Why was Clinton a good President?
What specific policies did he have that made him a good President? What specific legislation did he push through Congress that did good things?
I'm not saying there isn't any - I spent the 90's in the Navy, so my view of the Oval Office was less than objective.
September 6th, 2006 11:13am
All I remember of the Clinton presidency is that the country at large was generally better off, or seemed to be.
I was dirt poor, but that was a consequence of my life choices at the time.
September 6th, 2006 11:14am
> Why was Clinton a good President?
September 6th, 2006 11:19am
See, those are partisan answers.
How about this - I think the country was better off in 2000 because of policies put in place by the first Bush administration, which buoyed the economy until the dotcom boom took over and helped all sectors of the economy grow.
Clinton just rode the wave.
Can anyone counter with specific policies that Clinton implemented that actually had the beneficial effects we saw in the 90's?
September 6th, 2006 11:22am
He was a real conservative ... he conserved what was working. Didn't fuck it up.
Plus you know the whole budget deficit business. And Bosnia & Kosovo were examples of foreign policy done right (even the missle attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan were prescient, even if the Reps said it was wagging the dog, it wasn't).
September 6th, 2006 11:31am
What specific policies did Bush put in place for Clinton to ride on his wave?
son of parnas
September 6th, 2006 11:33am
I'll contribute one. He kept the Taliban hopping by funding their enemies. And he kept Al Quida hopping by exactly the same methods.
He made sure that Sadam Hussein could never become a threat because he'd let them spend a bunch on money on new military stuff, wait for the money to transfer or valuable foreign workers to clear off, then blow it up.
He kept our foreign relations civil by not pissing off the governments of countries that our country does a lot of business with, like Germany and France. This "not pissing people off" did a lot to make foreign policy goals more attainable.
As an European, Clay's last paragraph is probably the thing that makes most sense to me.
September 6th, 2006 11:35am
A president that makes oral sex more acceptable is fine in my book.
I'd love to see that next to Bush's list.
Night and day.
September 6th, 2006 11:43am
The Clinton administration came up with an agreement with NK for NK to suspend all enrichment and nuclear weapons activities. The repub controlled senate refused to ratify the treaty, and also refused to finace our part of the deal. So, a few years later, the norks ended up peeling the seals off the facilities and trucking it all away to reprocess into nuclear weapons.
Clinton appointed Witt, an experienced disaster planning person, to head FEMA after the hurricane Andrew fiasco. As a result FEMA worked to relieve suffering where disaster hit. In contrast, bush appoints a failed horse judge and FEMA becomes a check issueing agency only during election years to prop up the party in power.
India and Pakistan have both refused to sign the NPT. Under the Clinton administration, we imposed sanctions on both countries, and our policy was to get them to sign NPT, renounce nuclear weapons and irrevocably destroy their nukes. Under the bush administration, our policy is to reward both India and Pakistan for refusing to sign NPT and to violate NPT ourselves by selling/trading/giving dual-use technology, machinery and parts to those 2 countries.
September 6th, 2006 11:46am
I was not a Clinton supporter. I didn't vote for him. There's quite a bit of his policy actions (NAFTA, anyone? oy) that I think were, and are, dispicable.
That being said, compared to the Commodus that is Bush, Clinton looks like Marcus Aurelius.
"Clinton just rode the wave."
The economic success of the US in the 90s was in no small part due to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening up of massive new markets for American goods. And Clinton's foreign policy has backed the development of newly independent countries heavily, so that they could make money for themselves (and spend it on American-made goods).
Plus, you know, the budget proficit. It's historically ironic that the Democrat cut back government spending, and the subsequent Republican built up massive new bureaucracies and borrowed like fuck against the nation's grandchildren.
"And Bosnia & Kosovo were examples of foreign policy done right"
Well, actually, no. Kosovo, including America's involvement, was a massive clusterfuck solved simply by letting all the biggest loonies kill each other.
He tried to do something noble and unpopular, while I was in the Navy -- "Don't Ask Don't Tell".
He made it safe to be an employee.
