Clinton commits Obama to an audacious agenda
Bill Clinton makes a complex case for the president's re-election.
Former President Bill Clinton made a case for Obama’s reelection on Wednesday night as complex as his own tenure in the White House: tightly focused but rambling, folksy yet wonkish, a call for unity that levied a barrage of criticism against Republicans.
At times, it seemed as though the saxophonist – freely improvising – would dissect the entire federal budget by each line item for delegates at the Democratic National Convention. His 50-minute monologue contained mouthfuls of sound bites, so many that it might very well have swallowed his message.
He essentially promised the American people a national renaissance that President Obama – who has struggled to revive the economy so far – would have to deliver in a second term. The man from Hope, Arkansas, committed Obama to total audacity.
“If you want a future of shared prosperity, where the middle class is growing and poverty is declining, where the American Dream is alive and well, and where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, you should vote for Barack Obama,” Clinton said.
“So far every single person that has bet against America, has lost money – because we always come back,” added the Comeback Kid, riffing off his own prepared remarks. His words pumped up the crowd in ways that discussion of policy minutiae almost never does.
He claimed that middle-class families whose children have down syndrome or autism would suffer from Medicaid cuts if Republican nominee Mitt Romney won the Oval Office. He chopped through the political calculus with budgetary arithmetic to argue that Medicare will go broke by 2016 under the Romney plan to repeal Obamacare. Child nutrition, welfare-to-work, airline safety, and college loans were each wedged into his speech.
The former president, who left office in 2001, filled the void of details in Romney’s proposals with his own argument. The Republican nominee pledges to trim tax rates, increase military spending, and reduce the budget deficit without quite revealing how this trick would be accomplished. Americans would pay the price for that alchemy in one way or another, Clinton said.
The Romney campaign Twitter feed was noticeably silent amid the verbosity. Joe Pounder, research director for the Republican National Committee, fired back that Obama had already failed to fulfill the aspirations that accompanied his ascendancy back in 2008.
“Remember, Barack Obama said if he didn't have the economy fixed in three years, this would be a one-term proposition,” Pounder tweeted.
The economy remains in shambles. Unemployment has stayed above 8 percent for the past 42 months, the longest streak since the government began tracking the figure back in 1948. The national debt has ballooned to the size of the gross domestic product, a $16 trillion obligation largely fueled by the massive budget deficits meant to restore a country crushed by the 2008 financial crisis.
“No president, not me or any of my predecessors, could have repaired all the damage in just four years,” Clinton said. “But conditions are improving and if you'll renew the president's contract you will feel it.”
Yet the problem with the vows proffered by Clinton’s speech is political in nature. He hailed Obama as a president willing to compromise, yet he could not explain what incentive would be dangled before the GOP to break the gridlock of the past two years. Even if Obama secures a second term, he will still be forced to reckon with the Republican majority in the House of Representatives in order to honor the assurances given by Clinton.
In his own 1996 reelection speech at the Democratic convention, Clinton envisioned a “bridge to the 21st century” made possible by cooperation between government and business, and a partnership between Republicans and Democrats. “We can only build our bridge to the 21st century if we build it together, and if we're willing to walk arm-in-arm across that bridge together,” commented the president who would be impeached by House Republicans two years later.
The bridge ended up landing on a fractured shore, and the ground has only become rockier since. Perhaps the only question not addressed by Clinton’s soliloquy was how Obama could smooth the way with a Republican party that, by the former president’s own admission, cast out lawmakers who were willing to compromise. All Clinton could do is confirm that a genuine divide exists between two parties devoted to their principles.
“When times are tough, constant conflict may be good politics but in the real world, cooperation works better,” he said. “After all, nobody's right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day. All of us are destined to live our lives between those two extremes.”
Josh Boak is a national correspondent at The Fiscal Times. Subscribe to The Fiscal Times' FREE newsletter.
More from The Fiscal Times:
- Are You Better Off? Here Are the Numbers
- Middle Class? How to Survive and Thrive
- The Republican Jobs Plan: Trust Us to Do Better
Good article, but there's more:
It was a decision that President Obama and his team of advisors decided to make at the outset of his presidential term. Faced with very bad economic conditions, the president decided that monetary policy (printing money and infusing it into the economy ) was a better choice than attempting to fix the economy by fiscal policy (in this case, reducing the tax burden on corporations and individuals).
