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February 10, 2016

Democrats Rally Against Bill Clinton’s Record

Clinton announced his budget in 1998 (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo).

Clinton announced his budget in 1998 (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

What do you call a politician who supports the Defense of Marriage Act and a balanced federal budget? Today, that describes a conservative Republican. Sixteen years ago, that was a two-term Democratic president.

Bill Clinton is a rock star among Democrats. He’s one of the most requested politicians on the campaign trail because his unique appeal allows him to go to regions of the country where President Barack Obama isn’t particularly popular.

But while Democrats are more than happy to have the former president preaching their praises, the party is rallying against two of the highest profile accomplishments of his presidency.

Last week, Democrats basked in the glow of the Supreme Court decision that ruled DOMA unconstitutional. It’s no secret that DOMA was signed into law by President Clinton, who also ran ads opposing gay marriage in selected states in his 1996 re-election.

But while Clinton signed DOMA without fanfare, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 was a different story.

Working with a Republican majority in the House, Clinton signed the the bill in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.

“Like every generation of Americans before us, we have been called upon to renew our Nation and to restore its promise. For too long, huge, persistent, and growing budget deficits threatened to choke the opportunity that should be every American’s birthright. For too long, it seemed as if America would not be ready for the new century, that we would be too divided, too wedded to old arrangements and ideas. It’s hard to believe now, but it wasn’t so very long ago that some people looked at our Nation and saw a setting Sun,” Clinton said in his signing speech.

Today’s Democrats are singing a slightly different tune.

Democrats, including the president, don’t believe the deficit is an immediate problem. And while Republicans are touting and advocating for a “balanced budget,” Democrats want a “balanced approach.” The new Democratic approach includes a mix of spending cuts and tax increases but has no intention of balancing the budget, at this point.

Of course, Democrats will point to a difference in the state of the economy from the mid-1990s to today, but that doesn’t completely explain the marked change in philosophy when it comes to a balanced budget.

While the Democratic party is running from the Clinton legacy, it certainly hasn’t damaged his standing within the party. He is as popular among Democrats as he has ever been. And his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, is poised to be the frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination once again. It probably helps that he has evolved with the party, particularly on DOMA.

  • monacall

    Clinton is another traitor….he caused the 9/11 disaster he caused this country to go against their morality by becoming the president as a draft dodger, burning his draft card protesting Vietnam his a traitor pure and simple….why people don’t get this is beyond me.

    • dennisc200

      I guess that makes President George W. Bush a super traitor for getting the country into the Iraq War under false pretenses. So Bush gets none of the blame for 9/11 that happened on his watch ?

      • Yossi Gestetner

        9/11 took place in Bush’s seventh month. If you give Obama full blame of all trouble we have in this country since his 7th month, we can put some of the 9/11 blame (result of Clinton cutting Intel Budget; erecting a wall between the Agencies), on Bush too

      • monacall

        yep u talk about inheriting blame…Clinton had a bomb go off in the world trade center during his watch, which did he did NOTHING….so yes I blame Clinton for the 9/11 its a carry over, which the obozo clan seem to enjoy reciting…..bushes fault bushes fault hell its still bushes fault….but I love it now, cause the obozcare is OBOZO’S wonder what person you people will blame that on….

        • Rob_Chapman

          The per[etrators of the WTC bombing were captrured prosecuted and punished. That is all that US law permits.

          It is interesting to note that the ringleader of the plot was admitted to the US under a special visa personally approved by US President GHW Bush.

          The Bush family dereliction in matters regarding US middle east policy is long standing and substantial.

  • Ron Barron

    This analysis is way too over simplified, even by your standards. While yes, the party position has superficially changed regarding DOMA, you’re completely ignoring that one whole wing of the DEM coalition had to be sidelined to make it happen. And it cost Clinton no small amount of ill-will with progressives, who added this to a growing list of times Bill shoved them aside in his effort to defang the GOP. Secondly, no DEM that’s even remotely Keynesian would ever call for a balanced budget before we’ve cleared the Great Recession. Youcan try to make it look like hypocrisy all you want, but that only shows how partisan (or how lazy ) your analysis is.

    • Yossi Gestetner

      How much more do we need to spend to “get out” of the Recession? Spending in the four years (2010-2013) is in total $2 TRILLION more than the previous four years.

      PLUS: Is it possible that Bush spending too much gave us the Recession while Clinton who held down spending saw the economy continue to grow?

      • Ron Barron

        It sounds to me like your assuming that money was spent with the purpose of getting us out of the recession…which if course it was not. A huge chunk of the new spending created since the Clinton years was a direct result of Afghanistan and Iraq. Those wars did nothing to boost the economy, except in a handful of private defense sectors. The rest if the spending has been directed appallingly. We needed support to keep state workers from being laid off (and regardless of how you feel about state workers, you have to agree that any laid off worker is bad news for demand) and money for infrastructure spending. Even the president’s much vaunted stimulus package gave paltry sums toward projects that would get construction workers off the dole. Instead they poured money into the financial sector which seem to have – shock of shocks – kept most of it for themselves.

        • Yossi Gestetner

          Sad Reply Sir. Bush on the Domestic front hiked spending like CRAZY vs Clinton – Excluding wars!

          Between HUD, Education, Agriculture, Transportation and Labor, Bush hiked spending TEN times faster than Clinton! See this chart of total spending diff term-over-term on this issues:

          • Ron Barron

            That’s not a terribly convincing chart, especially as it wasn’t sourced…but whatever. The point is that non-defense spending has not been directed toward economic stimulus, so your opening question – “How much more do we need to spend to “get out” of the Recession?” – still is invalid. You can throw vaguely sourced “evidence” that Clinton spent less than Bush and Obama – which of course, he did – but it adds nothing to your initial point.

  • Yossi Gestetner

    1) Bill Clinton thre off nine million people from food stamps; Bush added 14.7M yet Clinton is pro-poor.

    2) Clinton taxed the middle class at a rate of $100 billion more per year, which Bush cut yet Dem call tax cut for the rich. So Clinton balanced budgets on the backs of the poor/middle class.

    3) Clinton hiked spending on health, education, infrastructure way slower than either of the Bush’s yet Dem praise Clinton Surpluses while bashing Bush for not spending enough on the poor.

  • purusha

    This article is hackarrific

  • ID-2

    Funny how quickly parties turn away from their former coalitions. Clinton with his record won Southern whites and suburban votes. Today, the Left is almost entirely dependent on single women, minorities and the young (these groups do overlap to some degree).

  • hammers1964

    This is baloney. The truth is that for the past 30-40 years the Democratic Party has been the party of fiscal responsibility while the GOP is the party of deficits. On DOMA there has been an evolution throughout American society and among Democrats.

  • Rob_Chapman

    Mr. Gonzales has greatly distorted the record here.

    The GOP voted for DOMA almost unanimously with only one vote against and 9 not voting in the House.

    The Dems voted almost two to one in favor of it 118 pro, 64 contra.

    Mr. Gonzales simply does not remember or did not research the public sentiment at the time which was overwhelmingly pro-DOMA as reflected by the House vote.

    It is a shame that such a reutable and generally dependable blog such as Rothenblog should succumb to such lazy and unsubstantiated reporting as Mr. Gonzales presents here.

    • Rob_Chapman

      It mimight also be noted that the House GOP majority at that time cast 110 more votes for DOMA than the Dems.

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