By Cheri Jacobus - 09/22/11 10:51 PM EDT
Slick Willy does it again! He has now managed the fancy footwork of both agreeing and disagreeing with President Obama at the same time, but on just one issue. In this case, Obama made it easy.
Bill Clinton publicly said that Obama and Congress should not raise taxes during these tough economic times. This is the polar opposite of the position Obama announced Monday when he proposed funding yet another spending spree along with $1.5 trillion in tax hikes. But Clinton knows how to get around this little conundrum. He can legitimately say he agrees with Obama — the 2009 Obama, that is. In short, Barack Obama was against raising taxes before he was for it.
While Obama defenders have been quick to point out that Clinton also said he did not recommend cutting spending to solve the problems with the economy, I would urge them to read Clinton’s comments more carefully. He merely said that while he would normally say cutting the federal government’s spending would help, he doesn’t promote it as the panacea for our fiscal woes and doubts we’d get the big return we might have in the past, under different circumstances. However, all but the most far-left ideologues agree that government spending is out of control and must be reined in for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is moral grounds. That said, Clinton put the kibosh on any perceived support of his for the government spending our way out of the current mess, which is the only “solution” offered by Obama.
Interestingly, Bill Clinton also suggested that adding regulations for businesses at this time would hurt them and job-creation — yet another significant departure from the Obama agenda.
It’s become apparent that Obama doesn’t actually expect or even want his plan to pass Congress. He knows his “savings” aren’t real and won’t stand up to scrutiny by economists and experts, just like they didn’t stand up to former President Clinton’s scrutiny. All candidate Obama needs to extract from his plan and angry rhetoric is to win back his far-left base and trick “regular” people (non-experts) into believing he is fighting for the “little guy,” but those mean, old Republicans are standing in his way and trying to protect rich folks. And of course, to him “rich folks” are the enemy (until they write a check to his reelection campaign).
That, in case anybody is wondering, is the very definition of class warfare. Pitting the haves against the have-somewhat-lesses as if it’s an either/or, us-or-them proposition is class warfare. Failing (miserably) to be enough of a leader to articulate that we are all in this together and to acknowledge the very basics of how the economy works with its many gears operating simultaneously, Obama resorted to the cheap divisive language for which he is becoming renowned. It’s as though he has already given up on fixing the economy and now is focusing his energies solely on blaming and bullying Republicans. But Bill Clinton might be giving up on Obama, despite his pronouncements to the contrary.
Obama’s pandering to the far-left base he fears losing means losing others he needs, such as centrist Democrats like Bill Clinton, as well as independents. Congressional Democrats have begun distancing themselves from Obama.
At some point, these Democrats, including Bill Clinton, will graduate from running from Obama, to running to someone else. Hillary, perhaps? Don’t count her out. My money is on her being ready and willing to be drafted. The Clintons want Obama to get his deserved blame for his failures and to LBJ his way out of running for reelection. It’s already too late for some new, untested candidate to run. Therefore, the spoils will be awarded to the last man — or woman — standing. It may not a sure bet. But it’s a damn good gamble.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has managed congressional campaigns, worked on Capitol Hill and is an adjunct professor at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. She appears on CNN, MSNBC and FOX News as a GOP strategist.