Monday, 12 June 2006

The Conservatives Worst Nightmare

“There is nothing patriotic about hating your country, or pretending that you love your country but despise your government.” President Bill Clinton

He went by the name of Bill Clinton and not only was he the most charismatic President since JFK, he was gifted with a genus like level of understanding of social policy and crucially, was a centrist conservative with a Deep South accent.

Don’t believe me? He reformed welfare, believed in free trade and balanced the budget with a strong economy, used a tough love foreign policy and cut the federal payroll to trim big government…oh and throw in that he was pro-death penalty. To the conservative movements utter horror here was a Democrat that middle America could vote for and love. And all this in spite of his silly personal misdemeanours (utterly blown out of proportion by the right but only because they feared him so much), he polled the most consistently high level of job approval since the aforementioned JFK. No wonder that when Newt Gingrich saw Clinton speak he commented:

“We’re dead. There is no way we’re going to beat this guy.”

It was a sign perhaps of the awesome political proposition Clinton presented, that he vexed the right so much, indeed Clinton bought out the ugliest, intolerant traits in the conservative movement but then he didn’t help himself. His first two acts when in the White House were both terrible examples of liberal over reach: gays in the military and cabinet selection seemingly based on skin colour and being a female.

But when Clinton got it right, he got it very right; economic measures that cut the deficit and built up the surplus that Bush Jnr squandered; NAFTA, welfare reform via tax credits that made it more worthwhile to work than claim benefit and the ability to say (roughly) what the American people wanted to hear. He did so much in his first term that for the second he simply steered the policies through…and got embroiled in sexual misdemeanours that tainted his time in power and ruined Al Gore’s chances.

It no doubt helped that was up against the awfully wooden and unfashionably patriarchal George H.W. Bush, who achieved much in his time (post Cold War diplomacy, punishment of Saddam Hussein and repairing Reagan’s voodoo economics) but it’s interesting to note that he rates higher amongst non-Americans than he does amongst his own people, especially the conservative movement, that quite frankly loathes him and his time in power. So while the GOP tried to smear Clinton with every personal attack under the sun, the next President stuck to his key principles:

Change vs. more of the same
The economy, stupid
Don't forget health care


George H.W. was the conservative past, Tory paternalism was to be replaced by the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom DeLay and the furious partisanship that marks the current American political climate.

9 comments:

  1. I don't think that first quote is true. I think it's necessary to love your country and despise your government in certain situations, like the one I'm in at the moment. My country is based on an idea, one we haven't quite realized yet, but I think it's possible. I think with the hard work and dedication of intelligent people, we can turn our nation into something we can be proud of again. I think right now, despising our government might be the BEST way to love our country. How can you not despise something that is doing nothing positive for you and your people? I thinkt he government is completely corrupt on both sides of the aisle, and only those that truly love where we came from can change where we're going. It's a personal mission for me at the moment. I just wish more Americans would open their eyes and see that we cannot separate ourselves from the government. We ARE the government, and we must do somethign to make it better or die trying. Like I've said int he past, it's time for a revolution.

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  2. We could really use soemone like Clinton or Kennedy right now, but I don't think we're going to get him.

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  3. Great post. I miss Clinton in the White House.

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  4. Clinton bombed the Sudan and boosted aid to Israel so they could afford the apocalyptic expansion of the late 90s, which entailed mostly the wholesale massacre of Palestinians and led to Sharon.

    I say fuck America and replace them with a regime made up of their victims for, oh, about two hundred years.

    They'll be begging to return to democracy by then.

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  5. Clinton was the best US president since FDR, but that isn't saying much.

    Our government is A CORPORATE SELLOUT. Clinton was no different. See the Telecommunications act. He also played to the hate, see the Defense of Marriage Act.

    Chomsky/Zinn '08!

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  6. Col.,
    We're not pretending that Clinton was perfect, but he's better than anything we have now, or anything we can hope of having for quite some time.

    Cranky,
    Our government is definitely a corporate sellout. Anyone who can't see that by now is out of their minds. Don't tease me. If Zinn's not running you can't do that to me. If he is, tell me where I can sign up to work on his campaign.

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  7. I'm a registered Republican. And, to be honest, I agree with you. Though I consider myself quite thye conservative, Bush is really pissing me off!

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  8. It's also a testament to his wisdom that he married Hillary.

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  9. By the way, you really should read this transcript from SNL.

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