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By Juan Cole

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Return of the Great Triangulator

Posted on Dec 15, 2010
AP / J. Scott Applewhite

Watch and learn: President Barack Obama looks on as former President Bill Clinton speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington on Friday.

By Robert Scheer

The sight of Bill Clinton back on the White House podium defending tax cuts for the super-rich was more a sick joke than a serious amplification of economic policy. How desperate is the current president that he would turn to the great triangulator, who opened the floodgates to banking greed, for validation of the sorry opportunistic hodgepodge that passes for this administration’s economic policy? A policy designed and implemented by the same Clinton-era holdovers whose radical deregulation of the financial industry created this mess in the first place.

As a candidate running against Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama quite accurately excoriated the economic policies of the Clinton years when the Democratic president united with congressional Republicans, led by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Phil Gramm, to obliterate sensible regulations of the New Deal. The result, as candidate Obama noted in March 2008, has been chaos:

“Unfortunately, instead of establishing a 21st century regulatory framework, we simply dismantled the old one—aided by a legal but corrupt bargain in which campaign money all too often shaped policy and watered down oversight. In doing so, we encouraged a winner-take-all, anything-goes environment that helped foster devastating dislocations in our economy.”

These dislocations were authorized when Clinton signed off on the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which reversed the Glass-Steagall Act’s separation between the high rollers of investment banking and the properly conservative, insured and regulated activities of commercial banks entrusted with the life savings of ordinary folks. With a stroke of a pen that he then presented as a gift to Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill, Clinton opened the door to the too-big-to-fail monstrosities that have caused so much misery. 

Back in 1999, even though he had been warned of the coming financial instability, foreshadowed by the collapse of Long-Term Capital Management, Clinton was giddy in signing the bill: “Over the past seven years we have tried to modernize the economy,” he enthused. “And today what we are doing is modernizing the financial services industry, tearing down those antiquated laws and granting banks significant new authority.”


Square, Site wide

A year later Clinton signed off on the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, advanced most fiercely by his treasury secretary, Lawrence Summers, who has been the dominant personality setting economic policy for Obama. Titles 3 and 4 of that act summarily exempted from the surveillance of any existing regulatory agency or laws all of the newfangled financial gimmicks—the collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps—that have proved so toxic to the jobs and homes of tens of millions of Americans.

In his rambling and somewhat incoherent comments on the economy at the White House last week, Clinton attempted to explain away the failure of the banks to use the money that the government has made available to them to shore up housing and create jobs. As an aside, in commenting on community banks, Clinton touched on the mortgage security mess that his law enabled, but he still doesn’t seem to get his connection with the problem: “ … some of them may have a few mortgage issues unresolved, most of that mortgage debt has been offloaded to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or has vanished into cyber-sphere with those securitized subprime mortgages. I don’t like the securities, but they happened.”

What gibberish. The mortgage-backed securities didn’t just happen. Clinton signed legislation freeing those securities from any effective government regulation. Most Americans’ homes, which represented their dreams and savings, were turned into gambling chips in the Wall Street casino on a scale unknown and indeed unthinkable before the Clinton presidency. What has vanished is the equity of homeowners. As for the offloading to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that represents at least a $700 billion burden on taxpayers who have had to bail out those government-sponsored agencies that became totally corrupt on Clinton’s watch. 

The bottom line on the Clinton legacy is that the census now finds an all-time high of 44 million Americans living under the poverty line, bringing us back, as a percentage of the population, to Bill Clinton’s first two years in office. One big difference is that thanks to Clinton’s so-called welfare reform program, there is no longer a significant federal anti-poverty program, and the plight of the poor is now a problem for the state governments, which also have been impoverished thanks to the bursting of the Clinton bubble.

As a candidate, Obama laid responsibility for the meltdown on the bipartisan deregulation of the Clinton years: “This loss has not happened by accident. It’s because of decisions made in boardrooms, on trading floors, and in Washington. Under Republican and Democratic administrations, we failed to guard against practices that all too often rewarded financial manipulation instead of productivity and sound business practices. We let the special interest put their thumbs on the economic scales.”

That’s the path Clinton followed after his party’s electoral reversal after he had been in office two years, a fact that made it all that more ominous to witness the great triangulator back on a White House podium.

Click here to check out Robert Scheer’s new book,
“The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street.”

Keep up with Robert Scheer’s latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at


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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, January 3, 2011 at 1:28 am Link to this comment

A DLC Republican/Democratic Conservative “Pyramid Scheme” as well as if taught by the masters, Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff, as the wealthy 6,000 at the top of the pyramid keep raking in all the wealth of the nation and they and their toadies are living in the lap of luxury squandering the nations treasury on wars and corruption, while the Majority Common Population fight their wars and are the only part of the population that must prepare for austerity measures to insure that the squanderers retain all their loot from the Treasury. 

