Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not

It remains to be seen whether Barack Obama had true coattails or whether the smashing Democratic successes up and down the ballot were a sign of the times, but there is one very dramatic difference between 2008 and 1992, and that is the success of Democratic candidates everywhere.

I remember watching the 1992 elections with some disappointment. As Bill Clitnon was being elected with a huge electoral vote landslide, we lost about 10 seats in the House and made no gains whatsoever in the senate. Dianne Feinstein and Russ Feingold beat out two incumbents, but Democrats Terry Sanford and Wyche Fowler went down to defeat in North Carolina and Georgia. We allso failed to unseat Al D'Amato in what was the marquee senate matchup that year. In Michigan, we actually LOST the State House. In 1996, we gained seats in the House but actually lost seats in the senate.

In 2000, Al Gore's strength in blue states and a good Democratic ground game braought along 5 seante seats, but I don't have to discuss the territory Gore lost in the electoral collefge. Now, fast-foward to 2008. Obama racks up wins in every part of the country, stealing states that we had not won since 1964 and 1976. Ohio AND Florida were actually called early in the night. Thus far we have a net of six senate seats with three to be determined. We have over two-dozen new House seats. We picked up the New York Senate, Ohio House, Wisconsin Assembly and Nevada Senate. We gained seats in the Michigan House and a super-majority in the Oregon House. We may even finish dead even in the Texas House. Was this Obama? Was it Dean's 50-state strategy? Was it the total meltdown of the Republican brand? I do not know, but I do know, 2008 is nothing like 1992.

Tags: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton (all tags)

Comments

42 Comments

Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Could Not Do

Apples and oranges, my friend.  Look at those Senate seats we lost in 1992 - both in the South.  Viewed in hindsight, it was the first wave of the realignment that we ultimately saw in 1994.  Obviously Clinton screwed some things up in his first turn, but what you saw in the early 90s was Southern whites finally deciding that their permanent home was in the Republican Party.  For cultural reasons, that was inevitable no matter what anybody did.

It's a different time now and we're claiming a realignment of our own, most notably in New England.  But are we seeing a Democratic tide, or more of an anti-Republican one?  My belief is that it's more of the latter UNTIL we demonstrate the ability to govern the country well.  We could lose some of these states as swiftly as we gained them depending on how well we do.

by Steve M 2008-11-06 12:48PM | 0 recs
agreed

granted, Obama was a very strong candidate, comparing the two points in time isn't right. George HW wasnt as unpopular as W. The economy wasnt AS bad as it is now. General distaste for what the republican party stands for now didnt exist in November of 1991.

In general, equating the two points in time, of November of 1991 and November of 2008, just does not make sense.

by sepulvedaj3 2008-11-06 01:06PM | 0 recs
I agree

by FLS 2008-11-07 09:29AM | 0 recs
Another "Bill Clinton sucks" diary.

I miss the primaries so much.  Dissing Bill Clinton with an intellectually dishonest argument.

In 1992, Democrats started out with 56 Senate Senates and 267 seats in the House of Representatives and ended up with 56 Senate seats and 258 seats in the House.

One reason that we picked up so many seats is that we started out with fewer seats.  In the House, we started out with 233 and we'll end up around 258.  In the Senate, we started off with 51 seats and well end up with 57-58.

Bill Clinton was the first post-WWII Democrat to win re-election.  Incomes rose and crime and poverty fell under his presidency.  Despite the impeachment saga, he left with approval ratings in the 60s.  Yet, he is still treated with such disdain in the Democratic Party.

Sad.

by psychodrew 2008-11-06 01:02PM | 0 recs
Right

and Bill didnt have Chuck Schumer working the Senate elections

by sepulvedaj3 2008-11-06 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Another "Bill Clinton sucks" diary.

There's no "Bill Clinton sucks" message in there at all. Why the need for hysterics?

by STLSignes 2008-11-06 01:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Another "Bill Clinton sucks" diary.

You're right.  Just a "Barack Obama is better than Bill Clinton" message.

Which, as it has been discredited by responses here, is also totally pointless and unproductive.

by Sieglinde 2008-11-06 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Another "Bill Clinton sucks" diary.

