September 4 2012

Bill Clinton: Don't Stop Thinking about Yesterday!

Charlotte Hays

When Bill Clinton was running for his first term, the theme song was “Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow.” The band Fleetwood Mac even got together again to play the song for President Clinton's first inaugural.

But the theme of this year’s convention in Charlotte is: Don’t stop thinking about—oh—say more than a decade and a half ago when Bill Clinton was president and the economy under his leadership was a thing of beauty. Clinton will be giving the keynote address this year because, as the inimitable Andrew Malcolm puts it:

… nothing says renewed "Hope & Change" like a president from the last century. Clinton was called back to save the campaign of the man he's called an amateur, who defeated his wife in 2008.

Clinton, Malcolm notes, is only one of the “numerous fresh faces to appear in the money-shortened Democratic convention.” Other ingénues are John Kerry, Deval Patrick, Barbara Mikulski, and Charlie Crist, who was a Republican before being beaten by Senator Marco Rubio.

Those who don’t share President Obama’s ambition that he be accorded a second term should not stop thinking about two other time frames: the present—which is pretty dismal—and the future—which will not be the past of Bill Clinton, a moderate Democrat who belonged to the pragmatic Democratic Leadership Conference, whose ideas Barack Obama rejected. (A Wall Street Journal piece today explains how President Obama replaced the moribund DLC with the Center for American Progress, which “churns out proposals for government to mediate every sphere of economic life.”)

President Clinton, whose power to demolish Republicans and sway voters should never be underestimated, gave us a thriving economy that looks nothing like what we have now. I can’t blame the Democrats for looking to the past.     

Here is our present: Food Stamp use reached 46.7 million in June, and unemployment is “stubbornly stuck.”  Gas prices also reached a record high on Labor Day. The national debt hits $16 trillion this week.

So Don’t Stop Thinking about the Present.

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