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Posts Tagged ‘bill clinton’

The Times They Are a-Changin’

March 12th, 2012


“Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’…”
-Bob Dylan 

The battles of the sixties may finally be over. How do we know? Because 2012 looks like the first election in nearly fifty years in which social issues are working to the advantage of Democrats.

Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to the United States in 2011 provoked a thought. In the 1960s, China experienced the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. They got over it. In the 1960s, the United States experienced the Great American Cultural Revolution. We never got over it.

Until now.

Eight years ago, Bill Clinton offered this defining explanation of American politics: “If you look back on the sixties and, on balance, you think there was more good than harm in it, you’re probably a Democrat. And if you think there’s more harm than good, you’re probably a Republican.”

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Was Bill Clinton Clintonian?

September 15th, 2011

by and

This piece was originally published by The Washington Post.

For Bill Clinton’s detractors, the term “Clintonian” implies reliance on poll-tested political formulations and shifting policy positions. Earlier this year, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) derided President Obama’s rhetoric as full of “Clintonian back-flips,” while the conservative Daily Caller recently taunted Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, calling his varying views on government bailouts “Clintonian.”

To his supporters, however, the term “Clintonian” is the opposite of slick. To be Clintonian means you possess a political philosophy, intellectual integrity and the courage to take on the outdated orthodoxies of your own party. (This stands in stark contrast to today’s leading GOP presidential aspirants, who oppose even minimal tax increases, deny global warming and question the validity of evolution to appeal to a unique slice of Americans known as Iowa caucus-goers.) Read the rest of this entry »

The Showdown to the Shutdown

March 7th, 2011


First, Congress has to pass a budget for the remainder of 2011. The Republican-controlled House has already passed a 2011 budget with $61 billion in spending cuts. It’s a non-starter in the Democratic Senate.

A few weeks later, Congress has to vote on whether to raise the debt limit. Or else put the full faith and credit of the United States at risk. Tea Party activists in Speaker John Boehner’s home district have already written Boehner a letter warning him that “raising the debt ceiling is in direct conflict with the platform that you and the Republicans in Congress ran on in November.”

Later this year, Congress will have to pass a budget for fiscal year 2012, which begins in October 2011. Third showdown, same issues.

It looks like a government shutdown is three times as likely as it was in 1995. What’s different about 2011? Mainly, the personalities. For one thing, John Boehner is not Newt Gingrich. For another thing, Barack Obama is not Bill Clinton. Gingrich and Clinton were warriors – free-wheeling, sometimes reckless, willing to lead the troops into battle. Boehner and Obama are presenting themselves as conciliators trying to restrain the troops from drifting into war.

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To keep the 2010 midterms from repeating 1994, Democrats can learn from Reagan

September 20th, 2010


This piece was originally published in The Washington Post.

“We are going to lose the House and the Senate.”

Those were the opening words of a memo that I faxed to my then-boss, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), on Labor Day in 1994. Schumer was still in the House, I was his legislative director, and my prediction was based on one overarching idea: The Democratic Party had lost its way. Our national agenda had been hijacked by the parochial agendas of aggrieved special interest groups. And as a result, we were badly misfiring with the middle class.

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High-minded Obama lacks fear factor

February 23rd, 2010


This piece was originally published in Politico.

Why does President Barack Obama strike so many voters as an elitist?  Because he is, by style and temperament, an “NPR Democrat.” He’s smart, cool and rational — “All Things Considered.” Conservatives do not consider all things. They consider only what they damn well want to consider. Sarah Palin got off a zinger when she told the tea party convention, “We need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at a lectern.”


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What Would Jesus Do?

January 29th, 2010


This piece was originally posted on the Huffington Post.

Will the culture wars ever end? We have now had three Presidents in a row who promised to unite the country. They all failed.

Bill Clinton said in 2004, “If you look back on the sixties and, on balance, you think there was more good than harm in it, you’re probably a Democrat. And if you think there’s more harm than good, then you’re probably a Republican.”

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