Did Clinton ever win 50%+1?

by RandyMI 2008-11-06 02:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Another "Bill Clinton sucks" diary.

Let's not reprise the greatest hits of the wingnuts who wanted to delegitimize Bill Clinton's presidency, please.  Clinton had to run a three-way race both times.

by Steve M 2008-11-06 02:08PM | 0 recs
For the past year,

I have read countless comments and diaries to the effect that Bill Clinton's two successive elections make him a more important figure in the Democratic Party than other Dem presidents, most notably Jimmy Carter.  This status presumably made him above reproach for his conduct during the primary season, even when it was derogatory towards the nominated candidate of the party.

I think it's very fair and even timely to point out that Obama is an important figure in his own right now, with his huge success on Tuesday.  Perhaps we can set aside the myth-making of Bill and Hillary long enough to give full appreciation to the president we do have now.

Honestly, I can't imagine that the worldwide outpouring of amazement and joy in Tuesday night's victory celebrations would have been equaled had it been another Clinton election.  I'm glad we picked the man we got.

by Dumbo 2008-11-06 03:49PM | 0 recs
Re: For the past year,

actually, there is no myth making, but look at the maps of the last 11 elections:

1968:
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1972:
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1976:
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1980:
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1984:
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1988:
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1992:
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1996:
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2008:
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notice something in the elections before 1992? We usually lost, and lost big. We would average 113 electoral votes in the 6 elections before him. In the 5 elections since 1992, we average 326 EVs. How do we do that? Because Bill Clinton brought us states we used to win very rarely, like MI, CA, PA, CT, NM, NH, VT, ME, CT, IL, MD, and DE. Those states were ALL won by Nixon in 1972, Reagan twice, and Bush in 1988. Carter won like 2 of those, and Humphrey won a few too, but lost nearly all of them. Then Bill Clinton came along, and put those states into our parties base. If you were to take those electoral votes from Obama, McCain would have won. Would you wanna go back to the days of Reagan/Bush? Clinton got Obama to where he is today. Just 20 years ago, Democrats never would win Obama's home state. Now, since 1992, its a lock Dem state, along with many others. 1992 could even be considered almost an electoral college realighment, when you notice how that pattern has stuck into 2008, helping Obama to the White House.

by Lakrosse 2008-11-06 04:06PM | 0 recs
We can both offer competing

bullshit narratives to explain the evolution of the electoral college over that time period.  For instance, the fracturing of the Republican Party, post-Reagan, when many Republicans became disenchanted by the contest between the idealists and the pragmatists.  As a Republican back then, I had close friends who switched to Perot in '92 and were rather annoying about it, while I switched to Dem because the Cold War was over, I wanted national health care, and I hated Rush Limbaugh.

But I think trying to explain things this way is a postmodern feast, not worth my time.  You have your narrative, I have mine.  In my narrative. what Bill Clinton did was years ago, and this election was about returning competence and pragmatism to the economy and foreign affairs.  Given the opportunity to return the Clintons to office, American Democrats preferred somebody new with less baggage.

It worked and it deserves its own due credit.

by Dumbo 2008-11-06 04:35PM | 0 recs
if you hadn't thrown in the Perot BS,

then I wouldn't have trolled you. Again, [ http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.ht ml?res=9E0CE0DB1F3FF936A35752C1A96495826 0&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 1992] and 1996 were NOT changed or altered by Perot. There were many non-Republicans who wouldn't have voted and Dems who voted for Perot too, not "only Republicans." You are not the only one who knew Perot voters, and you're anecdote does not stand up to actual data.

And for your little line about "given the opportunity to return the Clintons to office blah blah blah," it leaves out the Dem primary, and the fact it wasn't anywhere near the whole electorate. Plus, Hillary received more popular votes if you wanna play hard too, and the states she won were more electoral votes than Obama's. I'm not the one trying to bring the primary back, but when you do, so will I. But thats over. We have a new President. But I'm gonna give credit where it is due. Blame the OP for this if you want.

by Lakrosse 2008-11-06 05:04PM | 0 recs
Re: For the past year,

Look, none of us Clinton fans started this diary trying to argue that Obama owes it all to Bill Clinton, or anything like that.  But by the same token, I would have hoped we could have done without silly arguments like whether Obama's election is awesomer than Clinton's.  Clinton was the right candidate for his time and Obama, quite clearly, is the right candidate for his.

