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Posts Tagged ‘President Clinton’

The Times They Are a-Changin’

March 12th, 2012

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“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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Look to ’94 Crime Bill to Solve Budget Crisis

June 16th, 2011

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This piece was originally published in The Hill.

The FBI reported that crime took another dip last year. That came as a surprise, because conventional wisdom held that crime rates track the economy: fewer jobs, more crime.

But the decline in the crime rate is not a one year blip. In the last fifteen years, the number of murders in America declined by one-third, assaults by one-fourth, and car thefts by one-half.[i]

Is there a lesson here for the budget debate? Just as the budget is the dominant, intractable, insoluble problem today, so was crime in the 1990s. Just as a major deal on an anti-crime package seemed improbable then, a major deal on the budget seems a pipedream today.

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For energy reform advocates, lessons from health care

August 2nd, 2010

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This piece was originally published in The Washington Post.

With the United States struggling to recover from a job-killing recession, a Democratic president asks a Democratic Congress to pass sweeping reform of a major sector of the economy. “We can no longer afford to continue to ignore what is wrong,” he explains. “We must fix this system, and it has to begin with congressional action.” The public, however, rejects this plea. The proposal dies in Congress, and recriminations begin. Chastened and disappointed, advocates regroup and seek a new path forward.

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The Tea Partiers: Hating Big Brother

April 7th, 2010

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This piece was originally posted in National Journal.

What’s driving the ferocious backlash against health care reform?

Some see racism and bigotry. Anti-immigration sentiment is certainly a component of the backlash. The outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., (“You lie!”) during President Obama’s health care speech in September to a joint session of Congress was triggered by the president’s statement that the legislation would not provide free coverage to illegal immigrants.

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Sky’s The Limit For 2010 Spending

March 19th, 2010

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This piece was originally published in National Journal.

The wild card in the 2010 midterm campaign is spending — specifically, unrestricted spending by corporations, trade groups, and labor unions. In its January decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court overturned part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law as well as one of its own precedents in order to allow private groups to spend freely on campaigns right up to Election Day.

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