Cutting it on the “Clinton #1 was Bad” Claim

What is it with so many progressives, who keep talking about the last Clinton Administration as if it turned the country into a hellscape? I mean, when you suggest that Bill will be living in the White House with President Hillary Clinton to unicorn progressives, you’d swear you just shot their dog. They talk about what a “disaster” the first President Clinton was.

What the hell planet were you living on in the 1990s?

Yes, Bill Clinton did a few stupid things during his eight years. Welfare reform was chief among them, as was his signing of the Communications Act revisions, which led to the consolidation of some of the media. Of course, his nurturing of Internet growth also expanded the availability of media to everyone, so…

The Crime Bill turned out to be bad, but not because he signed it. It became bad over time because Bush and the Republicans followed up by expanding on the idea. Also Republican lawmakers passed some disreputable shit, like California’s “Three Strikes” law and a spate of mandatory minimum sentence laws that had little or nothing to do with justice. In 1993, we lived in a different era. Minorities were forced into the most neglected high crime neighborhoods. Note the word “neglected.” Clinton’s proposal was because too many cities were using a lack of police personnel as a reason to neglect those living in poor areas of cities. Was “100,000 additional police” an overreaction and probably overkill? Yeah, looking at it from 2016. But if you lived in a large inner city pre-gentrification in 1993, you ikely would have had a different view.  If you lived in the nice “white” part of town and called the cops because someone stole your lawn mower from your yard, they’d likely show up in five minutes. If you called the from the “black” part of town to report a shooting, you’d wait an hour. He was trying to fix that.

And if you think “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a shitty compromise, you need to remember; the LGBT acceptance and tolerance you see these days was a distant dream. At the time, even many “liberals” were making fun of “fags.”

And, as I pointed out in a previous column, you can’t blame the “repeal of Glass-Steagall” on Bill Clinton at all. First of all, if you blame the Bush near-depression on the loss of Glass-Steagall, you literally don’t know what you’re talking about. I mean, there’s a reason it was called a “mortgage meltdown.” Second of all, the bill that repealed Glass-Steagall was called Gramm-Leach-Bliley, and all three of those names were Republicans. Also, it passed the Senate with 90 votes, so a veto would have been worthless. It took 5-6 years for the bubble to burst, which means a President Gore and a Democratic Congress would have had time to reverse its effects. But alas… you idiots thought you had to trash Gore in order to support Nader, so, um…

Frankly, the 1990s were not at all a hellscape. The Clinton Adminisration not only featured unemployment rates well below what was thought to be “full employment” at the time. Not only that, but the economy featured heavy growth and only one relatively small bubble. Taxes went up a little, but only on the rich and incomes rose for everyone for the first time since the 1960s. Best yet, the middle class grew by leaps and bounds, especially the Black middle class. The economic prosperity under the first Clinton Administration literally floated all boats, as the saying goes. His “enterprise zones” fueled growth in inner cities that had been ignored under the last few Republican administrations, and neighborhoods that had previously been abandoned started to flourish. The Black middle class grew by leaps and bounds, minority home ownership grew tremendously, and minority entrepreneurship also thrived in the 1990s. Also, manufacturing grew in the 1990s, for the first time since the 1960s, and union membership, while it didn’t grow, stopped its free fall.

And let’s be clear about something. Bill Clinton did not negotiate NAFTA, George H. W. Bush did. It was already signed by the time Clinton was inaugurated. He did champion it, but you can’t “blame” it on him. Of course, the claim that it cost us millions of jobs is also a flat-out lie. According to the most comprehensive study of  NAFTA, it may have cost 700,000 jobs over TWENTY YEARS. Meanwhile, in the six years following its ratification, the economy added nearly 24 million jobs. I’m not saying they were all NAFTA related, but it certainly puts the lie to the statement that NAFTA cost us a shitload of jobs. There is literally zero evidence of that. The “jobs shipped overseas” phenomenon pre-dates NAFTA and peaked during the Reagan and first Bush Administrations. Like I said, the economy created the most manufacturing jobs since the 1960s…

In other words, if you call yourself “progressive” and you’re trying to claim the first Clinton Administration was a disaster because you think it makes you look cool, then you must think lying makes you look cool. Having Bill Clinton helping out with the economy is not a bad thing at all. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have overseen the longest peacetime economic expansions in history. Having both helping out Hillary is in no way a bad thing.

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