Monday :: Nov 26, 2007

Ending the Terrible Bush/Clinton Dynasty

by eriposte

A recent Recommended Diary at MyDD that caught my attention is this one by Vox Populi:

[UPDATE] End the Bush/Clinton Dynasty

Let's welcome the latest entrant in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary Rule BookTM - the "Bush/Clinton dynasty" must be ended!

Before we analyze this brilliant diary, I should point out - to the 5 or 6 people who read my posts at The Left Coaster (yeah, I know I'm an optimist) - that VoxPopuli takes CDS to an entirely new level. For example, you will even see a helpful "citizen" video in the diary to 'educate' yourself about how the Clintons are just like the Bushes. It is so incisive that you don't need those highly irrelevant pieces of information sometimes known as "facts" (such as these or these, to just mention a couple of examples) in order to appreciate the contents of the diary or the videos.

As for the text portion of the diary, I don't have the time to re-debunk some of the nonsense in it (you can refer to my previous posts such as this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this). However, there is one aspect in the diary that is newer, so I want to first take a moment to comment on it before addressing the "dynasty" argument. VoxPopuli says:

Both families supported NAFTA and lobbied for its passage and expansion. As we know, Labor and most Democrats strongly opposed NAFTA. Independent candidate Ross Perot attacked NAFTA as a job killer. And he was right. Over 1 Million well-paying manufacturing jobs disappeared, moving to nations with questionable political and human rights records. When given the opportunity at the recent Democratic debate to distance herself from NAFTA and its expansion, she called it "A vague memory."

The John Edwards campaign quickly released a web ad highlighting Clinton's position.

That web ad would be this one, where Sen. Clinton - who candidly provided a mixed review of NAFTA (see this comment) - is misleadingly portrayed as if she could care less about NAFTA-related job losses. Of course, Sen. Edwards has recently been highly critical of NAFTA and of the Clintons for originally supporting it but he is also the one who said this to the NYT back in 2004 (h/t Gladiatorstail, emphasis mine throughout this post):

Senator John Edwards said yesterday that his proposal to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a pact he has repeatedly blamed for economic distress, would not significantly cut the flow of jobs abroad.

And even as he criticized the trade agreement, Mr. Edwards described it as ''important'' to economic prosperity. He said he wanted to promote global trade but that trade pacts should include measures to slow the loss of jobs to other countries.

''I believe that Nafta should exist,'' Mr. Edwards told editors and reporters of The New York Times at a meeting yesterday in New York, as he sought endorsements heading into next Tuesday's primary. ''I think Nafta is important -- it is an important part of our global economy, an important part of our trade relations.''

Straight TalkTM all the way. As for the 1 million jobs number that is being used to criticize Sen. Clinton, it comes from reports like these (and includes many of the Bush years when the employment picture was poor), but the Edwards campaign and its supporters are evidently hoping that we don't notice other obviously irrelevant facts from the same source:

Between 1994 (when NAFTA was implemented) and 2000, total employment rose rapidly in the United States, causing overall unemployment to fall to record low levels. But unemployment began to rise early in 2001, and 2.4 million jobs were lost in the domestic economy between March 2001 and October 2003 (BLS 2003). These job losses have been primarily concentrated in the manufacturing sector, which has experienced a total decline of 2.4 million jobs since March 2001. As job growth has dried up in the economy, the underlying problems caused by U.S. trade deficits have become much more apparent, especially in manufacturing.

While I certainly regret the job losses due to NAFTA - and agree that NAFTA needs to be fixed, I would like to highlight the fact that during the years of the Clinton-Gore administration - which is time period when the Clintons could actually do something about the economy directly - there were no net job losses. So it is pretty disappointing to see the insinuation that the Clintons could care less about job losses due to NAFTA when the economy was producing far more jobs than were lost during their watch. In other words, the shockingly terrible Clinton record that Sen. Edwards and his supporters appear to be deeply unhappy about - a record that makes VoxPopuli believe that the Clintons are like the Bushes - is this:

More than 22 million jobs were created in less than eight years -- the most ever under a single administration, and more than were created in the previous twelve years.

Anyway, that is really not the point of this post because I am sure I will be informed by the Reality-Based Straight-TalkersTM that the jobs created under Clinton's watch were (a) not great or (b) due to George H. W. Bush or (c) good luck and that the job losses under George W. Bush were due to (a) Clinton's terrible policies or (b) the "Bush/Clinton dynasty".

