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Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Very Revealing Poll from Rasmussen

Rasmussen has this poll on Bill Clinton. The poll reveals that 26% of the people have a higher opinion of the former President since he left office while only 8% have a lower opinion. Now, the reason that I say this poll is revealing is that, while I wasn't called, I would be in the 26%.

I wrote about my change of heart back in May. I have since informed most of my liberal friends of my change of heart and I told them I would stand by that statement if questioned. I think that some of this evolution is natural. I think all presidents are viewed more favorably years out than right after they leave office after two terms. The political environment is so intense that political opponents are always viewed much more harshly while in office than years later. The best example is of course Harry Truman who left hated and is now largely lionized.

Mostly, my change of heart comes from watching President Obama. Obama is an ideologue with a vision of the country that is polar opposite of the one I have. He's determined to implement that vision no matter how much evidence there is that this vision has failed over and over.

Clinton was nothing like that. Clinton was the consummate politician. In fact, he was largely the sort of politician that all opponents could and should embarce. For all the bitterness, Clinton worked best when he was working with Newt. They each made each other in a symbiotic relationship. Both their best political moments came working with each other. The balanced budget, capital gains tax cuts, and welfare reform all came while Newt was in charge. These are all accomplishments that all Conservatives could get behind and yet conservatives never give Clinton credit for any of them. Don't forget NAFTA which is the boogeyman of all liberals.

If you think about it, the relationship between Newt and Clinton is one worthy of books. Here were two political opponents who spent hours publicly demonizing each other and yet privately they made political deals that lead to some of the best legislation in the last twenty years. Here was Newt, the bitter Republican partisan, making deals with Clinton, the Democratic president hated by the opposition. What deals did they make? They balanced the budget. Was this a bad thing? They cut the capital gains tax. Was this so bad? They reformed welfare. Boy, if Clinton didn't have a Democrat after his name, he'd look an awful lot like exactly the kind of president that Conservatives would love.

Don't get me wrong. Clinton had plenty of faults. He was and is corrupt and that's inexcusable. Don't get wrong. He's nowhere near the top of my list of Presidents. He won't be challenging Reagan for my political hero any time soon. Still, take a look at the direction the country is headed under now and look at the way Clinton governed. I think it should be easy to see why my opinion of Clinton has improved markedly since Obama has taken office. Maybe, I took his accomplishments for granted before and focused on his faults. No more. Now that I have witnessed what Obama is trying to do, I am a much bigger fan of Bill Clinton.


LS said...

This is nothing. Look at what George W. Bush's numbers will be after just one year of the current president. I predict he will be revered, and people will long for the "good old Days" of Bush.

Anonymous said...

And yet, even a Reagan Democrat president like Clinton was targeted for destruction by the Republicans.

Make no mistake, Clinton's right-wing economic and foreign policy made it possible for people to believe that an ultra-right wing junta with George Bush as its figurehead could represent "compassionate Conservatism".

There's a reason Democrats believe the Reagan Era ended with the election of Obama, and not Clinton.

lisa said...

And they will be kicking themselves for it because they have no clue what they really voted for.