Which was the most shameless?

Conservatives are busy seceding from the union and have been busy seceding ever since Richard Nixon took the nation off the gold standard and conservatives started deregulating to leave the liberal Majority Common Population without any economic base.  Here is what it will look like when conservatives accomplish their goal of secession from the liberal union, but what would it look like if the Majority American Populace realize they are the liberals and secede as well?!_what_would_it_look_like_if_red_states_formed_their_own_country?page=entire

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By r2d6.51, January 2, 2011 at 10:26 pm Link to this comment

The man makes me vomit.

Mr. Clinton supports the same Global Capitalist system (remember his campaign pledge for 92’ election of not signing NAFTA ultimately wreaking havoc on south of the border economies and labor forces ;becoming the root of the largest wave of undocumented immigrants sneaking across our southern borders) and reinforcing status quo subsidizing for the wealthy ruling class Americans to continue to play BINGO games with their money and Wall Street bankers, knowing full well it’s protected off of American taxpayers working 2, 3 and even 4 jobs to make ends meet

Look around at the world you see today and see if you acknowledge a commonality of collective human behaviors that have developed in communities all over the planet and you begin to observe a cookie cut pattern of global capitalism that Clinton and his cabinet cronies Robert Ruben and Summers facilitate further exacerbation of class struggles in this nation that has also transformed indigenous cultures wholesale into newborn social norms that are hell-bent to satisfy the corporate boardrooms of the planets captains of industry so you spend yourself into eternal debt so shareholders get a nice dividend and you spend the latter years of your life in perpetual debt to essentially satisfy the same like minded Titans of Wall Street, trying to pay off huge medical expenses that were largely brought on by having bought into this lifestyle to begin with.

We allow ourselves to continue to live in a world designed to bankrupt both your health and the health of your family along with your finances to make a much smaller group of humanity rich beyond your wildest imagination. That’s Bill Clinton’s mantra!

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By samosamo, December 19, 2010 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment


Since he has gotten away with causing the demise
of our economy, it appears slick willie thinks he
knows all the answers, problem is, he doesn’t
know any of the questions. He is just happy to
get the $100,000,000.00 for his part in the rape
of this country. Hope his heart gives out real
soon and his heartless wife’s also. Then child
chelsey can enjoy the fruits of her parents work.

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MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, December 18, 2010 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

Bill Clinton represents the problem the Majority Common Population are up against.  As does President Obama, Bill Clinton represents the Middle Class aristocracy and George Bush is representative of the Elite Capitalist Class aristocracy. The Majority Common Population have no representation whatsoever.

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By frecklefever, December 17, 2010 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment


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By A. Z. Arrow, December 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

Happy Holidays

Dear Billionaire buddies,


Members of the Board of Director of the Federal Reserve,


to all our employers in the Plunder Elite and on Wall Street,


I’m sending a very generous gift for the Holidays.

Please don’t forget your President, and all of your dedicated Servants in our coming campaigns.

Please don’t forget that in the name of “compromise” we sold America’s future generations into Debt-slavery to your friends in China.

Please don’t forget your President, and all of YOUR Toadies in our coming campaigns.

Tax Seasons Greetings,

You Owe Us!

President B.O.,

The Democratic National Committee,

J.B. & M.McC..

The Republican Party,

Your Democratic Representatives in the House of Mis-representation

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BarbieQue's avatar

By BarbieQue, December 17, 2010 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

BR549, December 17 at 3:16 am
>>(Did I leave anything out?)<<

Excellent job there but actually you might add PNAC Conspirator to the list.

See his Kosovo attack was based on a lie and now there’s a really really big military base there and some say there’s some torturing going on.

Link to PNAC Page:

Link to 955 acre military base in Kosovo:

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By glider, December 17, 2010 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment


“the job of the Democrat faction of the corporate party ... is now… to destroy any Left that rises”

I agree 100% with my paraphrase of your statement, and they have been very successful IMO.  I am finished with the Democrat Party, the entire lot of them.  The only shining light now is Wikleaks.

“Obama is a Con Man”

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, December 17, 2010 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an avatar… being a glider):

“The reason so many on the left are more angry with Obama than they ever were with Bush is precisely because Obama sold them a false bill of goods, far beyond the level of any politician in my memory.”

What the Obamanation has evidenced is that the more often people vote for Democrats the greater they deceive themselves.

Democrat voters are not in any part of the Left, because the job of the Democrat faction of the corporate party has always been what it is now… to destroy any Left that rises.

It is the Democrat voters who make every best possibility an impossibility. Liberal “progressives” are the most useful tools the Right owns.

