September 6, 2005

THE THIRD WAYERS STICK TOGETHER:

Clinton Is an Unexpected Partner in Storm Effort (ADAM NAGOURNEY and JOHN M. BRODER, 9/06/05, NY Times)

As President Bush and administration officials fanned out across the Gulf Coast in the White House's campaign to deal with criticism that they had failed in managing the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, there was one unexpected face in their crowd on Monday: former President Bill Clinton. [...]

Mr. Clinton's visit to the Houston shelter on Monday is the latest time the former president has come to the current president's aid in his second term, from early in the year when Mr. Bush was criticized for his slow response to the tsunami, to initially defending the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina at the White House last week, to praising the credentials of Judge John G. Roberts Jr., Mr. Bush's choice for the Supreme Court. And it offered what many Democrats described as a vivid, if slightly disconcerting, insight into the complicated and increasingly transactional relationship between the Bush and Clinton families.

While officials in both parties said they had no doubt that both men were first and foremost intent on helping Americans, they also took note of the web of political benefits spun by this burgeoning alliance. It helps Mr. Bush during the roughest time of his presidency, Mr. Clinton as he tries to establish himself as a respected and admired former president and Mrs. Clinton as she potentially prepares to run for president in 2008.


Fifty years from now the presidency that'll be harder to square with the Republican epoch will be George H.W. Bush's liberal one, not Bill Clinton's essentially conservative one.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 6, 2005 9:30 AM
Comments

Orrin's got a pretty good idea on Clinton, but only after 1994. Before that disaster-for-Dems election Clinton was a routine lefty, raising taxes and trying to expand government. But he was smart enough to move way right after the disaster. He did want to get re-elected, after all.

Posted by: Casey Abell at September 6, 2005 10:05 AM

Casey:

It was an economic mistake, but recall that even in '93-'94 he was in his Eisenhower Republican phase focussed on balancing the budget.

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2005 10:10 AM

Clinton likes being on TV. Hillary thinks it helps her also. Clinton moves where the wind takes him. Paul Tsongas (remember his alliance with Rudman for a balance budget) ran a consevative campaign in 1992 primaries and Clinton has been stuck there ever since.

Also Perot kept the balance budget issue front and center also. Then 1994 and the Republicans win and proceed to do the hard work. Clinton nevered cared about balancing the budget, but accidently let it happen. (Democratic socialist are probably still wondered how that happened)

Posted by: h-man at September 6, 2005 10:42 AM

oj doesn't understand the type of politician who believes he can best serve himself by staying in office. Is it possible that Bill Clinton has no other interest than the well-being of Bill Clinton? Sampling his rhetoric over the years in relation to the ever changing, late century zeitgeist, one could conclude that Mr Clinton would have adopted Maoism if it would help him in his quest for the perpetual government-guaranteed income.

Posted by: at September 6, 2005 11:13 AM

Doesn't he already have a perpetual, government-guaranteed income?

Posted by: Governor Breck at September 6, 2005 11:39 AM

Yup. And oj's version of 'third wayism' got him there.

Posted by: at September 6, 2005 11:42 AM

He governed pretty much as he ran, though too cautiously as regards SS and Health Care reform later on. The only odd part of his tenure is the Hillarty Care he let his wife play around with, but was only too happy to dump himself.

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2005 1:43 PM

Everytime he went left, he paid a price - with Lani Guinier, gays in the military, Hillarycare, tax increases, bugging out of Somalia, even with Bill Lann Lee.

That's partly the result of divided government, but also the result of Clinton's grasping, unctuous nature.

Clinton's most egregious problems (Chinese money and influence, the personal corruption around him - Ron Brown, Cisneros, etc., the refusal to do anything about the terror threat, the inability to get Europe to do anything about the Balkans, North Korea, the FBI and travel office fights) - now these are almost apolitical (almost). But they do reflect an unserious approach, no?

I wonder if the next President will even talk to the press. Republican or Democrat, the bar has been moved way up there. It's time for someone to knock it down. The next President is probably going to have to figure out how to tell the media that they are just carping retromingents (I think that's how it's spelled).

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 6, 2005 1:58 PM

Clinton let Hillary run things for the first two years. He even made Jocelyn Elders a permanent GOP campaign ad.