There is no hiding from the facts. His tactic didn't work, and there are no signs that it will. In fact, buried in the most recent economic report out on Friday was a statistic that most people missed but is very troubling: recent M3 data prove that the money supply is growing at a very rapid rate, and this is a leading indicator of inflation.
Inflationary pressures are great in this country, but the government simply does a terrible job calculating it. We all know the numbers -- 47 million people on food stamps, 25 million underemployed, lowest number of people employed since 1980's, $16 trillion in debt (and we require $1.3 trillion more each year to meet our budget shortfall).
However, what is about to make this even worse is that, due to the choice the president made in early 2009 to print money, we are about to see prices soar in this country. Add to this unnecessary and ineffective approach that we might see more destruction of the U.S. dollar with QE3.
We will see the prices of the top items that most Americans spend their after- tax dollars on to live everyday rise close to 10% over the next 12 months. While wages that you earn at work are actually going down, it is going to cost you at least 10% more just to achieve your same standard of living next year as it is this year. Make no mistake about it, this is due primarily to the decision to print money.
To make it really easy to understand, think of it this way: When you create more of anything, the value of it is reduced, and that goes for money, as well. When you literally print money, the value of the money you already have becomes worth less. When you print more money, the value of the dollar drops and that, in turn, makes our import s more expensive to buy.
You probably have been feeling it for years, but never knew why everything costs more, especially since the government -- through its bogus reporting of inflation -- tells us that it cannot be true. Well, it is. Interestingly, this policy program that Obama chose hurts the middle class and single woman the most because they spend a higher percentage of their income on food and energy, which are rising the fastest due to his printing of money.
For the most part you can tie the rising costs of most everything back to Obama's decision to use monetary policy, versus what Mitt Romney and Republicans are supporting, which is fiscal policy. In November we can all decide if we want to elect to have more monetary policy or if you want to elect a different approach, fiscal policy.
Neither Mitt Romney or Barak Obama have given a clear decisive path to economic success in America. Why do we continue to vote for canidates who offer vain promises with no solutions?! Until Democrats, and Republicans learn to work together, and until we get a president who drawes a clear path to economic security we can all agree on, we all fail, and we all suffer... Stop trying to gain one sided fortune by secluding your ideals to a republicn or democratic agenda. All you are doing is keeping each other down!
The recession ending in 2009 -
2012 average jobs created per month (thru August) 139,000
2011 average jobs created per month 153,000
August 2012 - jobs created 96,000 or 43,000 less than the 2012 monthly average
June and July jobs created numbers revised DOWN 41,000
Goes hand in hand with the revision each week of for first time jobless claims that revised UPWARD each week (last week up 3,000)
What would really be telling - what % of the 96,000 jobs were fulltime with benefits, part time no benefits, contract worker (pays both the employer and employee parts of socail security and Medicare - ie:13.30% as of 1/1/2013 - goes back to 15.30).
How many of these people hired are making 20% or more less than previous job.
You can make a lot of smoke and mirrors with numbers!
BIll clinton is like the pork chop you have to tie around the neck of an obnoxious child so th edog will play with him.
obama.....you can paint a turd yellow ...but it don't make it a banana
They've convinced you that "greed is good" - they got theirs and scr3w you.
What ever both party are fool of crap get ready for more bad news on the job front.
republican are the creator of free trade so you might want to apply for welfare next year can you say Obama.
George W. Bush: Decline of 646,000 jobs
Barack Obama: Increase of 332,000 jobs
These totals do not include government jobs.
There is no magic wand for sustainable recovery. It's going to take a few more years for most Americans to really feel it. So, do we now elect someone who would give even more tax breaks to the wealthy, cut social programs that help the middle class and elderly, and cut benefits to the unemployed (Romney)?
Or, do we elect a president who knows the middle class needs to continue to fully heal and recover, and knows that if we cut social programs now while we are just beginning to heal, it would only hurt us more (Obama)?
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