Obama has quite clearly put his stamp on the party and I sure didn't see many people talking about Bill Clinton before this diary got written.

by Steve M 2008-11-06 04:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Another "Bill Clinton sucks" diary.

Only because he pushed NAFTA. where did you think Perot got his oxygen?

by oyo 2008-11-06 05:13PM | 0 recs
no

but he did stay at a holiday in express

by sepulvedaj3 2008-11-06 02:20PM | 0 recs
fail, my enemy.

the Democratic Party wins, and you bring up a horseshit Republican talking point. Hang your head in shame. Obama didn't have to deal with Perot, who every actual data analysis concluded did NOT take more from the GOP candidates either time. I assure you if Perot had been in the race this summer when both Obama and McCain weren't liked much, Obama would not have broken 50%. Perot woulda showed strong, maybe even won.

Also, Bush Sr.'s approvals were only in the low 40's in 1992, not the low 20's like his sons.

by Lakrosse 2008-11-06 02:35PM | 0 recs
The Economy did not Crater in 1992 like the

great depression. The economy and Bush's incompetence and stupidity had a lot to do with the land slide.

by indydem99 2008-11-06 04:54PM | 0 recs
Looks About the same

After the 1992 elections, the Democrats had 258 house seats. Looks like the Democrats are going to have right about 255 seats. In 1992, the Democrats ended up with 56 senate seats. This year, we're going to end up with 57 seats if you count Lieberman. Looks like the numbers are the same.

The big hope we have is that Obama has learned from the Clinton years and will be more on the ball from day one.

by Zzyzzy 2008-11-06 01:27PM | 0 recs
yes I am sure he has learned

from old mistakes.

Plus a lot of his advisers were clinton advisers, so even if he doesnt learn from those mistakes, the hope is they DID learn from them.

by sepulvedaj3 2008-11-06 02:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Another "Bill Clinton sucks" diary.

It took us 14 years to get the majority back in congress after Clinton's screwups in his first two years let to the Republican revolution.

Yes, he did a great job playing defense after that, but we never got that universal health care he promised.... not even close...

What's even worse is that by the end of the decade, the democratic party was literally bankrupt in most state due to neglect.  As the titular head of the party, he certainly takes a lion's share of the blame for that... his dalliances with interns cost Gore the white house in 2000...

He was not a party builder, by any means... The party suffered dearly as a result of his initial arrogance lack of care of party business...

Yes, I liked him at the time... I still like him... America likes him... He was a good president after 1994... but, he did the Democratic party few favors during his run, and we have spent half a decade trying to rebuild what had withered away under his watch...

by LordMike 2008-11-06 07:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Another "Bill Clinton sucks" diary.

do yourself a favor, and read this post from above. you may learn something.

by Lakrosse 2008-11-06 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not

I think the people with clinton derangement are missing the point. Unlike 1992 , 2008 was heavily tilted to the democrats. Clinton did it in much tougher circumstances. In 1992 republicans were not reviled.

by rocky 2008-11-06 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not


In 1992 there was a national partisan split, if you pushed all leaners, of 42%D/58%R with a lot of conservative Democrats.

Today the national split (preceding Obama) is 52%D/48%R, which Obama did exceed.  And there is not a chance an Obama could have won in 1992.  Or 2004.

For all your resentment of Bill Clinton, Obama was the: Left/moderate candidate this election cycle and Hillary was the liberal.  In a year you will understand why many of us greatly preferred the latter.  Centrist/moderate government is exasperating and infuriatingly unproductive, passive, and corrupts rapidly once the low hanging political fruit have been harvested.

by killjoy 2008-11-06 04:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not

Bad comparison. It was actually remarkable that we held so many House seats in 1992. The 1990 redistricting had made dozens of seats more red friendly. When I started looks at political numbers and variables closely in 1996, I was astonished at the holds in 1992. In 1994 it was always understated that a huge chunk of those seats were merely finding their logical partisanship based on redistricting, one cycle delayed.

