Well first of all I am hoping there isn’t all that much nostalgia. I attack Tina Brown in my column because she was stoking it. I am trusting that most people, including most democrats realize that Clinton made quite a mess of it, not the least of which is that his sexual obsessions, derailed poor Al Gore. If not for that scandal we would not have had 8 years of Bush which were disastrous. So I don’t want to exaggerate the Clinton nostalgia but I think your point is much more interesting in that we don’t have a serious social democratic alternative, NDB in Canada does present such an alternative. Most of the European governments, even when they are conservative, contain a serious component of what used to be called social democracy. What happened with Clinton was a betrayal of any such prospect, even though he was poor, even though he was from the South, he was no Southern populist like Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, Earl and Huey Long from Louisiana. What Clinton did was forget his poor boy roots and suck up to Wall Street, and he made a deal with the financial devil in the form of Robert Rubin and Alan Greenspan and Lawrence Summers, and these guys took Clinton and the American economy to the cleaners. It’s terrible and began with the most callous policy to come out of the democratic administration which was called welfare reform which was done for the most shameful opportunistic triangulation reasons, screw the poor so you look like you believe in tough love, forgetting that 70% of the people on welfare were children through no fault of their own.Now we don’t keep count of those people, we’re totally oblivious, out of sight, out of mind. Then he did the Telecommunications Act which transferred power to big conglomerates, more than they ever had, then the Financial Services Modernization Act then the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which enabled the great financial debacle. This man was wretched in his government practices, charming as an individual but his legacy is unfortunately quite dismal.
11:21 Comment From erniesfo
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:21:17 GMT
Comment: I apologize, 1 more: Why do the Democrats, and Wall Street, appear to be content with “normalizing” such high rates of unemployment? I was just rereading FDR’s 1933 Inaugural - he was all over the unemployment issue in a way that the Dems & Obama appear to have no interest in being.
I think that’s a really important question though I’m not sure I can fully answer it, but FDR betrayed his class in one sense and saved it in another. He felt it. He had passion about it, he knew he was someone who came from a wealthy family, experienced all the privileges, and at first was quite willing to let the free market system operate, but when he saw the damage, and Eleanor Roosevelt helped him recognize that, and when he saw this, he got fire in his belly and he acted on it. He basically said, “Never Again,” and he pushed through legislation to bring Wall Street under control and created Glass-Steagall and others. Those regulations were gutted by Clinton, and to answer your questions, the whole plundered class, I don’t think they are feeling the pain of ordinary Americans. You just talk to the students from the best universities that can’t find work, people in industries that were once considered the best, thrown out of work, an enormous amount of pain and it’s going to the tea party, immigrant bashers, and it’s a pain that progressives and certainly progressive Democrats should be responding to, but they’re not. They are being elitist and indifferent.
11:26 Comment From Tom Allen
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:26:50 GMT
Comment: Agreed. I recall when moving to D.C. that Capitol Hill was awash in young, highly educated people whose heads were full of concepts such as “positioning.” The lack of real convictions on the part of so many of these careerist types that I had the misfortune to meet can almost (but not quite) make one pine for the days of George W., at least to the extent that I found myself meeting individuals who actually had convictions and principles—the wrong ones, mind you.
11:27 Comment From Jason
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:27:09 GMT
Comment: As a child I used to look up to Bill Clinton, he was somewhat of a hero of mine. Unfortunately, it appears the policies he put into place have cost us dearly, especially the working-class liberals that he came from himself and supposedly supported. I feel betrayed in many ways. It seems like an “Animal Farm” situation, where you end up becoming the thing you hate, in this case the Clintons have become some kind of snobbish royal family. I see this happening with Obama (who I regret voting for now), the betrayal is too much. What does it take to get real leaders in this country vs. those that are only out to get themselves elected and re-elected to secure their own legacies?
11:32 Robert Scheer
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:32:00 GMT
Well first of all, I am not ready to give up on Obama. However, to answer your question, the only way these guys can be halfway decent is for the voters not to be insured in their charm and talking points and focus on basics. Here’s a guy who got elected saying he believed in peace, and we got more wars. He claimed to care about poor people, the poor people, who were swindled in this financial madness, yet he bailed out the banks. What we have to do is stick to the basics, serve as biblical injunction would have it. Care about the vulnerable, help the people who need help. Put government to help the working class, the middle people, but the Democratic Party has lost that commitment. The labor unions are not focused on industrial working conditions, the environmental movement has lost clout, we need a Ralph Nader, the spirit, and the real problem is we don’t have a coherent progressive force. In terms of peace, we don’t have it, because we don’t have a draft, so the war is seen as a luxury we [can] afford, the only alternative to a secure job system. We basically have turned over the economy to those at Wall Street who only care about their own pockets .
11:32 Comment From EJK
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:32:02 GMT
Comment: Still a big fan. I do think you need to rethink JFK in the light of quite a number of books released over the last few years. Jim Douglass’s book “JFK and the Unspeakable” in particular. The coverage of exactly what was going on on the ground in Vietnam in the autumn of ‘63 is mind-blowing. Basically, folks such as the traitor Henry Cabot Lodge, Lucien Conein, Ted Shackley and many others sabotaged much of what Kennedy ordered, leading JFK himself to be Arthur Krock’s source for the October 1963 NYT article claiming that the possibility of a domestic US coup would come from the CIA and not the Pentagon. The “high WH source” quoted by Krock was Kennedy. A link:
I think any reading of the Pentagon Papers will clarify the responsibility of Kennedy for what happened in Vietnam. There’s no question about it, it extends to current players, [Richard] Holbrooke, who was involved in all of that. If you ever read one thing about it, you should read Graham Greene’s “The Quiet American.” Kennedy was committed to the good imperialism, that the Americans were going to present the best system, that we were going to battle for their hearts and minds and we ended up kiling 3.5 million of them [Indochinese]. But Kennedy fell for this idea, hook, line and sinker. We have clean hands, we know what we’re doing. In the case of Kennedy the role of organized crime, which he knew something about through personal, family contact. Most people knew what a sewer Havana was, and yet when there was a revolution there, Kennedy positioned us on the wrong side of it and drove the Cuban revolution. There was a book about it at the time by Maurice Zeitlin. He [Kennedy] made a mess of Cuban policy and almost got the world blown up through the Cuban Missile Crisis. He brought Diem and installed Washington. All this happened under Eisenhower.
11:39 Comment From erniesfo
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 19:39:51 GMT
Comment: Looking back, I would like to think that Gore would not have attacked Iraq as Bush insisted on doing. I was still concerned at that time with Gore’s complicity with the “end of welfare” meme. In any event, you still have to believe that Gore would have been better than Shrub.