Jonathan Chait

Other Than That, Mr. Gregg, How Did You Enjoy The Play?

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The right-wing freak-out over the Obama administration's "socialist" economic proposals necessitates, among other things, total amnesia about the right-wing freak-out over the Clinton administration's "socialist" economic proposals. Here, for instance, is Judd Gregg drawing a line between the two:

I think I could have worked for the Clinton administration.  But if I had worked for this administration I would have been totally out of sync very quickly, because this administration has a very ideological purpose.  And, you know, I respect that; it’s their view.  But I could never be comfortable with it and agree with it. Whereas I think Bill Clinton was a centrist and basically approached most politics as a centrist.  This administration is not centrist; it’s very much got an ideological purpose, which I describe as trying to move us to a Western European social democratic model.

First Read adds this amusing sidenote:

(It’s worth noting that Gregg has not always spoken highly of the 42nd president. In a 1993 interview with New Hampshire’s Union Leader newspaper, for example, Gregg said Clinton’s economic plan would “reestablish government as the dominant force in the economy and in social policy,” labeled his tax program “class warfare,” and groused that the president “made no attempt to involve any Republicans” in its formulation. He also voted “guilty” during President Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999.)

Other than making government the dominant force in the economy, waging class warfare and excluding Republicans, though, Clinton was very centrist.

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