Which brings us to what this post is really about - the "Clinton dynasty". I'll let the website Hillaryis44 (run by self-described Hillary supporters) address this, from earlier this year - and I hope they don't mind my reprinting a big portion of their post on this:

Yesterday, we wrote about the increasing desperation in the hate Hillary camp of Republicans and fake “progressives”. The desperation is due to Hillary increasing her poll leads. Nicholas Kristof gave voice to that desperation in yesterday’s New York Times.

Kristof declared that if Hillary is elected after Bush we are in danger of having a dynasty established in our presidency.
The origin of this “dynasty” argument, as in most things anti-Clinton, has its roots in Republican strategy....They called their gimmick “term limits”.

The idea behind term limits was to blast loose as many Democrats from political office as possible and break the 40 year Democratic grip on power. Newt and the Republicans, aided by Big Media screamed for “new blood” as the solution to the nation’s problems. The aim of course was never true reform nor bringing in outsiders. The aim was Republican control of congress and the new blood was to be new Republican blood.

The Republicans in 1994 were successful. They took over the congress. Since then Republicans abandoned the call for term limits. Most of the Republicans who promised to leave office after 2 terms in office broke that pledge after they were elected. The call for term limits was hypocrisy for political advantage.

Since 1994, the Republicans, led by their “C” student George W. Bush have waged a war on experience and intelligence - for political advantage. In 1994 they won the congress by attacking experience. Bush populated his government with horse aficionado “Brownie” and the Department of Justice with graduates from religious law “schools”.

The Republican attack on experienced lawmakers for their own political advantage is now a tool employed by fake “progressives” for their political and financial advantage.
Does the Hillary “dynasty” argument have any validity?

We do find it interesting that now that the first likely woman president is running that Republicans and fake “progressives” have discovered the evils of dynasty. Are there any functioning dynasties in America today and should they stay in business? Should we throw out these dynasties?

Lets start with the Salazar brothers in Colorodo (Colorado Democratic Senator Ken Salazar and his brother Democratic Congressman John Salazar). Should we get rid of them in the name of anti-dynasty.

What about the Kennedys? The Kennedy’s have elected a President, several senators, congressional representatives, state office holders and many others. Today, we learned that a Kennedy might challenge Congressman Chris Shays in Connecticut. Should we throw the Kennedys out in the name of anti-dynasty?

What about Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller? The Rockefellers have elected senators and vice presidents. Off with Jay Rockefeller’s head in the name of anti-dynasty?

What about former Vice President Al Gore? He was, like his father, the Senator from Tennessee. How did Gore become VP? It surely didn’t have anything at all to do with his father the senator? Al Gore entered the presidential sweepstakes in the 1980s. Now of course the tears flow and anticipation fills the airwaves, with “why won’t Gore run?” No dynasty talk there. No, its Run Gore Run and please ignore our hypocrisy. Should we ban Al Gore from running for President in the name of anti-dynasty?

What about the Cuomos (former NY Governor Mario Cuomo and his son Attorney General Andrew Cuomo)? Should we ban the Cuomo’s from public life in the name of anti-dynasty?

What about the dynastic Udall family? The great Morris K. Udall was the congressman from Arizona. He inherited his congressional seat from his father Stewart Lee Udall in 1961. Out with Stewart and immediately in with Morris. Congressman Tom Udall is still in office. And Congressman Mark Udall is running for the Senate from Colorado. Should we ban the distinguished Udall family in the name of anti-dynasty?

Of course none of these good Democrats should be excluded from our political life. The complaints against Hillary are a political bill of attainer applicable only to her. Hypocrites.

In his confused column, Kristof’s wife counterargues “that if our aim is to open up the political system and broaden opportunity, then what better way than to elect a woman?” Kristof’s replys that “the election of a first woman loses much of its significance if she has enjoyed a political shortcut as a predecessor’s wife”. Kristof seems to be unaware that Hillary has served a full term in the senate and won reelection on her own. No, for Kristof the little lady must be discredited as only the unaccomplished wife of the man even though her life of activism goes back to before her days at Yale.

Instead of asking why the presidency has been restricted to white males of healthy incomes Kristof and fake “progressives” denigrate Hillary. Instead of asking why the female majority has never been represented at the highest level they now raise the mud bedecked argument that Hillary was merely married to a president. Why only males Kristof? Why has the political system never produced a woman president? Is there a barrier to women becoming president? These questions do not cross these fake “progressives” minds. They belittle Hillary’s accomplishments and imply she would be nowhere without her husband.

