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Would Bill Clinton be an outcast in today’s Democratic Party?

Appearing on CNN on Sunday, former Democratic National Committee member Robert Zimmerman repeated one of his party’s standard talking points:

But the bigger issue is the fact that [Herman Cain is] able to get away with this just demonstrate how extreme the Republican Party has become today. The concept of Reagan mainstream conservatism is really an issue for the Smithsonian, because ultimately Reagan would be an outcast in today’s Republican Party because he raised taxes, he raised the debt ceiling and he negotiated with our adversaries.

Zimmerman here offers a talking point understanding of the GOP today presents a rather narrow view of Ronald Reagan’s overall vision and record  – as if hiking taxes and raising the debt ceiling* were issues which defined the Gipper.  Ronald Reagan always favored smaller government, reduced the federal tax rates in his first year in office, then, working with congressional Democrats and Republicans, simplified the tax code in 1986.

Income tax rates for all Americans were lower on January 20, 1989 (the day the Gipper left office) than they were on January 20, 1981 (the day he took office).

With Reagan’s reputation rising, liberals are attempting to recreate the Republican in their own image.  Mr. Zimmerman is just the latest Democrat striving to distinguish the current crop of Republican candidates from the successful conservative president.**

Now, given that the last Democrat to occupy the White House before Obama enjoys stellar ratings, with two-thirds of Americans having a favorable view of the former Arkansan, his favorability on the upswing even among Republicans, maybe we should be asking how the Democrats today compare with Bill Clinton.

Would, say, the president and his fellow partisans support taking spending back to the level of the Clinton years?

*Recall that with the deficit considerably smaller that it is today, Reagan did not seek to raise multiple times, 18 times during his eight years in office, thus never as dramatically as Obama sought to do it this summer.  And he raised the debt limit reluctantly because he had to, not because he wanted to.

**This talking point notwithstanding, the two current frontrunners have a lot in common with the Gipper.  Like our nation’s fortieth president Herman Cain has a dewy-eyed patriotism, a positive vision for the country with a “cheerfulness” that, in the words of the National Review’s Seth Leibson “is practically infectious.”  He can well articulate the merits of small government policies.

Mitt Romney, the former governor of a coastal state like the Gipper, moved from holding a pro-choice position as governor to a pro-life position when he launched a bid for the White House.  His economic plan, like that of Ronald Reagan, would reduce regulation, limiting the federal government’s meddling in private enterprise.

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18 Comments

  1. The stupidity of this “Reagan would be an outcast” talking point is that it is presumes nothing in the world has changed in 30 years. The world was a very different place in 1981, economically, socially, and politically; it’s absurd to think that Reagan would advocate the exact same set of solutions to today’s problems as yesterdays.

    We have also learned a lot from Reagan’s mistakes. We have learned that when the Government promises border control in return for Amnesty, the Amnesty happens and the border control doesn’t. We have learned that when Democrats promise spending cuts in return for tax increases, the tax increases happen and the spending cuts don’t.

    What the left wants is a right that is gullible enough to repeat Reagan’s mistakes. And it’s notable that every mistake Reagan made in office resulted from a compromise of conservative principles.

    Comment by V the K — October 19, 2011 @ 12:49 pm - October 19, 2011

  2. The liberal wings of the Republican and Democrat Party, in control since the Eisenhower nomination, lost all credibility when US public debt was downgraded. Unfit to govern.

    Comment by rjligier — October 19, 2011 @ 12:50 pm - October 19, 2011

  3. Likewise, all of Clinton’s successes resulted from his compromise of liberal principles.

    Comment by V the K — October 19, 2011 @ 12:50 pm - October 19, 2011

  4. Likewise, all of Clinton’s successes resulted from his compromise of liberal principles.

    AND … not all of his compromises of liberal principles were successes. *cough*DADT*cough*

    Comment by Cinesnatch — October 19, 2011 @ 12:55 pm - October 19, 2011

  5. Would, say, the president and his fellow partisans support taking spending back to the level of the Clinton years?

    Just imagine! The economy could grow again, like it was the… 1990s or something!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 19, 2011 @ 12:58 pm - October 19, 2011

  6. And the Barack Obama Party slid over today into full-tilt imbecile mode.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday indicated Congress needs to worry about government jobs more than private-sector jobs, and that this is why Senate Democrats are pushing a bill aimed at shoring up teachers and first-responders.

    “It’s very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it’s the public-sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

    And then we have Joe Biden insisting that failing to pass “stimulus” means an increase in rapes and robbery.

    But given that Biden’s own Obama Party endorses rape as punishment for those who disagree with it, covers up rape by its OWS members, and supports and endorses vandalism, criminal behavior, and theft by its unions and ACORN owners, that’s just nothing more than the most blatant hypocrisy.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — October 19, 2011 @ 1:25 pm - October 19, 2011

  7. Meanwhile, back in the real world, the federal government is such a fat and bloated parasite that Washington, DC has now edged out Silicon Valley as the nation’s highest-earning area:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-19/beltway-earnings-make-u-s-capital-richer-than-silicon-valley.html

    Also on unemployment: Washington area is 6%, San Jose area is 10%.

