Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Bill Does Seattle

I saw Bill Clinton last night at a fundraiser for my Congressman Jim McDermott.  As always, he was charming, extemporaneous and the best partisan speaker the Democrats have.  He knows how to rally the troops to the cause and refocus our attention on the broad strokes of the Party platform and the inherent differences between the philosophy of the Left and the ideology of the Right.  And like he said last night, “There are no ideological solutions to the problems we face.”  We must first analyze the facts before we can chart the proper course.  This is the value of having a thinking person in the White House.

His main message as he travels around helping Democrats raise money is that there is a big difference between Republicans and Democrats.  Even if we disagree on the details of the issue, he says, we all agree that the greatness of our country is found in its working people, and not in industry and those made rich by ownership of it, as the Republicans do.  There certainly is truth in that.

I read Bill Clinton’s book when it came out a few years back, have seen him speak twice and I have to say, I like the man.  Whatever problems I have with some of the choices he made in his effort to build a strong economy that would benefit all working people, I always felt that his heart was in the right place.  There have been few Presidents with the kind of working class background that Clinton had, and growing up watching your parents struggle has a profound affect on how you view the world.  Justice and equity are important to Clinton.  If you doubt that there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats, just take a comparative look at the last two residents of the White House.  They and their philosophy of the purpose of government and how it should function couldn’t be more different.


Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

I understand how you feel and agree in many respects. Where I have a big problem with Bill Clinton is that his economic and trade policies have been an unmitigated disaster for working and middle class Americans. Rather than acknowledge that and advocate reform, he insists the people being hurt don't understand and are just resisting inevitable change.

In fact, it was wrong to pitch America's middle class and working people into headlong competition with 80-cent-a-day workers in China. It was wrong to stand idly by while huge unregulated transfers of technology and knowhow were sent to other countries. It was wrong to allow not only jobs and businesses, but whole industries to have it both ways, enjoying the benefits of U.S. support and protection, enjoying profits from U.S. markets, all while exploiting foreign workers and hiding behind Caribbean-mailbox "headquarters" to escape taxes and responsibilities.

Sure, some trade and globalization are inevitable. But it was wrong to dump the kind of massive disclocations we're seeing on the backs of one generation of American workers, and those who need and want to be workers.

It's equally wrong of Clinton to join Bush in demagoging about people who point these things out, depicting them as isolationists who unrealistically want to hide America's economy behind high tariff walls.

Because a person decries the mindless extreme we have now doesn't mean they prefer the equally mindless opposite extreme.

1:21 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

S.W.A., now we are witness to the perils of blogging while high...

LG, we're in the same generation so I'm pretty sure you were around when the Big Dawg convinced the Dems to tell the unions and the rest of us working classers to fuck off, and instead go fight for the same corporate campaign donors the Rethugs have had locked up for so long. When he sold the whole country up the river by pushing NAFTA (Bush I's baby, remember?) and the WTO on us. When he unzipped his fly, not for the infamous intern, but to piss on all of us who had fallen through the cracks by repealing welfare. When he sponsored an unprecedented wave of media mergers by signing the Telecommunications (Giveaway) Act, resulting in our current state of affairs with the corporate media. And all the while failing to recognize that the Rethugs had declared war on him and the rest of the country, instead playing along, pretending that cooperating with such rabid lunatics was some new "3rd Way" that would benefit all concerned. You were around for that, right?

The thing is, you and I "agree that the greatness of our country is found in its working people, and not in industry and those made rich by ownership of it," and that "justice and equity are important." When the Big Dawg says that, he is lying.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Green Living said...

Two points...

1) Bill Clinton was / is a smoozer. He talks big, lies big, and knows how to twist people around his finger. He's a thespian with words and even those who claim to hate him get caught up in his rhetoric.

2) Let's not forget his appalling record with civil rights -- one of the most significant marks a democratic president should make on the country during his term. LG -- I was reading his book 'My Life' last January and actually enjoying his hundreds of good-ole boy stories and name dropping (much like Hillary's book 'It Takes a Village') until I watched the funeral of Coretta Scott King. When I listened to him use a sacred honorary time for one of the greatest people in the history of American civil rights as a political platform (Hillary, too), I stopped reading the book. I couldn't even stomach having it in my house. Except for Jimmy Carter, the other 4 presidents in attendance did their fair share of platforming, too. Here's an excerpt from Jim Kouri's opinion article shortly thereafter the service:

"Then we have President Bill Clinton who received the loudest applause and adulation during the six hour service. Not one major piece of legislation was passed during his administration that benefited African-Americans, according to a review of Clinton's eight years in the Oval Office. In fact, the so-called civil-rights establishment stood by in silence when Clinton reformed the welfare system and cut thousands of African-Americans from the welfare rolls.

