In Fox Interview, Bill Clinton Refers to Obamacare in the Past Tense
A Freudian slip from Slick Willy?
3:11 PM, Feb 23, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
Major Garrett recently conducted a revealing interview with former president Bill Clinton. They touched on a range of topics, including the president's health, Haiti, and the current state of the Democratic party. What struck me, however, is how Clinton kept referring to Obamacare in the past tense.
My favorite part is when Clinton says, "I think that they either needed to move faster or slower." Now that's Clintonian equivocation!
In a recent episode of Inside Washington, Mark Shields observed that since 1960 there have been only two presidents to leave office after eight years with 65 percent approval ratings: Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Shields then said, "Tell me the ideological grid in which they fit."
Will do. Both Reagan and Clinton, the first from 1981 and the second from 1995, governed from the center-right. Clinton's major achievements in office include NAFTA and the WTO, welfare reform, balanced budgets, and a capital gains tax cut. In 1996, Clinton prematurely declared the "era of big government is over." Government spending as a percentage of GDP was lower at the end of Clinton's presidency than at the beginning. Before Hurricane Monica struck, he was poised to push a Social Security reform that may have included personal accounts.
Sure, Clinton was helped by an incredible economic boom and eight years of apparent peace. But to his credit, after 1994 he learned that Americans do not want to be governed from the left. You would have thought Obama would get this, too, since in 2008 he campaigned from the center, as a figure who transcended both race and politics and would govern in a non-ideological fashion. Then he turned around in 2009 and handed the keys to Nancy Pelosi, David Obey, Henry Waxman, and Harry Reid. Democrats: Great Society liberalism is just as ideological as Reaganism!
Why won't Obama take a page from President Clinton, whom he has derided in the past, and thereby save his presidency? Simple. Because he hasn't been forced to. And he won't be forced to -- unless the Democrats lose Congress.