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By glider, December 17, 2010 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

David J. Cyr
“QUOTE (of an unregistered JJW):
“Time will tell us how much tolerance the people have for Obama who doesn’t seem to [sic] concerned about living up to his campaign promises.”

Actually, Obama has lived up to his campaign promises”

While I believe we are of a similar world view I think you are splitting hairs far too much here.  He published his Public Option proposal on his campaign website.  He repeatedly espoused believing in the not extending tax cuts for the “rich”.  You can perhaps argue that he left himself wiggle room by not specifically saying he would not cave easily on these issues.  To that I say, SO WHAT!  If you are saying that Obama calculated how to use the English language to give an impression to his audience, while technically allowing him to act contrary to that impression yet still pass muster with alternative definitions in Websters Dictionary, then he is still a liar and a deceiver.  The reason so many on the left are more angry with Obama than they ever were with Bush is precisely because Obama sold them a false bill of goods, far beyond the level of any politician in my memory.

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By Kath Cantarella, December 17, 2010 at 4:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gee, that bill went through really quick, didn’t it?


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By SteveL, December 17, 2010 at 1:32 am Link to this comment

Cannot remember the word compromise being used when Obama ran for office
near as much as it used now.

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David J. Cyr's avatar

By David J. Cyr, December 16, 2010 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

QUOTE (of an unregistered JJW):

“Time will tell us how much tolerance the people have for Obama who doesn’t seem to [sic] concerned about living up to his campaign promises.”

Actually, Obama has lived up to his campaign promises.

The Obamamaniacs (promptly responding to corporate media mind manipulation) too eagerly and earnestly cheered so loud that they couldn’t hear what Obama promised, and what he refused to even consider worth considering. They also didn’t look at where his biggest campaign contributions were coming from (banksters).

I listened to candidate Obama — quietly, without any cheer — and I predicted before the 2008 election that Obama would make fascism fashionable again. He has… in many ways.

That fat bag of Democrat shit, Michael Moore, after mightily corporate obediently helping deliver Obama a “historic” popular mandate, then immediately said (in a DemocracyNow interview), “I’m hoping he [Obama] breaks his campaign promises.”

In a sane world, the corporate party’s Republicans and Democrats wouldn’t vote… because they wouldn’t exist in a sane world.

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BR549's avatar

By BR549, December 16, 2010 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

That’s OK, it’s fully understandable. I’ll step up to the plate.

Clinton is a contemptuous, lying, conniving, conspiratorial, sneaky, slithery, womanizing, deceitful, traitorous, malfeasant, misfeasant, murdering, drug smuggling, adulterous bag of shit. There, I feel so much better, now. I had to get that off my chest.

(Did I leave anything out?)

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By queenofit, December 16, 2010 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

I apologize for the comment I am about to make, it is very “lowbrow” indeed. But every time I see the photo of Bill standing at the podium, pointing his crooked finger, I cannot help but think of his famous one liner…“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”

This would be laughable, if what is unfolding in our country, wasn’t becoming so serious.

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By PatrickHenry, December 16, 2010 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

Someone show Bubba the door.

Put a fork in him, he’s done.

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By Go Right Young Man, December 16, 2010 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

Matthews: Obama & Clinton “An Alliance Made By God And The Democratic Party”

Chris Matthews talks to Howard Fineman and former Clinton pollster Mark Penn about Bill Clinton controlling the podium at the White House press room.

“Just like old times,” Penn commented.

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By Strangely Enough, December 16, 2010 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The pic has an RCA Victor quality to it: he hears his master’s voice…

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By srelf, December 16, 2010 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment


I would hold that “the people” have as much potential to understand as anyone.
It’s just a poor education system (critical thinking not taught) and a phony press
that “manufactures consent” as Chomsky puts it, that makes them seem
unintelligent. We probably agree on that. Right?

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By TAO Walker, December 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

Had enough yet, tame Sisters and Brothers, of this relentless institutionalized abuse?  If not, there’s plenty more, and much worse, where that’s coming from.  Your already-sick-to-death two-legged tormentors are dead-set on making sure you all “enjoy” every bit as much of it as you’ll stand-still-for.

There’s a viable alternative.  Come together where you live-and-breathe in aid of our Mother Earth.  Help each other to get free of the artificial “individual” IDentity keeping you captive to this “global” eCONomy that is the operating system for the retro-viral “civilization” disease.

It will not be easy or painless.  This thing has its hooks set deep into every facet of your virtual half-lives.  As an “individual” you are, by design and intent, shit-out-of-luck.

As even protoplasmic organic Human communities, though, you will have at-least a GhostDancers’ chance of getting through the intensifying shit-storm with enough Natural Vitality to fulfill the organic function of Humanity, in our Mother Earth’s Living Arrangement, sufficiently to give us all some breathing and living room when it finally passes.  It will pass, too.