It was no secret that most of the civil-rights groups were -- and continue to be -- in league with the Democrat Party. This allowed Clinton to ignore the issues that Jackson, Sharpton and -- yes -- Rev. Joseph Lowery believed were important to blacks. Paradoxically, Clinton is heralded as the "first black president." Clinton's mentor, whom he continues to invoke, Senator William Fullbright was a segregationist who fought the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965. He is quoted as saying to an audience at Stanford University that "the [US] Constitution is outmoded." In fact, Democrat senators such as Fullbright and Robert Byrd of West Virginia attempted to filibuster the civil-rights legislation. It was the Republicans who gave President Lyndon Johnson the votes he needed to pass the legislation."

Bill Clinton did nothing more than use the office of President of the United States of America for his own political gain, his own physical and psychological comforts and his distorted popularity.

A great man? Pleeze. A great actor, maybe...

10:00 PM  
Blogger Roberta Kelly said...

Mollie my dear this is where you and I part ways in a most divergent split.

Bill Clinton is a member of the Bilderbergs and so is his wife, Hillary.

The Bilderbergs are a significant voice in the one world government, ruling elite.

Clinton is responsible for being the puppet to bring NAFTA as well as many, many other horrific dissolutions of the entrepreneurial infrastructure of America.

He is guilty of war crimes himself and he has used DU as well as nuclear weapons. He and his best friend George H.W. Bush have been accused by the international watchdog community of clearly being involved in serious "Tesla" high technology interference with tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis (why did he and George H.W. Bush run to see what happened in Indonesia after the tsunami? - to help! - ha, hardly).

Do your homework and research the slime Clinton because the worst of the worst are those who appear to be our "benevolent leaders." At least Georgie Boy is directly transparent and we can see that he is not only NOT a leader but the slime that he is, he can't, won't and doesn't sugar coat.

Yes, the working class is an integral part of our muscle-skeletal system of American greatness, but America's energy bones is really about the entrepreneur.

Clinton is all about creating as many working class citizens as he can. This is the ruling elite's program.

You will NOT see the Clintons promoting the entrepreneurial spirit. The ruling elite can't have too many really bright creative thinking people because they'll expect to be rewarded for their contribution of genius and most certainly the creative types won't settle for rulers over leaders.

Whose ego is really more grandeoise - Bill Clinton or George Bush?

Go watch the video www.beyondtreason.com because it is all about the real Bill Clinton.

7:58 AM  
Blogger Roberta Kelly said...

While I'm on my rant about Clinton and Clinton ~

Greenspan was part of the biggest fraud ever committed on Americans and it was the dot com bubble and now we're seeing his part in the housing bubble, which is the Federal Reserve System's way to "transfer wealth."

Ever wonder where all the bubbles come from - they say it's inflation, I know - but really it's too much money printed into circulation.

Clinton is one of the ruling elite's puppets and should you study about how the CFR, etc. pick their guys and gals, you'll see the skull and bones stuff as well as the Rhodes Scholars.

Clinton is a Rhodes Scholar.

Clinton is directly responsible for this mess of Republican hostile takeover because it was planned by the "good ole boys" of which he is an honorary member.

Just read his book and it’s easy to see what a pathetic blue blood wannabe that he is.

William F. Buckley (the godfather of conservative for the Republicans) said it better than anyone I've ever heard speak of Clinton:

Q: Mr. Buckley, what do I think about President Bill Clinton - ". . well, he doesn't really believe in anything but himself."

Don't get fooled again.

Any politician who is being wooed by or who is already in the fold of, the ruling elite (CFR, TC, etc), are NOT our true leaders. Rulers, yes but I thought we were NOT about oligarchy.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Clinton gave too much to the other side in terms of trade, labor and environment. But, you have to remember at the time there wasn't much of a voice saying he was giving too much, there were Democrats (hello Joe!) saying he wasn't giving enough and had unified oppisition from the Republicans, right wing media and all those investigations. All things considered I think it’s amazing he did as well as he did.

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill's policy influenced the creation of many small time, start-up businesses. Entrepreneurs got many a chance to prove themselves. The losers in the Dot.com crash saw the internet as a powerful new market, but they didn't expect traditional markets would remain naturally superior. Internet commerce seemed appropriate for the heralded global economy. Lesser economies (local, regional, state, and national) cannot remain subordinate.

My personal issue is land-use and transportation planning. These very important issues fared well in the clinton years. clinton era R&D produced GM and Ford's 70-80 mpg hybrids. Bush dropped these immediately for hydrogen and biofuels, though the hybrid, particularly the Plug-in Hybrid has far, far more potential.

US presence in the Middle East is for the petroleum, period. The LATimes article, "The 500 mpg Solution", regarding Plug-in Hybrids, doesn't describe even half the benefits.

Animosity toward Bill is sorely misplaced, compared to the Bush Administration.

