On Wednesday night when Democrats gathered in Charlotte, former President Bill Clinton spoke with gusto, obviously enjoying himself.
As Clinton's address dragged on (and on), however, the impact any other speaker might have made was, to borrow a verb from another speaker, vaporized.
Sandra Fluke, for instance, spoke about birth control without mentioning the real issue that gave her a shot at a career in either show biz or politics.
The issue isn’t whether women will have access to contraception—the issue is whether the taxpayer will fund it and whether Democrats can force religious organizations whose tenets frown on birth control to fund it for their insured employees and students like Fluke.
Fluke, in the scheme of things, was an attempt to keep the infamous gender gap with women open on the Republican end. Good luck with that—enjoy your oral contraceptives, girls, while you try to pay for groceries, gas, clothing and that electric bill Democrats’ policies, as the president hoped, sent rates “skyrocketing.”
Senatorial wannabe and alleged American Indian Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts gave an eminently forgettable speech resting on repetition of the concept of you as victim. Terms like fair share, the game is rigged, a level playing field recurred throughout her rendering of Republicans as the bad guys.
Warren managed to get in one big plus for Romney among the American electorate—she said Republicans would “vaporize ObamaCare.” That act would benefit every American because the bill is a poorly constructed, anti-patient, big taxing, lobbyist-friendly mess. The ObamaCare Tax Bill was not written with you, the patient, in mind.
Think about what you like for a minute. You probably like being able to keep young people on a parents’ policy until age 26 and non-denial of coverage for existing conditions. Those two and any other pet objectives could have easily been addressed in a clearly written bill that didn’t levy upwards of 18 new taxes on Americans.
Democrats instead chose to compose a bill that ran thousands of pages, one reason most of them didn’t even read it before passing it into law. That negligent act alone should have sent Democrats to the recall center so popular with that party.
By the time Clinton took the stage, the evening was old and the identity politics had become wearisome. Nevertheless, Clinton took his time.
A few things of note are due Clinton, however.
For starters, it wasn’t all peaches and cream with Congress during his term. Much of what is credited to Clinton, whose political rehab is astonishing, should be attributed to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) who was the real wonder boy during those years.
Gingrich practically throttled Clinton into signing work-to-welfare, for instance. That was a matter of public record. Clinton vetoed the bill—twice. He signed it because he wanted to get reelected.
Clinton’s big push, aside from hope for HillaryCare, was deregulation. His economic adviser took credit for it on his bio page. A Democrat senator also slipped an amendment into a bill that actually enabled the meltdown. See Gretchen Morgenson’s book Reckless Endangerment if you want more truth about the meltdown—she writes for The N.Y. Times and she’s certainly not a rightwinger.
Clinton also enjoyed a number of benefits from the Reagan era and the revenue from the tax bill hike President George H. W. Bush signed on to after promising he wouldn’t. That’s why Bush 41 lost a second term and it’s also a reason we are in deep weeds today.
You give Congress a tax hike, they just spend the bucks on new stuff.
Clinton adapted the Republicans as Neanderthals approach in his speech, stressing cooperation while delivering one of the most partisan addresses in the land. Saying nice things about the GOP one minute and bashing the brains in the next—behavior just like the cranky, unpredictable donkey that is the symbol of his party.
By the time Clinton began to wax poetic about veterans coming home “bearing the wounds of war,” I had enough. I turned off the TV and went to bed.
Clinton was a draft dodger.
I figure Democrats’ internal polls must not look too good. That’s the only way they’d have given Bill Clinton—“America’s first black president” as party faithful often call him—a primetime speaking spot with no reins on how long he expounded.
One final thought. When you talk about Clinton’s policy, bear in mind his promotion of housing and deregulated lending. Clinton did what all Democrat presidents do—he built a bubble.
Knowing that bubble would burst eventually, Dems popped it just ahead of the 2008 election because that left a Republican on the hook. Republicans had attempted to reform government sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae that even Obama’s tax-error-laden Treasury Secretary said helped lead directly to the meltdown.
Democrats fought those Republicans viciously, even tossing race cards in every direction to stop the reforms.
Every time you hear a Democrat blame Bush 43 for all those financial ills, remember that bubble and give those Democrats their “fair share” for helping to tank the economy because that truly was a bipartisan deal.
How do you know the meltdown was bipartisan in origin?
Not a single looter has gone to jail during President Barack Obama's term, and no one talks about the financial bailout Clinton undertook to “save the world” in 1998.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Sept. 6, 2012)