t. What a difference four years makes.
As Mitt Romney prepares to make his case amid the Todd Akin furor, Pres. Obama has enlisted the ultimate Democratic economic weapon to rebut the Republican lines, because after four years Barack Obama still doesn’t have the economic patter down himself. Without Clinton’s voice and a record that backs his message up, because Pres. Obama hasn’t been able to turn around what he inherited and what he faced from Republicans, let alone articulate a Democratic economic message that sings, it’s up to William Jefferson Clinton to do the job he can’t.
When Barack Obama was campaigning for the presidency he invoked Ronald Reagan in ways that never included equal laudatory comments about Bill Clinton. That omission is now in history’s rear view mirror.
The neoliberal father of Barack Obama, whom liberals like me loved even if his policies weren’t progressive, Bill Clinton showed a way out after 12 years of humiliating defeats at the hands of Reagan and his disciples. After Carter, Mondale and Dukakis, winning was all. It was a different era, before new-media, social media and activism made the smallest groups visible via YouTube. Long before the fall out that came after the 20th century fell off, back in the 90s the middle class soared and spent like it was never going to end. We had no idea what a drunken Republican on an economic bender could do. George W. Bush educated us quickly and we’re still hungover from it and so is Pres. Obama.
The luck of William Jefferson Clinton is that he was at the right place at the right time in history and had the brains to bend the economic winds of the times to the country’s great benefit and his, which leaves the Clinton economic era something Americans remember fondly as the good old days. That Mr. Clinton himself long ago admitted his mistakes in aiding the banking and housing mafias that caused the financial upheaval is proof even our smartest politicians didn’t consider the corrupting nature of power when bankrolled.
What has been forgotten since Roosevelt is remarkable.
But long before Pres. Clinton became the Democrat Barack Obama couldn’t win without, not only did candidate Obama invoke Reagan…
“I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.”
…but he also learned that the policies of deregulation that started in the ’80s under Ronald Reagan has led us to where we are today, which require fighting back against.
In my book, the chapter entitled “Blaming Bill,” I quote Rep. Barney Frank’s piece on what Obama is admitting he’s facing today, which eloquently stated what now Pres. Obama has come to finally learn.
This brings me to my particular concern with Senator Obama’s vehement disassociation of himself and those he seeks to represent from “the fights of the nineties.” I am very proud of many of the fights I engaged in in the nineties, as well as the eighties and before. Senator Obama also bemoans the “same bitter partisanship” of that period and appears to me to be again somewhat critical of those of us who he believes to have been engaged in it.
I agree that it would have been better not to have had to fight over some of the issues that occupied us in the nineties. But there would have been only one way to avoid them — and that would have been to give up. More importantly, the only way I can think of to avoid “refighting the same fights we had in the 1990′s”, to quote Senator Obama, is to let our opponents win these fights without a struggle.
Barack Obama was untried, untested and inexperienced when he landed in the White House. Four years has made him appreciate, not only what partisan warfare can block, but also what a fellow Democratic president overcame to conquer.
“It only works if there’s a strong middle class.” – Pres. Bill Clinton
And therein lies the rub, because neither Democrats nor Republicans today have provided a blue print for bringing back the middle class, which depends on blue collar jobs that provide a living wage, not just a minimum wage, to quote one of the fiercest critics of Pres. Obama, Tavis Smiley.
There are few Democrats today that represent what could actually bring the middle class back; one is Sherrod Brown, the other is Elizabeth Warren. Unfortunately, not even with the help of Bernie Sanders is there a large enough coalition in Congress to battle the bankrolled Wall Street politicians that hold all the power in Washington, where the president now has to be the spokesperson for the moneyed class or lose his White House privileges.