9:23 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Those of you complaining about Clinton as President need to join the Reality World yourselves. In our lifetime Clinton is as good as it is ever going to get for us. Politics is all about compromise. Haven't you learned that yet? If you can't recognize how much better it is to have Clinton as President than Bush, I believe you are hopeless.

Sure I would love to have a President who wants to legalize marijuana, for example, but it ain't going to happen in this country anytime soon.


9:48 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"Animosity toward Bill is sorely misplaced, compared to the Bush Administration."

"If you can't recognize how much better it is to have Clinton as President than Bush, I believe you are hopeless."

This is a false dichotomy, no better than Bush saying if you don't agree with me, you're for the terrorists.

George W. Bush is, hands down, the worst U.S. president ever. That said, every president earns his own report card.

I stand by my remarks about how thoroughly wrong and bad Clinton's pro-free trade and globalization policy was.

I'll throw in that his shabby behavior with Monica Lewinsky let down his wife, family, supporters and the Democratic Party terribly.

What's more, Clinton blew his chance — and responsibility — to build, broaden and strengthen the party going forward. He was too busy fighting off impeachment.

That's not to say subsequent Democratic defeats were all his fault, they weren't. It's just a case of a great opportunity lost.

10:14 PM  
Anonymous Green Living said...

A big giant 'ditto' to s.w. anderson -- especially the part about every president earning his report card. That's what this discussion is about, actually. No one president will ever be perfect in every way, shape or form. We're just giving out report cards here.

Most importantly, anderson points out that Clinton did have the golden chance to keep the Democratic Party 'alive' so to speak. His own selfish reasons, (described wonderfully by Roberta) just got in the way.


11:08 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Interestingly enough, I agree with all of you. I was never a Clinton fan, in fact when I saw him for the first time during the first primary debate I said, "who let the Republican into the debate?" Once in office he gave away the store on just about every issue and the progressive non-profits that had helped him stood silent while he did it. It was so frustrating to see grass roots activism stymied due to false hope that Clinton would come through. I’m sure they’re still waiting (and many are lining up to make the same mistake with Hillary!).

I didn't even vote for him when he came up for re-election. Sure, the economy was looking better but the opportunity to move the country forward was squandered in favor of "globalization" and the nightmare that is NAFTA and WTO. After the event the other night, I took a lot of shit from my fellow bloggers for expressing what a disappointment Clinton was and how he set in motion a lot of the problems we are facing today.

Comparing Clinton to Bush, it is hard to say there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans (after Bush, Clinton looks great), but that does not mean that the Democratic Party, as it is now, isn't in serious need of reform. A Party that thought Clinton was the best of the lot is a Party in need of a serious realignment of priorities. We cannot survive having two corporate owned political parties and pulling the Democrats away from the trough is at least possible (I hope), and Clinton is largely responsible for leading them there in the first place. Bill will be able to do a lot of good in getting Democrats excited about voting in the midterms, but he will never be any help in severing the ties with all that corporate money. We on the left need to keep the pressure on so that we never have to settle for a candidate like Clinton again.

Believe me, he doesn't get a pass from me, I just think that to say there is no difference is not exactly true either.

10:25 AM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Oh, and I never said Clinton was a "great man" I simply said I liked him (and I like him a lot better now that he's no longer President, he can do less damage that way).

10:47 AM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

"A Party that thought Clinton was the best of the lot is a Party in need of a serious realignment of priorities."

Ah, but Clinton was/is a handsome, charming rascal and the best stump speaker in America. You have to recall the context of the time when he won the nomination. His Democratic presidential candidate predecessor had been well qualified to be president, but horrendously unqualified to campaign for the job. And if I recall correctly, the GOP had been consistently ahead in fund raising.

I've long been a big fan of Walter Mondale, who had been Jimmy Carter's V.P. He was the right man at the wrong time, because his Upper Midwest liberalism, cast in the tradition of Hubert Humphrey, wasn't hard-edged and brassy enough for the Democratic hard left when he ran for president.

Mondale was one of the best presidential prospects to ever run and not make it: bright, experienced and good to the bone, with a kind of "aw shucks," straightforwardness reminiscent of Jimmy Stewart. He wasn't brash and exciting, just extremely smart, earnest and decent.

Mondale wasn't the kind of guy you might fantasize about running off to Acapulco to have a fling with. He was the kind of guy you want your daughter to marry.

I've come to believe, though, that had Mondale won the Democratic nomination in 1990, he would've enjoyed much more enthusiastic support among Democrats and probably would've won over some Republicans and independents.

That's speculation, I admit, but winning was and will remain a big priority, as it must. Charm, charisma, humor, oomph and a compelling presence all count for a lot. Maybe they shouldn't but they do.

Regarding your concerns about candidates deeply in the pocket of corporate and other big-money interests, I'm with you. Republican-lite isn't good enough any more.

12:15 PM  

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