Monday, September 03, 2012

Obama and Clinton

At the Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton will be given the most prominent role, after the president. Clinton's speech promises to be a scorcher:
Clinton has the Wednesday headlining gig, and Democrats said he could unload on the GOP in a way Obama simply can’t.

“Obama can’t say what Bill Clinton can, which is ‘I got screwed. I got this job and every Republican made a blood pact to screw me.’ He can’t say that. It may be true, but he can’t. But Bill Clinton can,” one veteran operative said Sunday.
If Bill Clinton can forgive Obama, so can I. I guess. At any rate, I find the New Yorker's view of their testy relationship a lot more convincing than Ed Klein's right-wing fantasies.
For Obama, the reconciliation could help him win in November. It’s also an ideological turnaround: Obama, who rose to the Oval Office in part by pitching himself as the antidote to Clintonism, is now presenting himself as its heir apparent. It’s a shrewd, even Clintonian, tactical maneuver.
Clinton, it seems, has advised Obama to paint Romney not as a flip-flopper but as a far-right ideologue. The two critiques are diametrically opposed, of course. I think Clinton is wise: Although this country keeps getting nuttier each year, we still aren't ready to be led by the ghosts of Ayn Rand and Jerry Falwell.

Besides -- although Clinton can't say it out loud, Obama is also highly vulnerable on the flip-flop charge. NAFTA provides the most obvious example. It's hard to name a major issue on which Obama has not taken more than one position. (Afghanistan, perhaps.) Of course, all of his flips have landed him to the right of where he started, so you probably won't see the Republicans critique him on those grounds.

If undecided voters see Romney as the epitome of flippity-floppitiness, they will rationalize that Mitt's final flip may land him in a reasonable position. If, on the other hand, they see Mitt as one point in a line that runs from Todd Akin to Glenn Beck, that sort of rationalization won't work.

The problem with Clinton's advice is obvious. "Flip flop" is an argument that could depress turnout among movement conservatives, who never felt comfortable with Romney. Conceding that Romney is a movement conservative will only fire up his base.

On the other hand, I doubt that the hard right will listen to a word that Team Obama has to say. The Democrats have to direct their message to the persuadable.

In that light, you may want to see this:

That's Matthew Dowd, the GOP strategist who put Dubya in office, ripping into the Romney campaign's approach. I think Dowd is among those conservatives who believe that his party has simply gone too crazy. There's hope for this country if the electorate penalizes the far right for its contempt of reality.
If you think that Bill Clinton has really forgiven Obama then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
Clinton for all his faults, (signing the repeal of Glass-Steagall, chief among them) is a loyal party member.


Repealing Glass-Steagal was Phil Graham's fault; he had amassed a veto-proof majority. If Clinton had not signed, the law would have passed with provisions allowing redlining.
I'm surprised there isn't a plank to end Labor Day in the GOP platform, they are that looney.

Note to Ben: IF Bill Clinton had the congressional majorities and a fawning press like Obama did his first two years we would be in a very different place.

O-bots bash Clinton with Gramm-Leach, conveniently forgetting it was turn-coat Democrats gave it a veto proof majority. The Kossholes even trotted out Vince Foster in their derailing of Hillary.
Although it has been thirteen years, we still should remember:

In an apparent response to a 1992 plea from Enron, Dr. Wendy Gramm, then chair of the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission, moved to exempt the company's energy-swap operation from government oversight. By then, the Houston-based Enron was a major contributor to Senator Gramm's campaign.

A few days after she got the ball rolling on the exemption, Wendy Gramm resigned from the commission. Enron soon appointed her to its board of directors, where she served on the audit committee, which oversees the inner financial workings of the corporation. For this, the company paid her between $915,000 and $1.85 million in stocks and dividends, as much as $50,000 in annual salary, and $176,000 in attendance fees, according to a report by Public Citizen, a group that has relentlessly tracked Enron, which in turn has called the report unfair.

Meanwhile Enron had become Phil Gramm's largest corporate contributor—and according to Public Citizen, the largest across-the board donor in its industry. Between 1989 and 2001, the company tossed Gramm just under $100,000.
Yeah. Override was a problem, but he could have vetoed and let the Republicans take ownership.

Robert Rubin was his Treasury secretary, and he favored the bill. Brad DeLong and Tyler Cowen said it softened the 2007 blow, but I don't see that, not being an economist.

The one upside to being led by "the ghost of...Pat Robertson" is that it would imply he was no longer among the living (which he is, for some values of "living").

Perhaps you were thinking of Jerry Falwell.
Yow! Prop, Falwell was indeed the very "holy ghost" I was thinking of. Sorry!

Maybe I should correct the original post...Yeah, I think I will.
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