Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reassessing Bill Clinton

If someone says its not about the money, its about the money.
If someone says its not about the sex, its about the sex.
If a politician says its not about politics, its about politics.

I saw the American Experience program about Bill Clinton. It got me to thinking.

It looked in the program as if Clinton may have been seduced by Monica Lewinsky at a moment when he was especially vulnerable -- the government was shut down by the House of Representatives led by Newt Gingrich, the Democrats having lost control in the mid term election of Clinton's first term. Of course, he was wrong to be involved in an extramarital affair and wrong to try to cover it up. But do we want to elect the nicest guy president or do we want to elect the guy who will do the most for the country?

Clinton managed to get legislation through a Republican Congress in his second term of office. For the only time in recent memory, the federal budget was in balance. Employment was high. Economic growth was high. There was not talk about whether the United States had lost its competitive edge as Amazon, EBay, Apple, Microsoft, Google, were flying high or about to do so. He got wellfare reform into law, even over the objection of some Democrats. When Al Qaeda bombed two embassies, Clinton bombed them back, but didn't overreact by taking the country into two wars nor establishing sets of threat level indicators to fuel paranoia.

The Republicans seemed more interested in getting Clinton out of office than in good governance, as the Republicans seem today to be more interested in getting Obama out of office than in good governance. The public saw that that was true in 1996, and kept Clinton in office; lets hope that the public sees what has happened in the Obama administration and votes accordingly.

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