Is marriage to a political leader now the new barrier to prevent women from breaking the glass ceiling? Is this the newly minted invention to block access to the political process? As women have progressed the excuses against participation have increased. When women were finally allowed to work in offices and as teachers then those became “their” jobs. Recall when it was controversial to have women police or firefighters. Firefighters were in a life or death business and there was no room for political correctness or diversity unlike other “women” jobs. There are always great new reasons for prejudice and exclusion.

Instead of asking what it is about the political system that has excluded women from the presidency the question becomes “oh we have no problem with a woman as president it’s just that this one has the experience of having been married to an ex president.”

Meanwhile, the tears flow because poor Jeb Bush can’t run for president because his dumb brother has ruined it for him.

The “dynasty” argument of course is at best inarticulate. A dynasty must have a sequence of some consequence and some durability. Bill Clinton was the first member of his family to win elective office. Hillary Clinton was the second member of the family to win elective office. That is it for the Clinton “dynasty” - 2 officeholders. A true dynasty is the Bush family. The Bush family had Senator Prescott Bush, Congressman George H. Bush, Vice President George H. Bush, President George H. Bush, Governor George W. Bush, Governor Jeb Bush, and, President George W. Bush.

We do agree that American life would be better without the Bush family. However, Americans disagree with us and keep electing them and the courts at least once selected them. No Clinton ran for president in 2000 nor in 2004. Democrats were not inaugurated the following January. Should we hold the Clintons to blame for the fact that they seem to be the only ones capable of defeating Republicans in general and Bushes in particular? This is the central silliness at the base of the “dynasty” nonsense.

Since the Bushes won’t go away on their own, we need the Clintons to get rid of them for us.

Hillaryis44 is right to point out many of the deeply anti-progressive positions of alleged "progressives" when it comes to Hillary Clinton. In the comment thread of VoxPopuli's post, there is a lot more evidence for CDS - stuff that one would normally expect to see on Free Republic. For example:

....You can say what you want but if we have the same two families running this country for 28 yrs., I find that unsettling.

by RDemocrat on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 05:11:17 PM EST

Amazing how RDemocrat - an alleged Democrat - sounds positively R=Rovian. He combines 20 Bush years [12 under GHWB (8 as VP, 4 as P) plus 8 under GWB] with 8 years of (Bill) Clinton to claim that "the same two families" have been "running this country for 28 yrs". I'm sure Bill Clinton would find it newsworthy that he was allegedly running for election as President in 1991-92 against GHWB even though he was already running the country then with his pal GHWB, according to RDemocrat. It must also come as news to Hillary Clinton that she doesn't need to run for President now because, according to RDemocrat, she has been running the country for the past 8 years (or is it 28)? [The bigger question this raises: Is there any cure for CDS?]

More nonsense arrives later in the thread:

I don't have such a big problem with a Hillary Clinton presidency, actually. Still the fact is that she is only in a position to be president because her husband was president before her. And yes there is something disquieting, and anti-progressive, about that.


by Korha on Wed Nov 21, 2007 at 09:20:20 PM EST

Korha's comment (which I've bolded) is as deeply anti-progressive, deceptive and insulting as it gets. Sen. Hillary Clinton is an elected Senator from New York who was recently re-elected with 67% of the vote. In New York, where voters know Hillary Clinton the best, her approval rating of 67% in that state is higher than even that of Sen. Chuck Schumer. Indeed, 48% of Republicans, 62% of Independents and 80% of Democrats in NY approve of the job she is doing as Senator of New York. Yet, according to Korha, "she is only in a position to be president because her husband was president before her"! Karl "unindicted co-conspirator in a whole string of felonies" Rove's next column for Newsweek can certainly use Korha's insights.

This is probably also an appropriate point to cite a recent interview of Paul Krugman by Mario Cuomo. While Krugman was certainly not advocating for Clinton and was actually highlighting how he would like to see more aggresive change in the country, here is a pertinent extract that I want to focus on:

Cuomo: (Laughs.) Yeah, right. Now, when it came to Bill Clinton -and you certainly you know him well and know his work well. And I think you said in the book at one point that he didn't have any real strong liberal credentials, nor certainly conservative credentials. You couldn't label him as either.

