“If Bill Clinton’s so smart, why can’t he save the Democrats?” asks David Weigel on Slate, before he completely misinterprets Bill Clinton and the Democratic party. To wit,
[Bill Clinton] had an airport-hangar-sized room to win over, and he did—by talking about why health care reform needed to pass.
Ah, this is the stuff that Clinton really knows but doesn’t say. He just implies it. Massive progressive reform isn’t going to happen anymore.
But, even watered down, Obama’s health care bill was massive progressive reform and, clearly, it happened. Yeah, it competes with the original Social Security for modesty, but damn, it got passed. And while polls say people hate Obama’s bill by name, they also say they love the shit in the bill. Such is our national network news.
Clinton has been in the peanut gallery giving sage advice for years, it’s true. But let’s not kid ourselves: If there weren’t term limits, he’d have been president in 2001, not George Dubya. And while I hate the premise of Weigel’s article (why isn’t Bill Clinton Jesus? – it kinda reminds me of people thinking Obama was Jesus during the campaign), it’s an opinion piece. But even as an opinion piece, it can’t keep the rhetoric straight: Is Bill Clinton looking for big policy reform a la health care (like he lauded, promoted and had himself attempted during his terms) or does he want Democrats to give up on those and focus on “micro-ideas about what could fix the economy?”
I think that, to Clinton, those aren’t mutually exclusive, and to listen to him on the Daily Show this week, he’s clearly about a hair’s breadth from demanding that Democrats get bolder – in their policy, in their politics, in their invective. That they should exploit their political gains. Y’know, kinda the opposite of what they’re doing. The very last thing the Democrats should be doing is what Weigel suggests, to “stop dreaming, get busy tweaking.”
Oh, and by the way, David: “How do you fix things when the natural majority party doesn’t want the government to govern?” I’ll have you know there have always been far more voters registered Democrat than any other party. We are the natural majority party, and we damn well want the government to govern.