This is a completely different era. The country is not as conservative as 1992, the percentage of the white vote as a share of the electorate has plummeted, states like Colorado and Virginia have legit and ongoing blue demographic trends, the northeast has solidified in our favor, Hispanic numbers are finally being felt in states like New Mexico and Nevada, an elongated unpopular war, and the country has 8 more years of example of Republican ineptitude. That last variable cannot be undervalued. In 1992, the country was generally fine with Republicans, other than the end of Bush 41's term. Right now the country is disgusted with the GOP.

Obama inherited a ton of foundational support that would have elevated any Democrat. I've seen comparisons to Kerry today that are laughable. Kerry ran in an incredibly unfavorable situational environment, Obama in a remarkably helpful climate. I think it's Alan Abramowitz who uses the simple and valid formula of focusing on three main criteria -- numbers of terms in office for the incumbent party, economic conditions, and presidential approval rating. Absolutely correct. I've used ideas like that for more than a decade. Bush's approval rating was almost double in 2004 compared to periods in 2008.

It was natural coattails based on anti-GOP ferocity.

by Gary Kilbride 2008-11-06 02:21PM | 0 recs
plus the success

of the persian gulf war in contrast to the failures of the Iraq war

by sepulvedaj3 2008-11-06 02:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not

I don't think redistricting happened until 1993, and wasn't seen until the landslide 1994 election.

by manny 2008-11-06 04:23PM | 0 recs
huge FAIL for this diary

one thing I knew was coming after Obama's win was a wave of Clinton-bashing diaries, taking facts completely out of context to bash our 42nd American President. Dems started out with more seats in 1992 in both houses than had in 2008. Second, Dems were kinda seen as the Congressional status quo in 1992 but not in the Presidency, in 2008, GOPers were both the status quo in the Congress AND the White House. This is not comparing apples and oranges, but more like apples and corncobs.

by Lakrosse 2008-11-06 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not

I think what obama showed was that blacks have some leverage if they exercise their right to vote. That played a role in Jim Martin making the election close in GA. Obama may not have converted many republicans, but I am guessing he inspired a lot of the base turnout to be so high. Then again, I am just guessing as I haven't seen the numbers in detail.

by Pravin 2008-11-06 02:48PM | 0 recs
A possibly unseen corollary to that:

The success of this campaign in turning out so many blacks to vote Dem in states like NC, VA, and even GA, making them battlegrounds, makes it likely that in a post-Obama future, it will be almost a requirement that there be an African-American somewhere on the Democratic ticket.  

How unexpected a development that would be.  Only months ago, a black on the ticket was considered by some critics as a risky experiment.  Now it might become risky to not consider it.  Likewise, the Republicans may have to consider abandoning the dogwhistle politics of the Southern Strategy in order to blunt Democratic turnout.

by Dumbo 2008-11-06 03:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Randy, You sure you're a Democrat

Randy, are you sure you're a democrat ?

The reason I ask is we just came off a historic victory as a party 48 hours ago.

One of the many reasons we achieved this is because the three Superstars of our party, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton & Hillary Clinton were UNITED AS ONE. While Mccain was on his own. No help. Nothing to help him especially with swing/independent voters.

Bill & Hillary campaigned repeatedly & went all out in Florida, PA, Ohio, VA, & Indiana.

These were 5 MAJOR KEY STATES. All 5 states went for Obama. I would think that the Clinton's were able to help somehow, somewhere in delivering the votes.

9 out of 10 Hillary's supporters across the nation went for Obama.

I want you to remember that & realize that before you start posting a diary like this.

Lastly, How in the world can you compare 1992 to 2008 ?

First, The condition of the Democratic party machine in 1992 & 2008 are light night & day.

We were out of power for 12 LONG YEARS! We just came off 8 years of the Most Popular President in modern american politics in Ronald Reagan. Just literally two cycles prior to Clinton, the Democratic party suffered THE MOST HUMILIATING & WORST LANDSLIDE in history. We lost 49 of 50.
( It is pretty safe to say that NO ONE HERE WILL EVER SEE THAT KIND OF LANDSLIDE IN OUR LIFETIME)

4 years prior to Clinton, we lost decisively by a significant margin thru Dukakis.

We were a battered, abused political party. A party that was rapidly losing its last hold on the South. We were losing in the ground in the heartland states of america.

