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Republicans set themselves up for Obama’s rise to power

SCV Voices

Posted: August 9, 2008 8:07 p.m.
Updated: October 11, 2008 5:02 a.m.
In certain far corners of the right, it is a near matter of patriotism to be a come-hell-or-high-water hyper-critic of the Clintons. Tales of the former president gallivanting about like an unzipped frat boy, and the seamless Clinton truth-bending, have empowered Republicans to do their part raising partisanship and spin to dizzying heights.

While publicly dressing a possible Clinton return to the White House as the near-second-coming of Caligula’s court, Republicans have unwittingly pushed for a trade of Democratic opponents that will fling the liberal net wider than any triangulation attempted in the ‘90s.

Or, as one CNN analyst put it, an Obama presidency would be the first “progressive” movement in America since LBJ’s Great Society and Bobby Kennedy’s meeting with Cesar Chavez. “Progressive” never sounded so bankrupting and backward looking.

Era of Big Government back?
The worst error of Republicans’ unintended trade push is the blatant disregard of conservatism that it exposes. The fraud of painting the ‘90s as one big romp with an insatiable male lead flanked by Lady Macbeth harms conservatism more than helps it — because it all but annuls the Reagan conservatism that the National Review says became entrenched during those years, and consequently aided in forging the prosperity that the Clintons wear like a family crest.

Boxed into an uneasy partnership in 1994 with a crotched and charging Republican majority led by Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey, Bill Clinton spent his presidency deftly triangulating off a conservative mandate by advocating federal spending caps on entitlements, by making cuts in the capital gains tax rate, and by yielding to balanced budget goals that blocked ambitious liberal spending promises.

Such conservative advances — fueled by GOP pressure pushing President Clinton to pivot right and craft disciplined budgets that nourished that decade’s historic prosperity — cut discretionary spending, reduced earmarks, and allowed Clinton in 1996 to say “the era of Big Government is over.”

Listening to Barack Obama, the era of big government is back as he calls for unprecedented federal manipulation of health care, the auto industry, education, farming, private commerce, etc., and increased spending for foreign aid and welfare. All while cutting taxes.

More spending, less revenue, and no saving. The Tax Policy Center estimates that Obama’s economic agenda could add $3.3 trillion to the deficit.

Sounds similar to a Bush economic policy.

Admittedly, Bill Clinton was not bullied into the center-to-right economic agenda that gave us a $237 billion surplus in 2000. Governing as a new type of Democrat not tied to the aged liberal proclivities of a Teddy Kennedy or Walter Mondale, Clinton showed genuine political guts by backing a historic (and anti-liberal) welfare reform bill that dramatically reduced the federal payroll and thus precipitated government saving.

Wanting America to assert its global leadership by “pointing the way toward a high-tech, high-growth future,” Clinton opposed his core political base, Big Labor, and various environmentalists by advocating the George H.W. Bush-crafted NAFTA.

Unless you believe that facts and solutions are the sole property of either the right or the left, then you must applaud Clinton’s bipartisanship in effecting results.

Barack must believe that facts and solutions are the private property of the left because he has shown no semblance of such bold bipartisan capability. According to the National Journal, since leaving the small world of a state legislature, “the One” has become the most liberal senator in all of U.S. politics — even more liberal than Ted Kennedy or Diane Feinstein.

Only a blind, right-wing partisan could ignore the facts: stained blue dress or not, the ‘90s were a predominately center-to-right decade that highlighted Reagan’s wisdom of government not being the solution but the problem.

But despite facts, Republicans’ naked lust to win and faulty political instincts snatched away the opportunity to remind America of that. Relishing the partisan divide and smelling Clinton blood in the water, Republicans reduced themselves to running on the record of a president with a 32 percent approval rating, which is the equivalent of running on cracked ice.

With the conservative gains of the ‘90s already having been squandered by the big spending Texan with a “weakness for sub par cronies,” Republicans may soon learn that the only thing worse than Clintonism is liberal, partisan Obamaism.

Andre Hollings is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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