After the voters handed him an enormous defeat in 1994 - which his party has never recovered from - he sent Hillary to the kitchen and veered sharply to the right. Even Ann Coulter once confessed she couldn't find much to disagree with him on policy after that.

She did have a lot of fun with his intern dalliances.

Posted by: Casey Abell at September 6, 2005 2:11 PM

Doesn't anybody remember what happened in 1994? Do the words, "Newt Gingrich" ring a bell?

Clinton himself told us all about it. Those people did themselves in with the so-called Assault Weapons Ban, the price of which was the Contract With America. The only achievment of the era for which Clinton deserves credit being the defeat of health care reform, which he accomplished by putting it in the care of Hillary.

We should remember that Clinton's first accomplishment was the gays in the military fiasco, which he undertook of his first day in office.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 6, 2005 3:06 PM

Casey:

Only the Health plan, and though I don't give him credit for being the political genius some claim, it did distract the left while Clinton moved Right on the budget.

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2005 3:08 PM

oj-

Clinton raised taxes. Reciepts increased due to Nasdaq 5000 more than anythingh else. He left office with a flurry of executive orders and usless regulations with almost no accountabilty. Any attempt at rolling them back is grist for the ecological demagogues and may have led, to a degree, to our current energy and manufacturing predicament. If he were left with the choice between economic collapse or losing an election Clinton would choose economic collapse.

Posted by: at September 6, 2005 3:25 PM

The tax increase was miniscule, though a mistake. As you point out, it was only after he was done that he made any real mischief and that was of the juvenile delinquent variety, not serious.

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2005 3:29 PM

Juvenile delinquency in the White House. Not a big deal. We do keep defining deviancy down, don't we? Regulation and social experimentation with law enforcement and the military were clinton's m.o. If that's your 'third way', keep it. It will enhance neither security nor liberty.

Posted by: at September 6, 2005 3:52 PM

Clinton only balanced the budget with the peace dividend. The budget gap closed in EXACT parallel to the decline in defense spending relative to GDP.

Posted by: Palmcroft at September 6, 2005 4:06 PM

So if Bolton succeeds in pushing through the UN reforms, Kofi Annan should be hailed as a great and effective secretary general?

Posted by: Daran at September 6, 2005 4:18 PM

Palmcroft:

Exactly. All else remained the same, something that could not have happened with a genuine liberal in office.

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2005 4:49 PM

Daran:

Certainly if the UN is reformed the way John Bolton proposes under Annan's leadership he'll be remembered as the most inmportant Secretary General ever.

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2005 4:50 PM

A few hijinx from a guy in power is the first, second and third way. No one has repealed human nature.

Posted by: oj at September 6, 2005 4:59 PM

This must drive folks like lonbud crazy. The Left made itself over into Clinton's personal personality cult, to the point of practically worshipping his genital area during the whole Lewinski affair . . . and here is their hero, supporting the eeeeevil Chimpy McHaliburton.

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 7, 2005 6:31 AM

Whatever the merits of Clinton himself, what a strange headline ("Clinton Is an Unexpected Partner in Storm Effort") and opening graf ("... unexpected face"). Especially when the story promptly details the litany of recent Clinton-Bush pairings, all of them widely known. There's nothing "unexpected" about his presence here.

Posted by: SP at September 7, 2005 8:18 AM

SP:

Both the Left and the far Right are always going to be surprised to discover that Bill Clinton is essentially a randy Republican.

Posted by: oj at September 7, 2005 8:23 AM

The health care fiasco was Clinton's "only" move to the left before 1994? Yeah, right. You forget tax hikes, gays in the military, a slew of left-wing appointments (Elders was only the most obvious gift to the Repubs).

After 1994 Clinton got right-wing religion. He signed welfare reform, NAFTA, and a capital-gains tax cut. That helped him personally but did little to get his party back in power. After all, the Repubs supported all these proposals much more enthusiastically than Democrats in Congress.

Clinton did succeed is serving out two terms, thanks to his big shift to the right after 1994. But he was a Katrina-sized disaster for the Dems in general, which they are still enduring.

Posted by: Casey Abell at September 7, 2005 9:27 AM

The tax hike was de minimus, more a gesture than anythin g else, as part of a rather traditional Republican budget balancing deal. As soon as he had a Republican Congress to work with he governed more as he ran, though still too timidly.

Posted by: oj at September 7, 2005 9:35 AM
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