Even the otherwise fatally-flawed U.S. CONstitution acknowledges that Life and Freedom are ours by virtue of our given place in Her Natural Living Arrangement, as the embodiment of His Vision.  These are in actual fact (as distinguished from the make-believe of “philosophy”) Natural and “inalienable,” and not merely the whimsical “gift” of some institutional set-up….to be granted or taken-away as the “needs-of-state” might dictate.  They can’t really be “lost,” or even thrown-away by those among you afraid-of or unwilling to fulfill the vital organic responsibilities, as components in Her immune system, they entail.

Like-it-or-lump-it, living free and wild all together is The Tiyoshpaye Way….best remember, re-member, and get used to it.


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By pundaint, December 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Think of the Vichy Government in France, now think of the Democratic Party in America.  See didn’t have to change any thoughts at all, just the labels.

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By sophrosyne, December 16, 2010 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Both Obama and the phony Clinton are spear carriers for big oil, Israel and the munition dealers.  Ever wonder why we waste so much on such bizarre schemes in Afghanistan?  None of it is in our self-interest.

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By ladymadonna77, December 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

Paul wants to audit the Fed and they are terrified; fighting it tooth and nail because in the end it will show that what’s left of the American economy is smoke and mirrors, a house of cards, run by the very architects of the financial meltdowns, Wall Street and the banks.

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BR549's avatar

By BR549, December 16, 2010 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment


The overdeification is one issue, but all that said, it puts Clinton (both of them,
actually) right smack in bed with the worst of them all.

Bush41 may have been the one to deliver that sickeningly sweet delivery of that puke speech about the New World Order, but it was Clinton who followed step by signing it into law. Clinton also was the one to start the use of Depleted Uranium in the same arena that our own troops were in, let alone being used at all against anyone, anywhere, and being a war crimes violation.

Maybe it was merely coincidence that he also had the Paraguayan-US extradition treaty renegotiated to exclude crimes of military or political nature so that Bush the Idiot could then buy up 99,980 acres over the largest subterranean aquifer in South America.

Clinton’s surplus was only a surplus after the paper shuffle, but when it came down to the hard numbers he had added another $95B to the deficit.

I’d have to say that every president after and including Reagan has helped to pull the wool over the eyes of the voting public while systematically signing legislation that they knew would tear this country apart. It doesn’t take a lot of rocket science to see all the corruption and the concatenation of destructive Machiavellian legislation that has this country at its knees. Each and ever one of these rat-bastards knew what was coming and chose not to inform the public. They don’t get any sympathy form me. Meanwhile, all the major news networks have been dictated to not even cover Ron Paul, who is this country’s best hope for recovery.

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By ladymadonna77, December 16, 2010 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

Clinton is not a monster, but the his deification by some liberals is just as intellectually irresponsible as the conservative hero worship of Reagan.  Criticism of the legacy of Clinton’s policies, good and bad, are necessary; an honest assessment of the long-term effects of NAFTA/GATT, deregulation, and reckless fiscal policy that ultimately led to the financial collapse, are not attacks if everyone involved - Clinton, the Republican party, and Democrats - are held accountable.

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By surfnow, December 16, 2010 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

If Clinton is such a monster, why do the American people feel such profound admiration and respect for him, especially in view of the constant hate campaign directed at him by media (yourself, as an example)?

johncp,  Millions of Americans love The Jersey Shore and The Realhousewives of Beverly hills, too.You must be a complete moron if you hold that much regard for the intelligence of the American public.

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By surfnow, December 16, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

I knew he was a total phony back in “92 when he dismissed his own personal objections to the War in Vietnam as ” being youthfully naive.”  As much as I despised Bush, at least you knew where he was coming from- Clinton is the biggest two faced liar we’ve ever had in the White House. His corporatist dealings have done more damage to our economy and Constitution than any three Republicans.

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BR549's avatar

By BR549, December 16, 2010 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

patriot10101, December 16 at 7:24 am
“... all the laws are against the people”

At the risk of your post sounding like a rant, ....... alas, you’re right on target.

Instead of us having a government with positive minded individuals who strive to empower the populace to achieve higher levels of cooperation and unity, we get this Sodom and Gomorrah outfit in Washington that resembles the epitome of weak minded twits falling victim to every negative thought pattern capable by mankind.

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By JJW, December 16, 2010 at 6:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Clinton did a TV interview around a year ago.  He was asked how his policies contributed to the world economic melt down.  Of course he claimed he never would have let things go so bad.  However in response to ending the Glass-Steagall Act, Clinton said he wasn’t an expert on economics and his mistake was listening to the bad advise of Larry Summers. So once again, we get different versions of the truth from Slick Willie.  Perhaps he wants to start arguing about what is, is. 