His wife and he tried to make health insurance widely available - a kinder, gentler, more responsible country
He didn't spend a whole lot of time marketing the drug war.
He made it okay for our nation to be a meritocracy.
He made me believe in my country, and therefore, myself.
He ignored Rwanda, and he apologized.
"He didn't spend a whole lot of time marketing the drug war. "
Maybe not, but he funded the fuck out of it. And it's one thing when a religious loon like Bush does it: you expect it because he's completely oblivious. But Clinton inhaled, goddamnit--he should have known better.
I think today it is more clear that the drug war is bad for the country, than it was in the early 90's.
Oh, I guess I'd like to add FEMA to the list. It was started on Clinton's watch. It was actually capable of providing assistance on his watch. It made us look good; we could handle anything that came along.
Bush, he needed the Mexican Army to come and provide relief in New Orleans last year, because FEMA couldn't be bothered to mount a relief effort, and our military apparently had better things to do than help it's own populace. Not that the military is to blame here: the civilian leadership needs to put them on the task. But I can't for the life of me figure out why there were U.S. soldiers in Iraq or undeployed National Gaurd troops here while there were Mexican soldiers doing their job.
drug war == prohibition
all very bad, and fuelled by coots.
I think they should all get high, and just chill out man
September 6th, 2006 12:00pm
"(NAFTA, anyone? oy)"
Explain that to me. I've heard a lot of criticism for it, but what was it all about?
"I think today it is more clear that the drug war is bad for the country, than it was in the early 90's."
Look, Clinton did some decent things--his attempt to allow gays in the military, his attempt to get health care reform, his appointment of Elders... but the drug war he prosecuted and NAFTA were both serious demerits. That's not to say that his presidency was a failure--it wasn't--nor am I suggesting he go down in history as a villian. I *am* suggesting that he, and every other drug warrior, be brought to account for their crimes against not only citizens of the U.S., but against central and south Americans generally.
Oh yeah, I would argue that the less the legislature interfers with everyday life, the better.
So even if all Clinton did was not fuck things up, then he is good in my book.
September 6th, 2006 12:04pm
The biggest effect where I live came from the removal of tarifs on trade in North America. That means that there aren't tarrifs on washing machines or car radios built in Mexico then imported into the U.S. The result is that a lot of American companies build their products in Mexico, paying wages that are good by Mexican standards, then sell them in the U.S., where we'll pay a good deal more for them than the mexican workers who built them can afford to pay.
Where I live, we're loosing the last of our large factories to new facilities in Mexico. Well, that and really really bad business practices on the part of GM.
Ah, ok... but surely it's damn clear that a First World country can't base its economy too much on industrial labour?
In reality, NAFTA is carte blanche for corporations to overrule local customs and laws in pusuit of commerce. There are those of us who believe that there are more worthy human goals than making a buck--like protecting air, water, and land. Like protecting human and worker's rights. Like outlawing child labor. So on and so forth. Anyone who doesn't think NAFTA was a disaster needs to look at the Rio Grande... or, as it's known in Mexico, the Rio Negro, where all of the above principles have been systematically violated.
There's critics in the US who claim it's the Mexican's fault for not cleaning up the river, for not implementing adequate labor laws, etc. Certainly the Mexican federales can't totally dodge responsibility. But NAFTA (and the US-based corporate elites that crafted it) deserve the majority of the blame.
"Clinton just rode the wave."
I'm not sure it's fair to say that Clinton road the wave... the economy is always in flux and you cannot give too much credit to the president. However, it does matter what the president does with economic success.
Clinton was fiscally conversative in nearly every way... so I'm not sure why you have such an issue with him. He eliminate hundreds of thousands of civilian employees in the government reducing federal spending. He used the positive economy to the deficit into a surplus (now, admittedly, conversatives don't believe the government should take in any more money than it spends but that's illogicial... there is a need to invest in the future). Clinton expanded Earned Income Tax Credit -- basically a tax cut. Clinton signed in a lot of tough-on-crime bills if you like that sort of thing. The list really goes on and on.
