What Clinton and President Barack Obama have in common that uniquely condemns the Democratic Party
As the Democrats’ majority in the House prepare to pass President Obama’s desired skyrocketing electricity bill-causing “cap and trade” bill, a column by former President Clinton emphasizing how much FDR cared for the poor appears in Time that reminds this former Democrat of what his former party cared for more than the poor and why I was compelled to quit being a Clinton-like front-man for the Obama-like true-believing kooks.
Moderate Democrats as front men for the far left
The penultimate straw that broke my donkey’s back were the words of Bill Clinton discussing his signing of the Gingrich-GOP Congress passed welfare reform bill that he had twice vetoed due to objections from many liberals in the Democratic Party concerning the requirements that recipients work to qualify for certain benefits.
Those work requirements have since been eliminated from what even Clinton’s most vociferous critics admit was his most significant achievement in reducing the welfare rolls, in the ObamaDems’ non-stimulus bill. But even Clinton himself felt the need to appease his left, which included then Illinois State Senator Obama, when signing the bill fulfilling his campaign promise to “end welfare as we know it.”
President Clinton asserted at the time that the third iteration from the Republican Congress was spared the veto pen since it better protected the most vulnerable. I came to see myself as a fellow enabler for the kooks in the party and my eventual conservative epiphany was set in stone.
Caring for the poor since Hoover
You see, Democrats “care more” for the poor than Republican, don’t you know (I do because I was told this when in the party and bought into it myself for a time), and have since 1932:
My grandfather was a dirt farmer with only a sixth-grade education. During the Depression, he eked out a living selling blocks of ice. But in those days, even though he was poor, he knew someone special: from listening to the fireside chats on the radio, he knew Franklin Roosevelt. And he believed that Roosevelt knew what his life was like — and cared about it too.
Besides having a deep personal connection to ordinary citizens, Roosevelt got the big things right. When he came into office during the Depression, he saw that the ills of the country could not be addressed without more aggressive involvement by the government. He ran for President as a fiscal conservative, promising to balance the budget. But unlike his predecessor, he quickly realized that, with prices collapsing and unemployment exploding, only the Federal Government could step into the breach and restart the economy.
The genesis of the Democrats’ Manichean religion, unlike the Judeo-Christian one that begins with Moses’ Genesis, casts God (FDR) and the Devil (Hoover) as equals. Given Clinton’s later praise of President Teddy Roosevelt’s progressive advocacy of a government big enough to “[limit] the abuses and [spread] the benefits of industrial capitalism” it appears that the Grand Old Party only lost its grandeur due to President Hoover’s supposed reluctance to have the federal government “step into the breach and re-start the economy.”
The problem with that narrative is that Hoover did nothing but big government breach-steppings from 1929-1932, especially the disastrous Smoot-Hawley tariff and higher tax rates, neither of which were repealed by FDR. Moreover, given that the average unemployment rate under FDR remained in mid to high double digits, and higher than Hoover’s average, for the seven-year New Deal period before the mobilization for WWII, no fair person can conclude that the billions spent by FDR’s federal government ever “re-started” the economy.
Blindness to policies that prevent wealth creation and its necessity
Yes, FDR cared about the poor. But no more than Hoover did. FDR was a better communicator and politician than Hoover, but Bill Clinton shows more evidence of false religion-causing blindness when he asserts that:
F.D.R. had another quality important in a President: the self-confidence to abandon a policy that wasn’t working. He believed in experimentation, but he didn’t deny the evidence when an experiment proved unsuccessful.
Well, yes and no (mostly no). Yes, FDR did change policies a lot. In fact, he changed them so much that he made it impossible for investors, taxed at top rate of 90%, to ever have enough confidence to take any investment risks, given that the rules of the game could change before they ever had a chance to make a profit.
Moreover, many of FDR’s policies were changed because they were struck down as unconstitutional. But no matter the policy changes, the “experiments” always had one element in common that FDR had ingrained in him by his former Democrat employer, President Woodrow Wilson, and that was: big government.
FDR’s successors have no excuse for not learning lessons from FDR’s mistakes
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a great president primarily due to his leadership in WWII, but also for his ability to inspire millions like Clinton’s grandfather despite their dire economic circumstances, but FDR made great economic mistakes that we now know prolonged the Depression and caused it to be “Great”.
While Wendell Wilkie and some other Republicans opposed many of FDR’s policies and have been proven right by history, their theory was only that, a theory, at a time of great crisis that called for action. So, I can give FDR a pass for not having the opportunity to learn the lessons that were made manifest only after his death, that both parties have ignored as they expanded the size of government since 1945 beyond even many of FDR’s wildest dreams.
We know now that tight monetary policy by the Federal Reserve; the raising of tax rates; trade wars; and anti-investment policies of both Hoover and FDR, respectively, caused and/or prolonged the Great Depression.