In other words, our national & state political machines were hurting big-time. The Republicans were outraising us by as much as 3 to 1. There was a lack of confidence among millions of democrats. Everytime Republicans used the dirty word "LIBERAL", we lost the moderate mainstream vote.

It took the party to nominate a Young, articulate, attractive, telegenic, Southern Centrist in Bill Clinton together with another Young, attractive, Southerner in Al Gore to beat the Republicans. Without a tandem of Southerners, we would have probably lost.

Despite the GOP having much more money, a much stronger machinery, we finally broke through as a party.

With all that said, How in the world can you compare that to 2008 ????

First of all, the american voter today has clear & precise memory of the PROSPERITY & PEACE for 8 years under GUESS WHO? The Democrat President Bill Clinton. ( During Clinton's run, there was NO COMPARISON!!! We wanted them to FORGET the Jimmy Carter disaster !!!)
Today, they have a point of comparison between the Clinton years vs. the Bush years. That's a huge PLUS right there. In fact, Obama, Bill, Hillary, Biden ALL KEPT reminding people of the Clinton years.

Two, How can you even compare the Economic problems in 1991 to the ones we have now ???

The greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression? Whether it was Romney, Giuliani or McCain, history was greatly against any GOP winning in this environment. From a tied race, Obama pulled away after September 15!

Third, without the internet, Democrats would not have been able to ever outraise the Republicans! Before the internet age, we could never even come close to the CASH that the GOP were raising from Big Business & Wealthy Republicans. It was not even close.

In 2008, the Internet not only leveled the field, we are now the better fundraising party.

I hope you would stop & think before even starting this argument.

Its not necessary & it does not benefit the party.

The Republicans are preparting a lot of ammunition against Democrats & the Obama administration. We do not need any of this among democrats.
I can go on & on.

by latinomaker 2008-11-06 02:55PM | 0 recs
For months, we have had posts and diaries

by bitter Clinton supporters reviving the primary wars.  We kept saying, please wait until after the election if you want to start the pie fights up again.  For instance, THIS THREAD from last Sunday that I can easily point to.  

by Dumbo 2008-11-06 04:02PM | 0 recs
I am a hillary supporter and I voted for Obama

Because Hillary endorsed him. I am glad Obama picked up Rahm Emanuel as his Chief of staff. I am expecting great things from obama. If he runs the country like the way he ran his campaign we would be fine.Now is the time to bury the partisan hatchet and cheer Obama's sucess.

by indydem99 2008-11-06 05:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and Clinton

I have often reported on this site that in my entire fifty-five years, I have never witnessed a more accomplished presidency than that of William Jefferson Clinton.

While I was of course very young during the Eisenhower years, he was, as an outstanding five-star general and father-figure, somewhat detached, so that the inflationary period after 1958 that much brought down his rating stature certainly contributed to JFK's narrow victory a couple years later.

JFK was, of course, the eptome of youth and beauty, but it was, as we now know, the cultural sophistication of Jackie which painted his administration indelibly with great class.  The White House parties of the period, from Nobel and Pulitzer laureates, to musical icons like Aaron Copeland and Leonard Bernstein to choreographers like Jerome Robbins and Georges Balanchine, veritably made the country glow.

But alas, JFK was also a Cold Warrior whose interventionist policies led to later disastrous interludes in Central and South America and in Indonesia.

Whatever would have been the final judgment on his successes, or possible failures, is now shrouded in the mystique of his assassination.  And now JFK and Jackie and their picture-perfect Adonis son John and young bride Carolyn are all frozen in time as young and vibrant and glamorous.  But it does mean that his presidency was successful; only that the perception of it by those of us who remember or read about it, in the afterglow of that mystique, earnestly want to believe that it was.

LBJ, who worshipped FDR, was clearly one of our greatest social legislators, and his drive to punctuate the Civil Rights Movement also sadly drove scores of Southern Whites to find segregationist kindred spirits in the Republican Party.  And that, sadly, made the South a veritable Electoral lock for the GOP until Southerners Bill Clinton and Al Gore broke that lock in 1992 and 1996.

But alas, LBJ also escalated the Vietnam War, and unfortunately his very real domestic achievements will always be dimly reflected by the turmoil, here and on foreign soil, that Vietnam engendered.

