Saturday, April 16, 2011

1998: Clinton vs. Nixon

Oh man, I just found the hook for posting this re-run comparing the transgressions of Clinton with those of Nixon (and while surfing for a photo to accompany the post, I found this page arguing that Nixon's domestic policies were more liberal than Clinton's). Over at, John Feffer compares Nixon to Obama. His argument is that Nixon was simultaneously a great peacemaker and a cruel warmonger. In "Emulating Nixon," he discusses Obama's record of arms control successes and contrasts that with his resort to arms in the Af-Pak conflict – and this was written in 2009, well before the resort to arms in North Africa. Does this particular shoe fit? Since my record of prognostication is spotty at best (see below) let's just say, as the saying goes, chronology will elaborate.

We seem to be the victims of an ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. Longtime readers will recall that after President Clinton's re-election in 1996, I lay out even odds that he would not finish out his second term. It looks like those odds are now, at the very least, 60-40 against.

As this issue goes to press, Independent Inquisitor Kenneth Starr has just delivered his report to Congress, all 36 cartons of it. By the time you read this, the contents will be leaking all over Washington. And members of his own party are distancing themselves from the President, just as the Republicans did when the stench of Nixon's crimes grew too strong to ignore.

Of course Nixon's crimes were far nastier than Bill's, but that doesn't mean the fat lady isn't clearing her throat. Longtime readers will surmise that it would not exactly break my heart if the Clinton Administration came to a premature end. As far as I'm concerned, Al Gore can negotiate corporate-friendly trade agreements and toss people off welfare just as well as Bill can. And it looks like the fix is in to destroy Social Security in order to save it, no matter who occupies the Oval Office or what they do in it.

Of course, the American people don't really want to see the President impeached over his sex life, but I'm not sure the American people have much of a say in this. One of the mysteries of this whole affair is why such a loyal servant of the moneyed interests is being shown the door. Well, there's something else going on here, and it may be years before we learn what the real agenda is. In the meantime, even though we all know how unwise it is to underestimate Bill Clinton's powers of survival, he's left a huge stain on himself no matter what happens.

In January, when this thing broke, I wrote that "if (as seems likely) the President is lying through his teeth, he should do the honorable thing and resign." Woe to all of us now that that course was not taken. While Bill would be shopping around his memoirs and joining corporate boards, President Gore would be enjoying his honeymoon and leading the Democrats to take back the House of representatives in the November election. Now?

Just as Clinton's inept and corrupt leadership gave us Speaker Newt and the GOP Revolution to begin with, now his monumental selfishness has robbed of of our best chance to be rid of the Republican majority in the House. Democrats were looking to gain the twelve seats necessary to give Newt the boot; now we'll be lucky if they don't lose twenty. At the risk of saying I told ya so, this is what we get for electing Clinton in the first place. Long before I moved to Tucson and started this paper, back in 1991, I was warning readers that the man was not to be trusted. Now he's driving us all over the cliff with him. If you lie down with weasels, you're gonna get flecked with foam.

I have no love for Clinton's persecutors, but as Nixon said: "I gave them [his enemies] a sword. And they twisted it with relish." So too has Clinton made it easy for those who oppose even the mildest whiff of progressivism in his agenda to stymie his half-hearted efforts in that direction. What did we do to deserve this man?

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