The same old Bubba
I’ve been seeing a lot of Bill Clinton lately, as Democrats try to find a way to counter the rising popularity of the Tea Party movement and unite behind President Obama’s agenda post-healthcare reform.
But of course, a Bill Clinton sighting wouldn’t be complete without him passing the buck on decisions made while he was in charge:
Former President Bill Clinton said his Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers were wrong in the advice they gave him about regulating derivatives when he was in office.
“I think they were wrong and I think I was wrong to take” their advice, Clinton said on ABC’s “This Week” program.
Their argument was that derivatives didn’t need transparency because they were “expensive and sophisticated and only a handful of people will buy them and they don’t need any extra protection,” Clinton said. “The flaw in that argument was that first of all, sometimes people with a lot of money make stupid decisions and make it without transparency.”
“Even if less than 1 percent of the total investment community is involved in derivative exchanges, so much money was involved that if they went bad, they could affect 100 percent of the investments,” Clinton said.
And, as in everything the Democrats are trying to do, a little Bush bashing is in order:
I think what happened was the SEC and the whole regulatory apparatus after I left office was just let go,” Clinton said. If Clinton’s head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arthur Levitt, had remained in that job, “an enormous percentage of what we’ve been through in the last eight or nine years would not have happened,” Clinton said. “I feel very strongly about it. I think it’s important to have vigorous oversight.”
That’s fantastic, Mr. President. It’s fantastic that you feel so strongly about regulating derivatives some 10 years after you left office, and to know that in your heart of hearts that the right thing to do is to have “vigorous oversight”. Too bad none of this foresight was around when you were actually running the show, instead of after the fact. Actually, it’s kind of pathetic that your insight is actually being taken seriously in some circles right now, considering how obviously inept and admittedly ignorant you were of the issue back then.
Is the economic boom of the 1990s attributable to Clinton or advice from his economic team? Or the Republican-controlled Congress? Just curious.
And how about that Tea Party movement?
Former President Bill Clinton warned Friday that the anger some members of the Tea Party movement express about higher taxes and the size of government could feed the same right-wing extremism that led to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.
“Before the bombing occurred, there was a sort of fever in America,” Clinton said at a symposium commemorating the 15th anniversary of the bombing. “Meanwhile, the fabric of American life had been unraveling. More and more people who had a hard time figuring out where they fit in, it is true that we see some of that today.”
This is political cowardice of the worst kind. This kind of hate-baiting is so repulsive and disgusting it makes my stomach turn. But then again, it is Bill Clinton we’re talking about here. Here is a man who essentially turned the White House into a 24-hour hour focus group when he wasn’t using it as an outlet for his sex addiction. How can we expect any less. Here is a man who exemplified the Democratic party principle of “never let a crisis go to waste”, when you can exploit it for political gain.
Clinton was in deep political trouble in April 1995. Six months earlier, voters had resoundingly rejected Democrats in the 1994 mid-term elections, giving the GOP control of both House and Senate. Polls showed the public viewed Clinton as weak, incompetent and ineffective. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his GOP forces seized the initiative on virtually every significant issue, while Clinton appeared to be politically dead. The worst moment may have come on April 18, the day before the bombing, when Clinton plaintively told reporters, “The president is still relevant here.”
And then came the explosion at the Murrah Federal Building. In addition to seeing a criminal act and human loss, Clinton and [pollster Dick] Morris saw opportunity. If the White House could tie Gingrich, congressional Republicans and conservative voices like Rush Limbaugh to the attack, then Clinton might gain the edge in the fight against the GOP.
Morris began polling about Oklahoma City almost immediately after the bombing. On April 23, four days after the attack, Clinton appeared to point the finger straight at his political opponents during a speech in Minneapolis. “We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other,” he said. “They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable.”
It was a political strategy crafted while rescue and recovery efforts were still underway in Oklahoma City. And it worked better than Clinton or Morris could have predicted. In the months after the bombing, Clinton regained the upper hand over Republicans, eventually winning battles over issues far removed from the attack. The next year, 1996, he went on to re-election. None of that might have happened had Clinton, along with Morris, not found a way to wring as much political advantage as possible out of the deaths in Oklahoma City. And that is the story you’re not hearing in all the anniversary discussions.
There’s really nothing left to say.