Richard Nixon, whatever his paranoia that led to Watergate, and by which his presidency is now sadly remembered, was not a bad President on the economic home front, and he opened the doors to China when such an overture was considered very daring.  Alas, Watergate also now defines that presidency.

Gerald Ford was a much more open, personable type, and his administration was refreshing in that new openness.  I recollect that Ron Nesson, his Press Secretary, mocked both himself and his boss's administration in an early episode of "Saturday Night Live" in 1975.  Yet the Ford presidency was brief and rather uneventful, but for his Nixon pardon, which certainly led to Ford's defeat in 1976.

The Carter presidency was heraled by the American Press, in the aftermath of Watergate, which was the sole reason by which it came to power, in that small percentage of popular vote besting of Ford.  Carter was ever a crusader for peace and reform, and he was justly first considered for the Nobel Peace Prize (and in fact honorably mentioned by the Nobel committee) for the Camp David accords of 1978.  But again, high inflation and Iranian hostages defined his last years in the White House, so that his presidency is now viewed as middling at best.  And his inevitable win of the Nobel Peace Prize, and all the suprene good he has done since, unfortunately cannot subtract that middling administration stature.

Ronald Reagan, eventually adored by the American Press as a sort of "great communicator," a "Roosevelt in Reverse," was in fact perhaps the nation's very worst Chief Executive (before George Walker Bush).  His "trickle down theories" indelibly undermined the social safety net, while permitting a whole generation of "Greed is good" Wall Street raiders to plunder resources in the joy of acquisitiveness.  Hollow glitz, as defined by the then contemporary "Dynasty" was the order of the day.  And a credit card mentality waa born which led to the GOP's bankrupt fiscal policies and plunder of natural resources, emblematizing their party through this very day.

Nor did he "destroy" the Soviet Union.  That nation imploded, unable to match its resources against the United States' silly "Star Wars" initiative.  And his was an adminitration of Iran-Contra secret wars which slaughtered missionaries and nuns, and for which he ought to have been impeached.  But then, even in his early tragic Alzheimer's state, he was ever the honey of both the American Press and stale and stodgy Democratic members of Congress, such as Chris Matthews' then boss Tip O'Neill.  Thus he is still defined, foolishly, as "transformational," when he ought to be viewed as the President that presaged Nobel Economist Paul Krugman's "Great Unraveling" of the United States itself.

The elder Bush, patrician to the core, had no need for machismo, and thus he chose caution in further intervening after the First Gulf War.   He was also a rather thoughtful man, but his obliviousness to the effects of a bad economic downturn--later epitomized by his glancing of his wrist-watch in a presidential debate--led to both challenges from Ross Perot, and of course, William Jefferson Clinton.

For me, and for scores more who well remember the utter malaise rendered by his several predecessors, Bill Clinton was not only great, but hands down, the greatest since FDR.  The then incredibly young couples Bill and Hillary and Al and Tipper came to Washington with great verve and initiative.  Because Jimmy Carter's administration was not then viewed with much esteem, the Clintons and Gores had to reinvent and redfine.  There was then no yet revered Democratic Party elder they could bring along with them.

Still, their agenda was ambitious.  They took on big tobacco, attempted comprehensive health care reform, sought for detente and gay rights, and of course "focused like lightning" on the economy.  But they attempted to do all of this all the while being fought by a media which loathed them ("Clinton was the one that got away") and a GOP who felt that because of Clinton and Ross Perot, they were robbed of their presumed lock on the White House.

Thus, Bill Clinton was viewed, unlike the Bush crowd, not being "to the manner born" and deserving, but rather as a presumptive "White Trash."  Forget about his Yale Law School and Rhodes Scholar genius, or platinum persuasion skills.  The MSN and GOP would have none of it.

On the eve of surely losing Congressional control, that Democratic Congress passed the Clinton budget bill--with no GOP support--and, through those congressional sacrifices, ushered in truly "the longest peacetime prosperity" the nation had ever witnessed.

Then, while Kenneth Starr never ceased in his Witch-Hunt of the Clintons, Bill and Hillary moved steadfastly forward.  There were bold peace initiatives in Northern Ireland and the Middle East, Americorps, smoke-free workplaces and restaurants, genuine welfare reform, environmental awareness, a successful resolution in the War in Bosnia, and very few casualties (none at all after Somalia which preceded Clinton) of American service men and women, and, finally, a supreme budget surplus by the time Bill Clinton had left office.

