Bill Clinton

Obama’s Economic Speech: What’s Missing
June 15, 2012

Jonathan Cohn is right that Obama’s much-touted June 14 economic speech presented a devastating but truthful and fair critique of Mitt Romney’s economic plan. Noam Scheiber is right that political commentators who fault the speech for lacking poetry or novelty are missing the point: This speech was intended to delineate, in simple, direct terms, the differences between Obama’s approach to the economy and Romney’s.

Mayor Friendly
June 08, 2012

Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s star has been rising for what seems like an eternity. His fame rests largely upon a number of almost absurdly heroic acts, which have varied from harrowing to Hollywood-esque: saving a resident from a burning building, cradling a twelve-year-old dying from gunshot wounds, hunger-striking for better police protection in the projects, sleeping in a trailer for five months to halt open-air drug markets. Along with Booker’s media-friendly persona, these superhero moves have ensured a steady stream of adulation.

Richard Nixed
June 08, 2012

IN MARCH 2011, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, California, opened its new Watergate Gallery—the portion of the museum devoted to the constitutional crimes for which President Nixon will always be known. For years, visitors had seen an extended apologia for Nixon, which absurdly suggested that Democrats planned to impeach him in order to make House Speaker Carl Albert president.

Bill Clinton: Not *That* Off-Message
June 06, 2012

Republicans have worked themselves into quite a state of giddiness over comments by Bill Clinton (last night) and Larry Summers (this morning) that seem to favor extending all the Bush tax cuts when they expire on January 1. As Mitch McConnell told reporters today, “Bill Clinton’s remarks, and then Larry Summers remarks—it’s pretty obvious that the economy needs the certainty of the extension of the current tax rates for at least a year.”  Uh, no, it’s not. Even if you take literally Clinton’s and Summers’s imprecise musings, it’s hard to see how you get from their statements to McConnell’s.

Let Us Bow Down Before The Big Dog
June 03, 2012

Well, so much for Barack Obama's reelection campaign talking at all about Mitt Romney's career at Bain Capital. The private equity firm has proven a great vulnerability for Romney in the past and it exemplifies the economic vision Romney is running on, but Obama better lay off it for the rest of the campaign.

Why Republicans Aren’t the Only Ones to Blame For Polarization
May 18, 2012

The working assumption of many political commentators in Washington is that politics is more polarized than it has been in decades and that it’s the Republican Party’s rightward drift that’s to blame. The evidence bears this out—in part. But it also suggests a more complex story. First, the electorate has polarized. Over the past two decades, the public’s ideological self-description has changed significantly.

Why Romney Praising Clinton Makes Sense
May 08, 2012

My colleague Jonathan Cohn has the goods in explaining why Mitt Romney’s new attempt to drive a wedge between Barack Obama and the more centrist Democrats nostalgic for Bill Clinton fails as a matter of policy reality. But it’s also worth noting, with only a smidgen of facetiousness, why it actually makes some sense for Romney to praise Bill Clinton, apart from the blatant political gamesmanship at work. First, consider that when Bill Clinton was president, Mitt Romney was...kinda liberal! Heck, he even voted for Clinton’s rival Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Massachusetts Democratic primary!

Romney Hearts ... Clinton?
May 08, 2012

Here’s an argument I didn’t expect to hear from Mitt Romney: The problem with Barack Obama is that he’s not more like Bill Clinton. In a speech to college students in Michgan on Tuesday, Romney invoked Clinton’s example and chastised Obama for, supposedly, going back on progress that Clinton and New Democrats had made during the 1990s. From the prepared text: President Clinton said the era of big government was over. President Obama brought it back with a vengeance.

WJC On LBJ Is Really WJC On BHO
May 02, 2012

Here is Bill Clinton, reviewing The Passage Of Power, the fifth volume of Robert Caro's Lyndon Johnson biography, in the May 5 New York Times Book Review:  L.B.J., [Sargent] Shriver and other giants of the civil rights and anti­poverty movements ... believed government had an essential part to play in expanding civil rights and reducing poverty and inequality. It soon became clear that hearts needed to be changed, along with laws. Not just Congress, but the American people themselves needed to be got to.

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