Hillary and Bill Clinton in 2014. (via Flickr)

Hillary Clinton is dishing out details on how her potential administration would function—and apparently, it includes a lot of help from her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Speaking in Kentucky on May 15, the presidential candidate outlined the “crucial missions” she’d assign to her husband. The New York Times writes:

The former president, Mrs. Clinton told voters on Sunday, will be “in charge of revitalizing the economy.”

“Because, you know, he knows how to do it,” she said. “Especially in places like coal country and inner-cities and other parts of our country that have really been left out.”

While Bill certainly has experience shaping economic policy, much of his legacy has been called into question throughout this election season. Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer has long noted Bill’s role in helping to create the financial crash of 2007-08. Alternet adds:

[I]t should be recognized that the economic policies of Clinton not only exacerbated the bubbles (and made the later crashes worse), but undermined the longterm economic interests of the working and middle classes. …

It was, after all, the Clinton administration that oversaw widespread financial deregulation, repealing Glass-Steagall, which contributed to the rise of too-big-to-fail financial institutions, and signing the Commodity Futures Modernization Act into law, which ensured that the derivatives market that eventually led to the financial crisis was not regulated. …

Beyond financial deregulation, Clinton passed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which undermined manufacturing jobs and unions, while benefiting the biggest corporations who could shift production to Mexico; he signed the aforementioned welfare reform, which led to a system rife with racial bias and left more in deep poverty; and he reappointed Alan Greenspan as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Many are also wondering how Bill would fit into the administration, if, as Hillary asserts, he is not appointed to a cabinet position.

“Aides said Mr. Clinton’s role would be narrowly defined to focus on hard-hit areas of the country, such as the Rust Belt, and they rejected any implication that Mrs. Clinton would outsource a central part of her administration to her spouse,” writes The New York Times, although it adds that her declaration “raised questions about how such an arrangement would work in a White House that has long relied on an appointed Treasury secretary and National Economic Council.”

So although Hillary’s campaign is heavily depending on her husband’s legacy to woo the votes of working-class whites (a group she has not done well with), the intense scrutiny of Bill’s economic record may not help her campaign in the way she hopes.

In a piece published Friday by The Guardian, Thomas Frank summed up the danger of 1990s nostalgia. “Look at where we are now: soaring inequality, a recovery that never seems to come, a fraying middle class, a furious public, and improbable protest candidates drawing millions of votes,” he writes. “But all of it is as nothing, I suppose, when compared to the golden allure of the past.”

—Posted by Emma Niles


If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.