    That’s Obammunism for ya. Redistribute the wealth, from producers to bureaucrats.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 19, 2011 @ 2:34 pm - October 19, 2011

  8. (continued) And lawyers. 1 in 12 Washington residents are lawyers… compared to 1 in 243 for all of CA.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 19, 2011 @ 2:35 pm - October 19, 2011

  9. Obama lauds himself for flawless performance.

    I believe all the choices we’ve made have been the right ones.

    cough… Solyndra… cough

    Comment by V the K — October 19, 2011 @ 2:54 pm - October 19, 2011

  10. or F&F

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 19, 2011 @ 3:01 pm - October 19, 2011

  11. Bill Clinton? The proven liar, womanizer and accused rapist? An outcast in todays democrat party?

    Bwaahahahahaha, Hohohehehe, Bwahahahahaha……………

    Comment by Richard Bell — October 19, 2011 @ 6:52 pm - October 19, 2011

  12. Bill Clinton ran as a centrist New Democrat, but lead as a Leftist until the 1994 midterms which wiped out the Democrats because of unwanted tax increases & their attempt at HillaryCare. Afterwards, Clinton lead from the center.

    Therefore, yes, Clinton would be an outcast since the fossilized Communists have taken control of the Democrat Party.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — October 19, 2011 @ 7:00 pm - October 19, 2011

  13. Come to think of it… isn’t it nifty, how the hardcore Communist activists and the lamestream media have together whipped up OWS… just in time to take the attention off Solyndra? and Fast & Furious?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 19, 2011 @ 9:20 pm - October 19, 2011

  14. Hi Dan,

    Would, say, the president and his fellow partisans support taking spending back to the level of the Clinton years?

    Do you mean in terms of a) nominal 2011 dollars; or, b) real 1994(?) dollars; or, c) or as a % of GDP; or, d) some other measure you have in mind?

    Comment by Cas — October 20, 2011 @ 11:42 am - October 20, 2011

  15. Bill Clinton? The proven liar, womanizer and accused rapist? An outcast in todays democrat party?

    I’m reminded of his “This guy would be getting us coffee.” comment which tells me he’d be perfectly fine as a democreep today.

    Comment by TGC — October 20, 2011 @ 3:50 pm - October 20, 2011

  16. #13: “Come to think of it… isn’t it nifty, how the hardcore Communist activists and the lamestream media have together whipped up OWS… just in time to take the attention off Solyndra? and Fast & Furious?”

    There will be many more opportunities to address Obama funneling billions to his green energy cronies in the coming months:

    http://hotair.com/archives/2011/10/19/oops-energy-department-contractors-caught-altering-old-press-releases-involving-another-troubled-green-energy-project/

    Comment by Sean A — October 20, 2011 @ 4:09 pm - October 20, 2011

  17. Every time the Democrats try to capitalize on Reagan’s legacy (either to make the absurd argument that Obama is like Reagan or that Reagan was a centrist compared to today’s ‘extremist’ Republicans), all they do is remind Americans what an accomplished statesman he was, AND what a blithering incompetent Obama is in comparison. During Reagan’s presidency, Republicans controlled the Senate for the first six years until it shifted back to the Democrats for the last two, and the Democrats controlled the House for all eight years. Nevertheless, Reagan managed to implement policies and pursue an agenda that led to the longest sustained period of economic growth in US history.

    In contrast, Obama landed in the White House with a HUGE majority in the House and a super-majority in the Senate. But even with that kind of power at his disposal, Obama STILL couldn’t get a bill through Congress without the process exploding into a giant sh*t storm that usually lasted for weeks. Virtually every piece of legislation was handled so poorly and incompetently by the Democrats (with ZERO transparency and no opportunity for meaningful debate before final, down-to-the-wire votes) DC had to be transformed into a circus freak show just to get a bill through a Congress that was LOUSY with Obamabots desperate to please him. How incompetent do you have to be to create such chaos just to get a bill through a Congress you control? It was unbelievable.

    Of course after that, the Democrats lost their majority in the House, and since then, all we have heard is that Congress is hopelessly ‘broken’ and nothing else can be accomplished. Listening to Obama, if you didn’t know any better, you might think that the framers of the Constitution had NEVER considered the possibility that the Democrats would not have huge majorities in BOTH houses at all times. The Democrats’ self-righteous accusations that Republicans are deliberately ‘obstructing’ their reckless and irresponsible proposals just to hurt Obama politically are despicable. The ‘gridlock’ in Congress is EXCLUSIVELY the fault of the Democrats’ intransigent refusal to address the financial time bombs of social security and medicare or to cut a single red penny of federal spending. It’s fu*king outrageous.

    Comment by Sean A — October 20, 2011 @ 4:19 pm - October 20, 2011

  18. Amen! to everything everyone here just said.

    Comment by Seane-Anna — October 23, 2011 @ 11:46 am - October 23, 2011

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