Bill Clinton at the plate

The 2010 elections are in the ninth inning. There are two outs. The Democrats are down by two runs. There are two runners on base. The Babe is stepping to the plate, wielding the big bat, ready to take the big swing.

Can Bill Clinton can save the Democratic House of Representatives? If he goes full force, and there are signs that he may, my answer is: You betcha.

ADVERTISEMENT
In my opinion Bill Clinton will be judged by historians as a very good to nearly great president. He inherited the presidency during a painful economy and left with a legacy of prosperity, growth and optimism. He began his presidency facing mountains of debt and left with the legacy of a balanced budget and surplus.

As the 2010 campaign snarls to a close, Bill Clinton is the only living former president Americans identify with better times, economic optimism and prosperity.

In recent weeks Clinton has begun to make a very big move, campaigning in various states, appearing on “Meet the Press” and “Face the Nation,” respecting the decent instincts of many Tea Party voters while decrying the Republicans who exploit them.

Clinton’s argument to voters is this:

Favor less support for small businesses? Vote Republican. Favor harsher conditions for student loans? Vote Republican. Favor fewer jobs in manufacturing, green business and small business, where the most jobs will be created? Favor privatizing Social Security? Want fewer consumer protections for your credit cards and mortgages? Vote Republican.

While President Clinton was balancing the budget, achieving a surplus, creating jobs, promoting prosperity and growing the economy, he and Hillary Clinton were under the same kind of relentless attacks of personal destruction and political extremism that many Republicans pursue today.

Favor using taxpayer dollars to hire more Republican congressional staff, more Republican lawyers and more Republican partisans to make Congress an even more gridlocked snake-pit of partisan warfare, as Republicans did when they fought to impeach Bill Clinton, while Clinton was fighting to create more jobs? Vote Republican. That is what they will do.

The game-changing power of Bill Clinton in 2010 is that the last prosperous economy most voters remember was during the Clinton presidency.

I would like to see Bill Clinton campaigning for every swing vote, campaigning to rally everyone in the Democratic base. I would like to see Clinton calling on Hollywood moguls to donate big money, as conservative moguls do, and calling on stars like Bruce Springsteen to rally the base, and taping closing ads that talk substance and sense to hurting and worried voters.

Above all, I would like to see Bill Clinton say to the American people what Michael Douglas said in the film “The American President,” which would rally the Democratic base and appeal to political independents.

These are serious times that demand serious people. Do not reward those who debase our democracy with talk of Kenyan tribes and lies about jobless workers being lazy. Listen to what candidates propose. Support those who advance your interests. Understand that those who exploit your fear, hurt and anger without anything positive to propose are looking out for themselves, at your expense.

With dozens of races too close to call, keep your eye on William Jefferson Clinton. 


Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at brentbbi@webtv.net.