December 25, 2015

WHY ’90S-ERA BILL CLINTON WOULD FAIL TO WIN THE 2016 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION:

Democrats often say the modern GOP has lurched so far right that a time-traveling Ronald Reagan couldn’t win the party’s presidential nomination today. What Democrats fail to say is this: ’90s-era Bill Clinton would have an equally difficult challenge if he could somehow run for a third term today.

Even Slick Willie at his best probably couldn’t talk his way to the nomination. Not only did he deregulate Wall Street, he also cut investment taxes for the rich, and signed the North American Free Trade Agreement. Income inequality soared. Imagine the negative ads Sanders would run against him using Clinton’s famous State of the Union quote: “The era of big government is over.” If the Democratic debates had “a kiddie table” like the GOP debates do, Bill Clinton might be stuck there like Rick Santorum and George Pataki.

All this puts Hillary Clinton in the weird position of saying she’s a student of “the Clinton school of economics” while also disavowing its main lessons.

Because it took a Republican Congress and Senate to push Clinton grudgingly to the right starting in 1995, after he violated so many of his campaign promises in his disastrous Obama-esque first two years of office. And it took 12 years of Presidents Reagan and Bush #41 to create an environment in which Clinton felt obliged to run to the right in the first place. But as I’ve written before, it’s interesting watching Hillary run simultaneously on nostalgia for her husband’s two terms, while disavowing all of his policies.

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