Krugman: Well, you know, I was - I mean, clearly his values I would have described as liberal, but he didn't come into the strong view about exactly what the role of government should be. I don't know what you think; I think of it as a liability. I think in the end - not so much him. It's not a critique of him. I think that we did not have a well-defined progressive movement when he came into office, and that that was a great handicap - that the other side knew what they wanted and the people who voted for and supported Bill Clinton were not so clear on what they wanted and he didn't have a clear agenda as a result.

Cuomo: Yeah, and you made that point in the book that he didn't have an agenda and therefore he didn't leave a legacy, really. And I think you're right about that. But most people - I'm not sure you did - but most people, I think, would say he had a good record.

Krugman: Oh, he has a terrific - he did a terrific job of governing, and you know, we forget - we forgot when we - when Bush came to the White House, we forgot how important it is simply to take the business, to take the job of running the US government seriously. So you look at - Fema was a prized, a much-honoured agency under Clinton - fell apart. The veterans administration was a morass when he came to office - became the best healthcare system in America. So it's - no - you know, if we could - I want that competence back, but I think we also need to have a clear direction.

Krugman makes a very important point that is completely lost on most CDS proponents. No, I'm not talking about the fact that the Clintons, unlike the Bushies, actually showed how Government could be run efficiently and deliver on the progressive vision that Government can do good things. I'm talking about the fact that the Clintons fought back against the GOP in a progressive-infrastructure vacuum and progressive-media vacuum and did the best they could under those circumstances. Even though the Democratic party (in Congress) had held power for decades (including some candidates currently running for the Democratic nomination), they had done very little to address this vacuum. Yet, CDS proponents believe that all blame should be laid at the feet of the Clintons - for both real and imaginary problems. Indeed, the Clintons realized the enormous effort required to fill that vacuum and Sen. Clinton has supported the creation of progressive infrastructure in recent years - whether it be think-tanks (like the Center for American Progress, which has been one of the voices calling for withdrawal from Iraq) or media watch sites like Media Matters or other entities.

Additionally, here's something else I pointed out recently:

If anything, [Sen. Clinton's] voting record on issues that corporate interests hold near and dear seems to be fairly progressive and generally comparable to Sen. Obama's, and her ratings from progressive groups and labor interests are usually very good. Perhaps even more importantly, the judgement she has shown in (not) voting for reactionary and radical nominees (esp. judicial nominees) of Bush is pretty impressive and rarely noted given the long-term impact of judicial appointments (and her record on this is arguably better than that of netroots hero Sen. Russell Feingold).

None of this, of course, means that the Clintons are not part of a Bush/Clinton dynasty where they jointly worked for 28 years on a secret plan to destroy America. The plan was so devious that the destruction was concentrated during the Bush years while during the Clinton years we had to endure the terrible nightmare of (relative) peace and great prosperity - thereby proving what a dangerous dynasty the Clinton dynasty was. The Onion could not have said it better in Jan 2001:

Mere days from assuming the presidency and closing the door on eight years of Bill Clinton, president-elect George W. Bush assured the nation in a televised address Tuesday that "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."

"My fellow Americans," Bush said, "at long last, we have reached the end of the dark period in American history that will come to be known as the Clinton Era, eight long years characterized by unprecedented economic expansion, a sharp decrease in crime, and sustained peace overseas. The time has come to put all of that behind us."

Bush swore to do "everything in [his] power" to undo the damage wrought by Clinton's two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.

During the 40-minute speech, Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.

Perhaps The Onion can pay CDS proponents, who seem to be available in plenty, to write a follow-up. Meanwhile, in the real world:

Two-thirds of Americans said they approve of the job [Bill Clinton] did while he was in office -- virtually the reverse of President Bush's current approval rating, which stands at 33 percent. Clinton remains overwhelmingly popular among Democrats, and 63 percent of independents and even a third of Republicans also gave him positive marks.

Not to mention, as I observed above, in the one state (NY) where people know Hillary Clinton the best, her approval rating of 67% in that state is higher than even that of Sen. Chuck Schumer and 48% of Republicans, 62% of Independents and 80% of Democrats in NY approve of the job she is doing as Senator of New York.

And these are the two people - Bill and Hillary Clinton - that a person ironically named VoxPopuli would like removed from Democratic politics. Sounds positively Rovian to me.

eriposte :: 6:36 AM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!