I can't believe you are even arguing this. Clinton was a good president. Bush Sr. was a good president. Reagan was a good president. For the most part, the US has had more good presidents than bad. Presidents that basically the entire world (for the most part) look up to. Occasionally someone unfit for the job does slip through. The only reason you ask the question is because Clinton was a Democrat and I find that rather pathetic. If you are so blinded by your (misguided -- see above) party affiliation that you are incapable of seeing Clinton as a good president then I feel sorry for you.
September 6th, 2006 12:20pm
Welfare reform wasn't too bad, either.
Deficit way down.
"conversatives don't believe the government should take in any more money than it spends but that's illogicial... there is a need to invest in the future"
It's not illogical. You cut down expenses and invest whatever's left over. The more you invest, the more money you have left over to invest.
As opposed to the Bush administration, which borrows money and then lobs it at Iraq in large, missile-shaped chunks.
>> Why was Clinton a good President?
Because he was one of the few heads of state who have spoken with me face to face and not botch it up. Not many heads of state have that honour. <g>
Well, not exactly face to face, but via videophone. Close enough. That was in his first term. August '94.
September 6th, 2006 12:50pm
He helped a lot in brokering peace in Northern Ireland.
September 6th, 2006 12:52pm
Wayne, you'll find that one of the big beefs that anybody in the military during Clinton's presidency had was what they refer to as The Drawdown. The size of the U.S. force was cut back with the end of the Cold War, and it hurt a lot of career opportunities within the military. Instead of being disgruntled because they didn't get an expected promotion, they were glad to still be in the service. To be fair the plan was hatch during the first Bush administration, but it was at the end of that administration and Bush quite properly deferred the decision to implement it for his successor. Clinton went forward with it, and a lot of people found that they had to make new career plans.
There's also the very disturbing extreme right wing trend of the military, but that's a different issue. The pain they were experiencing was very real during the Clinton administration.
I don't like the man as a person. I believe the operative phrase is "morally bankrupt."
But I have to admit that financially, he was more conservative than the Republicans are. He was able to reduce the national debt, while the current Congress and Administration seem to be trying to outdo each other in proposing spending plans.
September 6th, 2006 1:14pm
Funny, I think the pro-clinton arguments outweight the anti-clinton by a lot.
September 6th, 2006 1:15pm
> I believe the operative phrase is "morally bankrupt."
That christian forgiveness thing doesn't seem to apply to dems.
son of parnas
September 6th, 2006 1:16pm
"I believe the operative phrase is "morally bankrupt." "
Okay. There are MANY men who cheat on their wives. It is just plain ludicrous to use this as a yardstick. Our most charismatic, capable leaders are also incapable of marital fidelity. It is meaningless in the scheme of things, as much as I despise the behavior.
It's more than the Monica escapades.
I'm probably lumping Hillary in with my judgement of him, too.
There's also the whole Vince Foster suicide thing -- the first thing the White House (aka Hillary) does is seal his office & prevent investigators from entering.
September 6th, 2006 1:59pm
> There's also the whole Vince Foster
Strong evidence there. It doesn't take much to justify moral bankrupcy for someone you already don't like.
son of parnas
September 6th, 2006 2:02pm
It tells me that both of them cared more about appearances that their actual selves.
Esse quam videri
September 6th, 2006 2:06pm
> It tells me that both of them cared more about appearances
And that's moral bankruptcy?
son of parnas
September 6th, 2006 2:10pm
> Kosovo, including America's involvement, was a massive clusterfuck solved simply by letting all the biggest loonies kill each other.
That's what I meant by doing foreign polciy the right way!
This is first time I've heard Mexican Army went into New Orleans last year. Where did that nonsense orignate?
To say Clinton was morally bankrupt would mean saying that he never had good intentions. That all his intentions were evil or at best self-serving and amoral. I think that's a pretty big stretch of the iagination.
September 6th, 2006 2:24pm
>> That all his intentions were evil or at best self-serving and amoral. I think that's a pretty big stretch of the iagination. <<
Maybe not all (everyone slips occasionally). But certainly a large majority of them.