And of course Greenspan was a major player who claims his entire understanding of the world has been proven wrong.  SO if Greenspan was entirely delusional during the 90s, how smart was Bill for appointing him to the Fed. 

Time will tell us how much tolerance the people have for Obama who doesn’t seem to concerned about living up to his campaign promises.  The elder Bush was a one term President in part because he said read my lips no new taxes during his campaign, and then he raised taxes.

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By Conrad C. Elledge, December 16, 2010 at 2:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So Billy drops by the whitehouse thinking he might
pick up a little action and then forgets to slip his
wedding ring in his pocket.  That’s ok, I’ll just
keep screwing the American people he thinks to
himself—who needs interns.

Barrack is so embarrassed he has to leave early.

Saw a thing about Billy shouting down a 911 doubter
at a speech for Hillary in Oregon and thought what a
pathetic, ugly, little nothing of a man.  He and
Barry are perfect together.

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By srelf, December 16, 2010 at 2:07 am Link to this comment

BTW, I am now writing this at 10:08pm Dec. 15.
What’s up with the time stamping?

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By srelf, December 16, 2010 at 2:05 am Link to this comment

After reading this, go to Chris Hedges article:

It provides one solution, after Bob’s marvelous kvetching.

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By SteveL, December 16, 2010 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

Compromise, split the difference, capitulate.  When the stuff hits the fan the republicans will let Obama take all the blame.  Two years from now Obama will be getting ready to go help Jimmy Carter build houses.

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By reynolds, December 15, 2010 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

clinton on economic policy is as henry 8 tudor on

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By reynolds, December 15, 2010 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

i did not have triangulations with that man

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By bogglesthemind, December 15, 2010 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

One word, Bill: STFU

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By ohiolibgal, December 15, 2010 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

It was all like a bad flashback to the 90’s. Seriously anyone tuning in cold after Obama left probabaly was flabbergasted.

The budding triangulator calling on the master triangulator to sell his sell out.

I was one of the many who bought into Obama and then worked hard to help him, calling people, walking through ratty apartments, etc. I know this, I won’t be doing that in 2012.

What way forward though? I’d welcome a primary challenge from my so called “professional left” but the odds are success with that are miniscule.

Looking at these last 2 american presidents make me wonder if we can get to where we need to go within the current two party system. Anyone truly liberal has just been marginalized out of the running, by the MSM, over the last several elections and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. So we are left with the Obamas and Clintons, the triangulators who are comfortably right of where DDE was. Meanwhile the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the US is broke - and we still dribble away millions a day in stupid foreign wars that only create more enemies.

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By elisalouisa, December 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm Link to this comment

Great column Mr. Scheer. No wonder the Democratic party is torn apart. Mr.
Obama is incompetent and nothing can save him now, least of all slick willie. 

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By elisalouisa, December 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Great column Mr. Scheer. No wonder the Democratic party is torn apart. Mr. Obama is incompetent, nothing can save him now, least of all slick willie. 

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By BR549, December 15, 2010 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment

johncp, December 15 at 11:32 pm
“Another of those tedious closet conservatives using “triangulator” to describe
Clinton, probably the best president we’ve had since FDR.”

Ah, blind faith in a useless party and a useless politician.

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By johncp, December 15, 2010 at 6:56 pm Link to this comment

I wonder if Holbrooke would have given us the same assessment of Clinton that Scheer has given us?  Perhaps Scheer will answer this question.  Scheer appears to be defending Obama in his article.  Obama “sought” Clinton’s help, why is Scheer complaining?  If Clinton is such a monster, why do the American people feel such profound admiration and respect for him, especially in view of the constant hate campaign directed at him by media (yourself, as an example)?  Obama is the newcomer.  Clinton’s been under the gun for decades, under scrutiny for decades, hated by scoundrels like Scheer for decades.  Why the universal admiration?  Why is Clinton admired throughout the world?  You Clinton-haters, with your NAFTA, and your blue dress, etc., are full of shit.  The world, our nation, our people have made their judgement.  Clinton-haters, especially the rarely encountered democrat variety, contaminate the internet, pretty much the only place, besides the TV networks where slime like Chris Matthews can slobber away at Clinton and Hillary, and work desperately to turn the public mind against the Clinton name.  Compared to Clinton, Obama’s a pint sized half-wit.

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By Druthers, December 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

It really looks as though Obama can’t do it on his own.  He has to have Bill by his side.  They both sold out the American people for politics, elections and Wall St.
One black, one white, but both in the pocket of their corporate masters.
Will democracy ever come to the USA?

