On President's day, the Moose's thoughts turn to 42.
It is striking to the Moose that the donkey seems to have forgotten the lessons of Bill Clinton. If he was not a great President, he did some very good things for America. On his watch, poverty fell, the country prospered, budgets were balanced, welfare was reformed and peace came to the Balkans. Not bad.
Contrary to the current conventional wisdom, Clinton also had a philosophy of government. In short, it was the modernization of liberalism or - progressivism for a conservative country. Through innovative initiatives such as the EITC, welfare reform and Americorps, Clinton employed reformed governmental means for progressive ends. As the Moose can attest, by 1997, Republicans were frustrated that they had no means to counter this "Third Way."
Then came Monica and impeachment. Clinton lost all momentum and was forced to rely on the left of the party to defend against the forces of impeachment. Unlike Tony Blair, Clinton was not able to transform his party.
It was always odd when the Moose heard those claiming to represent "the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." That statement could only be interpreted as an explicit attack on the Clinton legacy. Apparently, some lefties wanted to return to the "good old days" of McGovern, Dukakis and Mondale when Democrats were Democrats and Republicans controlled the executive branch.
Not surprisingly, the person who has raised the fallen Clinton standard is his wife. In the months after the election, Senator Clinton has best attempted to bridge the Democratic "trust gaps" in the areas of values and national security. On Meet the Press yesterday, she delivered a stellar performance from Iraq sounding like a tough Truman, JFK Democrat.
Unlike the Democrats, the right has aggressively acted to preserve the Reagan legacy. Indeed, Reagan did transform the GOP, and that is why the conservatives stoutly defend his legacy. While the Moose is certainly not making the case for Clinton nostalgia, the donkey would be well served to not forget what he contributed to the party.
Forget the Clinton legacy at your peril. --