And all while the MSM and the GOP sought after his impeachment, because he wouldn't truly fess up under oath about his phone and oral sex with another consenting adult!

Would that any GOP president in modern times left office with as much accomplished as Bill Clinton! Not only would Republicans have solicited for his face on Mount Rushmore, but, knowing that there simply could be no room for another Presidential face on Mount Rushmore, they would have built him a monument as high as Mount Rushmore itself!

But alas, not Bill.  Ever and always the "one that got away."  So that when George Walker Bush disavowed the fact that he neither won the popular vote nor was truly elected by the state of Florida, and thought to "reverse all things Clinton," the result was that eight years later both the nation's economic front and foreign policy are in shambles.

I believe, as a Clinton fan, that Barack Obama is brilliant and truly transformational.  I believe he has the capacity to be one of the greatest of all American Presidents, and that he has ushered in a redefinition of the Electoral Map on a progressive path that rivals FDR"s.

But his successor disavowed all the things good about William Jefferson Clinton, and today GWB is regarded as the worst President in modern memory.

Barack Obama has many extraordinary gifts.  But I would advise him not to tred upon a platinum success story--and the Clinton years, silly partison impeachment efforts notwithstanding--were just that.

Nobody else is more qualified, is yet more loved by all the world through his own Global Initiative, than is Williamn Jefferson Clinton.  He literally defines a Secretary of State.  Certainly not Colin Powell whose argument that there were "weapons of mass destruction" led most Senators--including Hillary Clinton and now Veep-elect Joe Biden--to acquiesce to the Iraq Invasion.  And that wrong-headed move was a cornerstone in Barack Obama's seeking after the Presidency in the first place.

And nobody else is more qualified--in recent campaign stops Barack Obama as much as admitted so--than is Hillary Rodham Clinton to lead the nation's universal health care initiative.  She has passionately studied all aspects of it--and the fact that she failed in her efforts the first time round only makes her more understanding than anyone else of how not to go about achieving it.

I pray that President-elect Barack Obama will lead us out of the long nightmare of Bush-Cheney.  And that he will have the wisdom to utilize the Clintons.  For if recent history is any judge, disavowing them can have the worst of consequences.

by lambros 2008-11-06 03:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and Clinton
Excellent post. Although I don't share your love for the Clintons, (I could never really trust either of them) you have clearly and passionately laid out why they deserve to be loved.
I disagree with quite a few of your points, but I'm going to let that stuff go.
Obama is already pulling in the best and the brightest from the Clinton years. And while I think it would be a mistake to appoint either Clinton to a position within the White House (Obama must forge his own path in that respect and the Clintons have never been keen on following the lead of others) he will be using every tool at his disposal, including the Clintons, to lead this nation to the future.
by EvilAsh 2008-11-07 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: WTF

this is a poor diary.

RandyMI, how old are you ?

I'm a business owner & lifelong democrat from Ohio.

To compare 1992 & 2008 is like comparing Jesse Jackson's 1st presidential run to Barack Obama's 2008 run.

Do you understand or were you old enough to remember the democratic party we had in the 80's & early 90's compared to 2008 ?

In case your memory fails you. We were a party that had lost tens of millions of white voters. We were a party that were dominated by various interest groups. We were identified as the party coalition of blacks, unions, gays, civil rights, women's rights, etc.

we lost millions of white mainstream voters & millions of reagan democrats across the country.

Bill Clinton was able to gain enough Trust among white voters to give him a shot. He won enough white voters to put him over the top.

In 1992 & 1996, millions of reagan democrats came home for the first time. The proceeding 8 years of prosperity under Clinton left good memories for everyone including these white voters.

The fear of the word " Liberal Tax & Spend " that killed Dukakis & Mondale were eliminated during the Clinton years. It was a time of prosperity.

Millions of whites today have a point of reference to go back to on how Democrats run the economy. Thanks to 8 years of Clinton.

Clinton had nobody. He had to rebuild the image of the " New Democrat" just to pull off a win.