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By johncp, December 15, 2010 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

Scheer is full of the stinky stuff.  Another of those tedious closet conservatives using “triangulator” to describe Clinton, probably the best president we’ve had since FDR.  Why do we hear this word constantly used in reference to Clinton?  Because it’s appropriate?  Hardly.  All presidents triangulate.  Every politician triangulates.  But only republicans and the half-assed, false-democrat, pundit class, such as Scheer, use “triangulator” against Clinton.  Clinton’s mistakes as president descend to insignificance when compared to the good he did for this nation.  Scheer is the kind of bastard that entices the worst republican scum, to attack one of our best presidents, with useless articles like “Return of the Great Triangulator.”  It’s Clinton that was judged the preeminent politician of our time.  Scheer is the preeminent bullshitter.

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By TAO Walker, December 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

The “tag-teaming” of theamericanpeople CONtinues.  WW(T)F!!!!


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By TheHandyman, December 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

By Gorgeous, December 15 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

Obama said he was a centrist.  I had just hoped that he would be better than Clinton.  Obviously not.

Obama said lots of things and they changed from venue to venue. There was one thing that didn’t change. They people he had surrounded himself with as the new thinkers with new ideas. As Ralph Nader pointed out many times, those people were the Clintonistas who formulated Clinton’s policies. If you believe, unlike Ralph and those of us who supported him with our time and money, that Clinton was this Golden King ruling benevolently from his Ivory castle then it wouldn’t mean anything. If you saw Clinton for what he was, a 1960’s Republican like Obama, someone who would sell his soul and then lie about it for a blow-job, then it was certainly something to use as a warning about what Obama’s policies would be which weren’t good for the working class! It is telling that one lying President trots out another lying President to support him and make it look like the truth. For the People who keep supporting Obama in whatever continuing betrayal of the People President Obysmal hands down, I can only feel sorry for a People who used to have higher expectations of truth and support from their President. While I am glad to have lived long enough to have seen a Black man elected President, I am saddened by the fact that instead of getting a Martin Luther King, we got a Don King!

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By jklfairwin, December 15, 2010 at 4:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good article but you missed the really significant point. Clinton left office deeply in debt for legal fees. Eight years later, according to Hillary’s 2008 filing he was worth over $100 million. And he never had a job or did any work during that period. Where did it come from? It was a clear payoff for selling out the American people to Wall Street, the banksters, and the super rich. This is not lost on Obama. (See how admiringly he stares at Bill.)By carrying on the Clinton tradition of catering to the super rich he knows that he too will be handsomely rewarded. Being a one term president just means that Obama will get the big bucks sooner.

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By thebeerdoctor, December 15, 2010 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Robert Scheer has once again pointed out the disaster created by unregulated banking. But the cultural significance of all this, is perhaps not being properly realized. How was it that big corporation businesses, in tandem with the United States government, convinced the population that a home is not for shelter (not only from the elements,but also encroachments upon personal liberty) but rather a personal bank, or at least a credit/debt bargaining chip that the economically distressed owner can use as wager?
This is the insanity of unbound capitalism, is it not? Gresham’s Law codified until it becomes an unquestionable oracle, where too big to fail is no longer an exceptional circumstance, rather it has become the fully accepted casino house rule.

What is one to make of President Obama? Using the “overheated rhetoric” of his presidential campaign, he sent out a smokescreen of populism. But now that the big money has decided, he most certainly knows where his hash has been settled. As Dashiell Hammett might put it: Barry wasn’t about to go up against the Big Steam.

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By gerard, December 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

This article refers to ...“treasury secretary, Lawrence Summers, who has been the dominant personality setting economic policy for Obama. Titles 3 and 4 of that act summarily EXEMPTED FROM THE SURVEILLANCE OF ANY REGULATORY A GENCY OR LAWS all of the newfangled financial gimmicks—the collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps—that have proved so toxic to the jobs and homes of tens of millions of Americans.”

Before we carelessly let Assange and Manning be fed to the wolves, we had better remember that it is just this kind of “exemptioin from surveillance” that Assange is trying to prevent via internet openness.

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By REDHORSE, December 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

The oligarchs are still looting. Disintegration of American social systems and infra-structure is still underway. Congress is still a rigged game. You still have a “Homeland” not a Country and the “Patriot Act” not a Constituition. War profiteers are still stufffing their pockets. Young American men and women Veterans are still committing suicide 18 a day. Assange is still in jail. The MSM is still lying. Add your own.

    Other than the direct ego-maniacal danger Obama and Clinton (or Boehner) pose to your life what relevance do they hold to your well being? They are an open threat to your life and the lives of your family.

    Save yourself!!

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By Gorgeous, December 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

Obama said he was a centrist.  I had just hoped that he would be better than Clinton.  Obviously not.

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By FRTothus, December 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Social Security and Medicare would not be “in trouble” at all if the needs and desires of the people who actually pay the taxes were taken in consideration.  Only in the US is allowing the taxpayers to derive some benefit from their own tax dollars considered wasteful, while the wholesale waste of corporate welfare, primarily military spending and the mass murder that goes along with it, increases without pause and with little attention.

