Saturday, November 06, 2004
Bill Clinton Told You So
I'm surprised to admit that this election has made me respect President Clinton much more. Though I never voted for him, I understand now what he tried to achieve. Prior to his first campaign, he was the leader of the Democratic Leadership Council, a conservative Democratic group that was trying to steer the party to the center. Dennis Prager predicted before Clinton's election that the Democrat who distanced himself from the Jesse Jackson left wing of his party would win the support of the broad center of the nation. Clinton did exactly that in his first campaign.
Though the Republican Congress deserves much of the credit, Clinton then passed some landmarks in conservative legislation, like NAFTA and welfare reform, both of which have been huge successes and have received almost no accolades in the press. When welfare reform passed there was much hand wringing that poverty would increase, children would go hungry, the sky would fall. None of this happened. People mostly just got jobs when their benefits ran out. The media has been silent about how effectively and humanely the welfare rolls were slashed.
Clinton tried to make it clear to his party that liberalism was dead. It had either already won important issues that were now accepted by the American mainstream (civil rights, women's rights) or had taken basic liberties and morphed them into entitlements that the mainstream would never accept (quotas, abortion on demand). It had no winning issues left to fight for. In 2004 the Democratic rank-and-file fell in love with Dean. The establishment was so appalled that they nominated the most liberal man in the Senate. They completely ignored Clinton's message, and spent George Soros's millions on nothing more than grape flavored Kool-Aid. Clinton tried to steer his party to the center; Kerry just drove it off a cliff. Oh, yeah!