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Thursday, May 14, 2009

On Second Thought...Maybe Bill Clinton Wasn't That Bad

Since I am about to make a sacrilegious statement, I also want to point out that I stand by my earlier thesis that said that history will place Clinton somewhere nearly Calvin Coolidge. Still, I will give Clinton credit in this way. He was the consummate politician, and when that politician happens to be your ideological opposite that isn't so bad. Just think about this. Clinton's best years were from 1995-1999. His best years he worked mostly with Republicans to get things done.

Frankly, what are Clinton's signature legislation and actions? NAFTA, a balanced budget, and welfare reform...aren't all of those things something that Conservatives could get behind. Sure, mostly, he balanced the budget because the internet boom exploded tax revenue and by gutting our military. Furthermore, Newt Gingrich's lead House forced him to tighten his belt enough. Still, is there a fiscal conservative out there not happy with a balanced budget? Now that our deficit is nearly $2 trillion, how does a balanced budget sound? What about NAFTA? That's become the scourge of most liberals. As such, any free trader, like myself, could get behind it simply on that principle. Beyond that though, NAFTA is one of the most far reaching free trade pacts in the history of the world. What's not to love?

Finally, there is welfare reform. What's not to love there? That's a blatantly conservative piece of legislation, and for the most part, it worked. People fell off the welfare rolls at levels never seen before.

All right, since most conservatives are now on the brink of total fury, let me bring you all back. First, of course, he seemed to have a conscience by pass at birth. He was one of the most corrupt presidents ever.

Here's the most important part. When I say Clinton wasn't that bad...this of course is in comparison to the current occupant of the White House. Sure, we all don't like Clinton very much. He was at heart a liberal, and he couldn't go five minutes without creating a scandal. He seemed to only operate well in chaos. Still, he isn't a leftist ideologue like the one currently occupying the White House. In fact, Obama himself agrees.

that Bill Clinton did not," and that Reagan "put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it."

As he approaches his fourth month on the job, Obama clearly sees himself as a transformational figure of Reaganesque proportion.

Clinton wanted a successful presidency. When his first two years blew up so spectacularly, he figured out how to work with the opposite party to pass all sorts successful legislation. Clinton may have been a lot of things, but an ideologue he was not. After all, triangulation is the polar opposite of an ideologue.

Obama is different. He's an ideologue of an extreme kind and the whole time he is walking around pretending to be some sort of pragmatist. He wants to transform this nation into something in the mold of Europe. Everything from cap and trade to health care reform to education reform (the one policy I like so far) is one that envisions massive new government involvement and control. This is not the America I envision at all. He wants to transform our foreign policy so that we have better relations with our enemies than our current allies. Obama isn't so much focused on a successful presidency as he is on a vision in his head of this nation and the world. That vision is one that frightens me and most conservatives. Clinton never had any such vision. That's why he quickly pivoted to capital gains tax cuts, balanced budgets, and welfare reform.

It's possible that if Democrats lose Congress that Obama will also turn into such a politician. I hope so on both counts. Until then, Obama's presidency frightens me whereas Clinton's only annoyed me. So, on second thought, Clinton wasn't that bad.


Anonymous said...

He is an ideologue by your standards, but a pragmatist by mainstream conception.

Ttat is what matters ,and it what will matter when he wins a second term in 2011.

mike volpe said...

First, he isn't up for re election in 2011. Second, anyone who thinks he's a "pragmatist" is either 1) not following politics that closely, or 2) themselves a raging leftist like Obama.

There isn't a single domestic policy which he has been anything but a raging leftist on.