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By ladymadonna77, December 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

I love your article, “Return of the Great Triangulator”. I like President Obama. However, all the schmaltzy hope/change in Arkansas flew out the window when I saw Billy Bob up there on that podium. Clinton triangulated with the Repulican…‘ts and sold us out to Wall Street and sent our economy overseas. All we got was a a bill of cheaply made goods and a mortgage crisis thanks NAFTA, the deregulation, and the list goes on and on and on. The LAST person he needs to take economic advice from is Slick Willy. Just ask Brooksley Born.

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By A. Z. Arrow, December 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Maybe we need to hire that militant nanny from TV to waive a Dustbuster at Obama and order him to start acting like the President he promised us he would be.”

The Clinton/Obama “Democratic Centrist” killed the best chance for economic recovery in the name of “compromise”. They did it on behalf of the plunder elite and new pharaohs.

Now they intend to “triangulate” against the base of their party. To blame their failure, their broken promises, on a mythical “professional left”: on labor and greedy “social security recipients.” –ON those “greedy people” that “want jobs” and a “livable wage” for their effort. This is the Clintoneske dimension of Barack Obama..

The corporate media pitches in to buttress this narrative with misleading poll results, and falsehoods—on behalf of many of the same bosses that employ the Democratic and Republican Parties against the American people.

These administrations have coordinated their act over the last two decades, “as if” they where Republicans, which they are.

We know that Obama established his reactionary “Deficit Commission” to provide him with a Political Cover and to sell his republican policies (reactionary nonsense) as findings of “the best and brightest” (uncreative idiots) to the American people.

These two BRIBED Democratic administrations are/ where both (paid OFF) salespersons, PAID by, and for, Wall Street on behalf of the plunder-elite, paid to establish government controlled by corporate-greed and bankster bonuses.

They worked for two-decades to murder the NEW DEAL. They have succeeded.

Kathy Malloy asks Democrats “what leadership”?


Kathy Malloy, Gone with The Republic >>

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By Devon J. Noll, MPA, December 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For two years I have decried the pressure and corrupt activities of the Clintons within the DNC and this Administration.  I have railed against this President for letting Bill Clinton and his wife and other cronies steal this Presidency.  This tax cut deal is just the result of such arrogant manipulation - and if you doubt it, look at the face on President Obama in this picture as he looks at Bill Clinton - he hates the man!

President Obama knows exactly who is responsible for this mess we are in, and he knows that Bill Clinton has insured that nothing will get done in this White House without his approval because he plays both sides against the country.  His foundation has links to every bank, every corporation, and many foreign governments.  He is more powerful now behind the “throne” than he was when he was President.  What Billy wants, Billy gets - and destroying the man who took down him and his wife in an upstart campaign made worse by Billy’s racism and his wife’s assassination references is his number one goal.  I suspect that Hillary will be resigning next year, and challenging the President in 2012, despite her protestations, because Bill wants to be the American Juan Peron.

This tax cut deal is the kind of deal Bill made all the time, and it is why this country is in the shape it is in now.  But, he left us with little choice when he started us down this road and then let his friend GW Bush take over because Bill loathed Al Gore.  Remember your history, folks, this former President sold us out long before he forced the DNC in Congress to sell us wholesale to the GOP.  Bill and Hillary are DINOs, and until the base gets over their swooning around this man because of his sexual peccadilloes, we have no chance of ousting them from the DNC or the government.  It is the one failing of President Obama - he let them turn him into a house n***** for the Clinton Agenda.  Look at what has been accomplished:  a corporate friendly health care plan negotiated behind close doors, just like the one Hillary did in 1993; more free trade agreements; corporate friendly financial policies; and now more tax cuts for the wealthy.  All of these were hallmarks of the Clinton era.

President Obama needs to cut the apron strings that are strangling him and clean house, starting with this former President.  If this means spending the next two years fighting with everyone in DC, then so be it - maybe then the people of this nation will stand up and back him finally. Until he stands up to both parties and says ENOUGH, the people will not back him. 

Being a resigned to being a one-term president means you don’t have to have any loyalties anymore, Mr. President, so why not do what you once said you would do - FIGHT FOR AMERICANS? We would appreciate it.  Tell Bill Clinton and clan to take a hike and start actually being your own kind of President for a change.

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By ElkoJohn, December 15, 2010 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

Bill Clinton & the DLC gave us the fatal stab
to the Democratic Party of FDR.
Obama and the current leadership are putting the nails into it’s coffin.
The ‘‘progressive caucus’’ in the House gives us the usual bait & switch—
May they all rot in hell.

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By Lincoln, December 15, 2010 at 10:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Go away Mr. Bill NAFTA Clinton!  No intelligent person would take your advise on economic issues seriously.