September 6th, 2006 3:05pm
Rio grande != Rio Negro
Rio Grande = Rio Bravo. :)
And yeah, Mexico sent troops with Humanitarian Aid to NO last year.
"Rio Grande = Rio Bravo. :)"
Sorry, half-remembered anecdote. A speaker from Mexico relayed that "We should call *this* river [the Rio Grande] the Rio Negro" -- as along the maquiladora zone it's a fucking cesspool.
"but surely it's damn clear that a First World country can't base its economy too much on industrial labour?"
[You know what the problem is? We used to make things in this country. Now we just stick our hands in the next guy's pocket.] -Frank Zabotka (HBO's The Wire)
September 6th, 2006 3:37pm
sharkfish hit a point that is largely ignored in conservative circles...
That one of the most liberal democrats did what reagan and bush 1 could not- he ended welfare as we knew it. And he did it in a way that welfare recipiants actually *welcomed*.
He made the federal government smaller than it was under reagan, bush I, AND bush II
balanced the budget
had his eye on bin laden and not iraq
did the right things in bosnia
what can you say about our current president?
September 6th, 2006 3:42pm
Clinton balanced the budget. Only Kennedy had ever managed to balance the budget before.
He even managed to get a 300 billion dollar surplus, to pay down some of the cumulative debt of this nation. Note that current interest payments ON that cumulative debt is some 300 billion dollars all by itself.
I think that is an achievement of historic proportions. And note he balanced the budget WITHOUT putting this country into a recession or depression or killing businesses through "excessive taxes". In fact, we had sustained growth in our economy the whole time.
September 6th, 2006 4:27pm
"Clinton balanced the budget."
And Bush I did the prepration.
He kept Alan Greenspan. That alone make him ok.
September 6th, 2006 4:33pm
Oh, and 'It's the economy, stupid'
But Rove proved him wrong.
September 6th, 2006 4:34pm
> And Bush I did the prepration.
son of parnas
September 6th, 2006 4:41pm
I'll let Philo answer the question since I am clueless.
September 6th, 2006 4:42pm
Philo won't reply (he never does)... this is just another Philo troll(tm).
September 6th, 2006 4:44pm
Mexican army in NO .. you guys are right. I think i remember it now. Sorry for being an ass.
September 6th, 2006 5:00pm
Bush Sr. Saddam Saddam Saddam.
Bush Jr. Iraq Iraq Iraq.
I'm really surprised this isn't as blatently obvious to everyone else as it is to me.
September 6th, 2006 7:54pm
Invading Kuwait isn't Bush's decision :)
September 6th, 2006 8:07pm
First, someone said that Clinton created FEMA. This is incorrect. Carter created FEMA. You CAN say that Clinton revitalized FEMA. It was derided after it's poor performance during Hurricane Hugo.
Second, someone in the few posts just before this said that Bush set up the balancing of the budget for Clinton. This is horribly uninformed.
The budget was balanced after 3 important events:
1) Clinton froze the Government hiring by executive order
2) Clinton RAISED taxes in 1993 across the board.
3) A number of good economic decisions made in the previous 10 years as well as the end of a 60 year cold war contributed to high confidence and growth of the economy, leading to a larger tax base.
Obviously "3" is the biggest influence, but the surge in confidence was a positive feedback loop with the balancing of the budget.
It's also important to remember that there's only a few things a President can do to help the economy. The key is avoiding the trillions of things a President can do to TANK the economy.
My personal theory is that when people feel that the Gov't and the collective will offer a safety net they feel better about their future and are willing to part with more savings and take-on more debt. There is proof that since the New Deal the stock market has performed better under Democratic presidents.
September 6th, 2006 9:50pm
Clinton appointed Mickey Kantor who succeeded in opening Asian markets where Bush Sr. failed. Could be argued as a significant contributor to the 90's prosperity as we knew it.
Where Clinton failed: read Bayer's book "See No Evil". Clinton turned the CIA into a country club. What Bush Jr. did to FEMA Clinton did to human intelligence. That simple.
September 6th, 2006 10:24pm