Apples & Oranges here. This is an unproductive diary.  

by labanman 2008-11-06 03:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not

Obama didn't do it.  WE did !!

I would argue that Obama got swept in with a huge Democratic tidal wave.

President Obama was yet one more benefactor of a sea change to the left and a repudiation of Bush and the Republicans.

It might just as well been an Al Gore, a Bill Richardson or a Hillary Clinton.

I think we are all happy and excited that Barack Obama won but I truly believe any Democrat would have won this year.

by wblynch 2008-11-06 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not

I agree with you 100% weblyn.

I believe most political analyst & 95% of political historians would also agree with you.

We had a phenomenal candidate in Obama. Probably the best ever.

But in the environment we are in, any credible, outstanding dem nominee would have been a very heavy favorite to win.

And the same holds true for the GOP. Whether it was Romney, Giuliani or Huckabee who was the nominee, it would have been extremely difficult for any Republican to win in this scenario.

Chuck Todd also made a good point. If not for the racial issue of white voters, AR,WV,TN could have easily gone blue.

by labanman 2008-11-06 04:18PM | 0 recs
Clintons are horrible folks, too much baggage

..now wait where did I read that storyline? Oh March-April DKos...

Thanks RandyMI for your remarkable contribution.
BTW is DHinMI your friend?

by louisprandtl 2008-11-06 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not

Instead of relaxing, celebrating & being happy, we all end up arguing over something so irrelevant & silly.

Lets leave the Bill Clinton vs. Obama saga to the historians 50 years from now.

This diary really serves no purpose. Instead of talking about who is better Bill or Barack- can we all just move on. Its total nonesnens.

by labanman 2008-11-06 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not

If Ross Perot hadn't run in 1992 and '96 it's possible the Dems would have lost both times.  And if that sounds like a knock against Bill Clinton, think again.  He saw his opportunity and took it.  Played the Perot card so well most people today think he won states like Nevada, Georgia, and Montana off of his popularity.  Would you rather the Dems have lost?  Of course not!  

by IncognitoErgoSum 2008-11-06 09:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Did Something Bill Clinton Did Not

I've read through a vast majority of the comments and, basically, I've come to the conclusion that we've got to let this type of stuff go.

Clinton managed to snag the presidency during a generally bad time for Democrats. The old-school anti-progressive dixicrats were the margin of democratic majorities, and congressional republicans had a message and leadership while democrats were perpetually at each other's throats and heavily invested in pocket-lining and pork-barrel politics.
Clinton's election was a necessary and timely speed-bump in the republican's multi-generational plan for dominance. (Jeb Bush was supposed to step in after H.W.s second term after Gengrich delivered congress).
Groups like the DLC were instrumental in the nineties in preventing this country from descending into an effectively one party system. No, Clinton was unable to do a vast majority of the things he wanted to do. That was partly due to his own mistakes (the lack of discipline and confusion of his first year in office), the strength of the republican brand, and the internal divisions of the party. But he managed the country well, at a time when life was generally pretty good so there were no calls for big changes. He's caught a lot of flack for not having coattails. While that is technically true, the democratic party as a whole lacked cohesion and direction, with some of the party locked into old liberal paternalism, some into a socially conservative, economically populist message, some into more modern progressivism, and some into the Clinton's camp of centrist triangulation.
Clinton did everything he could in those circumstances. Those years were about the survival of the party, and a lot of compromises had to be made (DOMA, NAFTA, and DADT).
This year's election was an entirely different political world. The dixicrats are gone, having died off or lost to republicans throughout the south. A socially conservative democrat today is much more liberal than those even ten years ago. The republican brand is a mess, and the party-itself is fracturing. In this environment, Obama was able to offer leadership and a direction for the country that simply wasn't possible in 1992. (If Clinton would have tried, he would have been killed not only by republicans, but by many democrats as well. Plus, plenty of people thought everything was going pretty damn well, in general, so the message wouldn't have been welcomed by the public.)
In 1992, the country was looking for a president who could 'feel their pain', something that H.W. Bush just couldn't do. In 2008, the country is looking for a president to lead us in a fundamentally new direction and restore our place in the world. They are both presidents uniquely suited for their time.  

by EvilAsh 2008-11-07 11:50AM | 0 recs

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