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By BR549, December 15, 2010 at 10:29 am Link to this comment

Great job, Bob. Thank you for pointing out that at least some of the media sees both of these scumbags as the assholes they really are. The part that upsets me is .......... they both took and oath and ignored that minor complication, and if Thomas Jefferson were alive today, both of these traitors would be tied to a post and executed.

Where does the line start?

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By who'syourdebs, December 15, 2010 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Robert. Clinton has never gotten all the blame that he deserves. For NAFTA, the junking of Glass-Steagall, and more. The original Republicrat. Too bad Obama’s campaign rhetoric convinced so many of us that he was a different sort. More deception from the party that’s supposed to be on the left.

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By hoosierhick, December 15, 2010 at 9:52 am Link to this comment


Not only will taxes go up on the poor with this legislation there are other provisions the rabid right wing has been trying to insert into law for decades like the payroll tax holiday for social security.

What this does is instead of funding Social Security with payroll taxes, as it was designed, it will be funded by congress, which we know is in love with the program. Then in two years, when they debate this issue again, they will say it is too expensive and have to start cutting.

SS is not in trouble for like 27 years and can esily be funded by raising the cap at the top and having the rich help pay for it.

Also they want to lower the estate tax on the richest billionaires so they can keep their royal relatives as rich as they were. Bullshit.

If you missed senator Sanders filibuster you should go watch it. Just the last couple of hours lays out every problem and explains why this is a bad deal for America unless you are a millionaire.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, December 15, 2010 at 9:29 am Link to this comment


Actually, if you read the press, with the expiration of some of Obama’s stimulus tax cuts next year taxes on those making under $40K go up even with this new tax bill.  And, we need to remember that taxes on low incomes doesn’t amount to much while a tax break on a million is a lot of money.  That’s what most of us are complaining about.  The rich don’t need more money which they don’t really spend anyway.  The poor do need a tax break to put bread on the table and keep the mortgage company away from their door.

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By Lincoln, December 15, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Snake oil salesmen!  If Obama had any integrity he would resign because he is either incredibly incompetent or an incredible liar. 

Tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires should have been voted on prior to the mid-term elections such that any incumbent who voted for this would have gotten thrown out of office.

This deal by Obama, actually increase taxes for those in poverty.  Shame on you Barack Obama!

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By The_Donnachaidh, December 15, 2010 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

Sometimes I fear you guys get too caught up in your own rhetoric.  Don’t get me
wrong, I love the rhetoric, believe me, esp. that of your radically disenchanted
chum Chris Hedges:  but disenchantment can become all-too all-embracing.  To
say that Clinton (and by extension Obama) was ‘defending tax cuts for the super-
rich’ is complete nonsense:  since if I got the facts right the lowest tax bracket
would go up by 50% if the Bush cuts were repealed, and the highest tax bracket by
roughly 3 %.  So Clinton (and by extyension Obama) is in fact defending tax cuts
for the very poor far more than he is defending tax cuts for the rich:  which to my
mind is a laudable thing to be doing.  Could be, they also didn’t want to cause
social unrest.  If taxes went up that much in the UK the streets would be rocking
in no time.

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By G.Anderson, December 15, 2010 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

Which one is the president? Who’s running the government?  Which one can you
believe in? If you can believe in anything they say anymore….

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By eir, December 15, 2010 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

The Ulsterman Report: Democratic Party Civil War—It is ON

The Ulsterman Report: What Happened During the Clinton—Obama Closed Door Meeting?

The contention is that despite what appears to be an accord with Clinton and Obama, what is actually happening is “The Great Triangulator” is in essence, “triangulating” again, now.  Watch the video and see the interesting dynamics between the two.

Obama tries to shut down the press conference with the plea that he’s kept the Fist Lady waiting for a half hour, whereupon Bill Clinton says “I don’t want to make her mad,” and continues his press conference with the White House press corps while Obama walks offstage.

The fact that there’s this focus on Clinton now is a measure of the war being waged behind the scenes.

The Boy King is very weak.

Take him down Bill.  You’ve been waiting for this.

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By Steve E, December 15, 2010 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Watching these two go at it the other day, I couldn’t help but think back to my
early days working at an Oldsmobile Dealership in Monterey Cal. I walked into the
used car sales office and witnessed two high pressure salesman try and take
complete control of a would be customer. They literally yelled at the poor man
that he was going to buy a particular car he had shown interest in. They had him
in a corner of the room sitting on a chair with both salesman standing over him
with fingers pointing and hands on hips. When the poor soul tried get up from his
chair and escape the onslaught declaring he had to confer with his wife, he was
ordered to sit down and pay attention. I couldn’t bear to watch any longer it was
pathetic. Yup, Barry and Billy, in tandem, men of the people, have I gotta deal for

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