The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

In defense of the Clintons

Posted by Bill Nance on August 31, 2008

There’s something I’ve been wanting to say ever since the Democratic primaries started, and I didn’t have a blog until fairly recently, so by the time I had somewhere besides nasty letters in which to say it, the race was over.

Things that have been rumbling around in my scattered mind for a while eventually just insist on coming out, and here I am, up at some ungodly hour of the night, er, morning and out it comes. I can’t help myself.

So here it is. It may not be pretty, but it’s certainly something I’ve had on my mind, and I’d like to say publicly what I’ve been screaming at my television and computer screens for months.

I’m well aware of the Clinton haters. I’ve been reading their babble and listening to their drone for a long time. Even people I otherwise have a lot of respect for are in this group, and I’ve never quite understood it.

Clinton Deragement Syndrome seems to consist of three groups:

1. The rabid conservatives who without cause had it in for them before they ever got to the White House. These people are insane and they’re so closed-minded they might as well have a padlock ’round their noggins. They weren’t rational in 1992 and they still aren’t. I’d try to argue with their position, but they don’t seem to have one other than “we hate them.” The rest is just whatever is handy to use as ammo.

2. The extreme left of the Democratic Party who were pissed-off that the Clintons didn’t try to impose some imaginary socialist paradise by fiat after 12 years of Republican presidents.

Clue for you people: the Clintons, who were core members of the DLC, spent years trying to convince the Democratic party that running to the left of Ted Kennedy doesn’t get you elected; and by the way, it produces lousy policy. They never promised to be knee-jerk radical leftists and Bill would have never been elected in the first place running a repeat of the pathetic campaigns of Mondale and Dukakis. Even in it’s “liberal” phases, America is a conservative country. The Clintons were smart enough to grasp this and stop trying to fight it. Instead they tried, succesfully, to moderate it in the middle of a conservative cycle. -You guys lost the argument. Deal with it. Jack Kennedy wasn’t your kind of progressive. Harry Truman wasn’t your kind of progressive. You think America is going to elect Abbie Hoffman?

3. The LGBT folks who felt betrayed by “Don’t ask Don’t Tell,” and DOMA.

They tried to do more. The fact is, Bill got creamed with the gays in the military issue. He took a lot of punishment trying to improve the situation. He lost more political capital in trying to support a position 75% of the American public didn’t want to hear than the issue was worth in terms of the progress he lost on on other issues. It cost him the loss of the Senate and House in ’94. So it’s not like he didin’t do anything, and it’s not like there was no reason there wasn’t more progress. He screwed up in the way DADT was implemented. It was a BAD screwup. But it wasn’t a plan, it was a mistake. It was intended to be an improvement.

When he signed DOMA he was looking at a veto-proof majority and Congress had threatened to pass a constitutional amendment if he didn’t sign it. (which would have passed in state elections in 1996, don’t kid yourselves)  You would have preferred having to undo the constitution to having to repeal a law? This is called making the best out of a bad situation. Grown-ups have to do this all the time. Deal with it. We are finally getting to the point where DOMA has a decent chance of getting repealed. If he’d not signed DOMA, we’d be stuck with the same law for the next 30 years.

The Clintons were a team, and Hillary was a big part of that team. She was the policy wonk, Bill was the master of the political organizing and leadership. They produced, overall, terrific policy improvements. They weren’t perfect, but after 12 years of Republican mismanagement and fundamental changes in the American political psyche, a lot of it was having to settle for what was possible, not necessarily what was preferred. This is called politics, where you don’t get everything you want. /END RANT

Well. Now that I’ve got that out of my system…I feel better.

-Nuff said


One Response to “In defense of the Clintons”

  1. […] by Bill Nance on October 28, 2008 I’ve written before that I think Bill and Hillary Clinton got a bad rap in the ’90s, and here in Massachusetts, I voted for Hillary in the Primaries. (A tactical move, not fanatic […]

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