June 28, 2004

Gore, Clinton, Reagan and Me

In an otherwise excellent defense of Bill Clinton’s legacy, Ronald Brownstein of the LA Times mentions how Clinton and his sexual peccadilloes may have cost Al Gore the 2000 election. I beg to differ: Al Gore cost Al Gore the election. In the election season of 2000, a smarter man (or rather, a man more comfortable with himself) would have gone in front of the country and said something to the effect of “Yeah, Bill was a bit of jerk, but man, we got some good times going right now, don’t we?”

Instead, Al listened to Bob Shrum, supposed political guru. Al then spelled out to Mr. And Mr. American how everyone they could imagine was out to get them the oil companies, HMOs, insurance companies, media companies. However, thankfully, Al was there for them, to protect them. The people against the powerful, remember that nonsense? Al Gore, for all his recent bluster, is political death, and everyone that matters in the Democratic Party knows it. Remember, Howard Dean was on his way to being President until Gore endorsed him.

Oh, and you might notice how I, registered Republican, actually said the words “excellent defense of Bill Clinton”. Well, I did. Now that My (Incredibly Boring) Life is out, my fellow conservatives are attempting to shape the Clinton legacy, much as they did the Regan legacy. It’s to the opposite effect, but same principle. With Regan, we rightists set out to erase anything that did not meet the criteria of Ronald Regan, Paragon of America. Witness what happened to the CBS TV Movie, or the widespread condemnation of Edmund Morris’ book. For the record, the movie was dreck, the book, once you get beyond the stylistic oddities, is excellent.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Ronald Reagan is my political hero. It took me a few years to understand that, but it is very much the case. Ask the Mrs. Frinklin, she will tell you all about my idolization of Ronnie. Nevertheless, the plain truth of it is it’s intellectually dishonest. I believe the facts about Reagan will support my contention that he is the best president of the last 50 years. He was not perfect though. No president is. And I believe that Ronald Reagan was enough of a man to admit that, and I think he’d be a little disheartened to see this rush to canonize him.

So what does that have to do with Clinton? Well, led by Charles Krauthammer and Max Boot, two gentlemen I greatly appreciate, the right have attacked Clinton as the do-nothing president. A president that squandered whatever leadership he possessed on mundane little projects directed by Dick Morris. Now, some of this is true, but to minimize Clinton’s successes is as dishonest as erasing Reagan’s faults. He did have the luck to govern during an economic boom, though one that was spurred by the difficult times in the Reagan and Bush years. Clinton is to be commended on his focus on the economy, for spending down the deficit, and helping along the great economic trend of the 90’s: the rise of average American as investor and stockholder.

Now, beyond that, the most important thing Bill Clinton did for America was to make the Democratic Party a factor in presidential politics again. Brownstein points this out, though he didn’t make the connection between that and Gore’s old-school approach. Clinton realized that the vast majority of Americans don’t hate they rich, they want to BE the rich. Democrats had spent the previous 25 years assuming the former, and trying their damndest to make sure nobody got rich. He also pulled the party out of the post-Vietnam funk, and made the idea of a Democrat who uses force not such a joke anymore. Now, the manner in which he did it, the Kosovo boondoggle and the Sudanese aspirin-plant bombing weren’t the most effective way to prove it wasn’t a joke, but at least he tried. Now, you would think as a Republican I would want the Dems ruled by the Moonbat left, the gimmeee-gimmee-gimmme’s, the permanent victims, the “It’s all America’s fault” lunatic fringe.

Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. We need both parties. Any sane American, Democrat, Republican or whatever should agree. Tyranny of the many is just as dangerous as tyranny of the few or of the one.

Posted by Frinklin at June 28, 2004 06:18 PM
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