Clinton not a “true-believer”
Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have no excuse to have not learned those lessons.
Bill Clinton’s record as president shows that his desire for actual prosperity overrides his Democratic Party belief in a government produced utopia, at least when faced with upcoming elections.
He campaigned on a middle-class tax cut that he angrily abandoned at Fed Chair Alan Greenspan’s insistence as necessary to calm the bond markets and bring down interest rates. He supported NAFTA’s free trade and later a capital gains tax cut that helped extend the Reagan Recovery to historic proportions.
But he never quit surrounding his conservative actions with the hymns of his liberal religion. His actions indicate that he “cared” more about the actual circumstance of the poor and middle class than he did ideological purity.
Barack Obama is another case altogether
In his Time piece, Clinton reveals that a portion of his heart remains tethered to the Obama religion to “fundamentally change” America when he says:
I thought of both Roosevelts when I told Americans that we needed a new social contract for the 21st century, one that would keep us moving toward a “more perfect union” in a highly interdependent, complex, ever changing world.
That is the challenge President Obama has inherited. I believe he will succeed in his efforts at economic recovery, health-care reform and taking big steps on climate change. Along the way, I hope he will be inspired by F.D.R.’s concern for all Americans, his relentless optimism, his penchant for experimentation, his relish for spirited debate among brilliant advisers and his unshakable faith in the promise of America.
New “social contract”? Climate change? FDR’s concern? Brilliant advisors?
Ah, the humongous conceit of the left, when history screams for humility.
Hearts aside, Democrat policies hurt the poor and middle class
I don’t judge hearts like so many Democrats in my former party do, but I did begin to question how they could pursue policies advocated to help the poor that had proved ad nauseum to hurt them. How, after the manifest success of supply-side tax rate cut-driven recoveries that made so many less poor, did they cling to their class envy driven love of taxing the rich? Why did they desire policies that made more Americans dependent on government after the success of welfare to work and the entrepreneurial boom of the 80s and 90s?
Is it a lust for power? Is it a religious zeal that desires to see their faith proven as true?
Finally, Clinton waxes on tenets of the Dem Church that hint at the motive:
The Depression gave F.D.R. the chance to use the power of government to complete the work his cousin had begun: to build a great middle class, help the poor work their way into it and give Americans a modicum of security in old age. His leadership during World War II and the plans he made for the U.N. and a permanent leadership role for the U.S. on the world stage cemented his legacy as one of our greatest Presidents.
I am troubled by the phrase “Depression gave FDR the chance” in light of history both before and after the terms of both Roosevelts.
The actual miracle wrought by free market capitalism vs. the imagined big government-fashioned Utopia
The citizens of the United States have enjoyed the greatest standard of living and prosperity of any humans on Earth since at least the 1830s.
It seems “the work” to build a middle class began with free market capitalism and private property rights. The Democrats’ religion blinds them to the fact that the wealth required for government to build their imagined Utopia is not a given. They are blind to the effect of their policies on the motivations required for producers to expend their time and energy to produce in the first place.
Bill Clinton’s eyes were not so blinded that he didn’t understand this fact, which separates him from the true believers he nevertheless ran interference for while triangulating them and the GOP enough to keep the private sector healthy under a Gingrich-wielded whip.
Clearly the majority of his party either hasn’t learned that lesson or cares more about goals like spreading existing wealth rather than actual economic prosperity and the creation of more wealth.
Investors went on strike after the election of 2006 when the Democrats took over Congress and the picket lines have only grown with the election of the truest believer of them all. Clearly Obama believes in big Government and himself in the rarefied air he breathes upon high as Chief Citizen of the World.
The only remaining question is if actual economic circumstances on the ground of the Fruited Plain will allow the President to re-visit the compromises of his Democrat predecessor as election days approach.
I will leave it to you to decide which party cares “more” for the poor. I believe that most people of both parties that I know, care for the poor. But as for me, one of the main motivating factors in my flight from the Dem Party is that I care so much for the poor that I favor policies that actually reduce the number of those in poverty and enable more to increase their wealth and prosperity.
And despite the dem-lite policies of too many Republicans this decade, the Democrats’ currency-destroying deficits and debt thrice the size of Bush’s worst and an energy bill soon to be voted on that can only be characterized as an attack on the standard of living of the poor and middle class more devastating than a thousand Katrinas, the main lessons of my common sense-affirming religion teach me to vote for the GOP.
Bill Clinton tried to have the government take over health care before Newt took the House, and even after his successful partnership with conservatism, he still preaches from Obama’s leftist hymnal. Obama has no Newt, and we see the results. Untempered by an elephant, the donkeys run wild, whether they are true believers or not.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
Originally published @ Examiner.com, where all verification links may be accessed.