Bill Clinton often said that if voters picked him in 1992, they’d “get two for the price of one,” as Hillary Clinton — who believe it or not at the time was actually quite popular — would take an active role in his administration.
Now, in an apparent effort to address her floundering campaign and terrible favorability numbers, Clinton is borrowing one from of her husband’s playbook and promising voters that Bill will have a prominent and important position in her administration, should she win the election.
Hillary’s touting Bill and promising to put him in charge of the economy is inexplicably out of touch.
“I’m going to put [Bill Clinton] in charge of revitalizing the economy,” Hillary said at a campaign stop in Kentucky on Sunday.
Of course, Americans got a bit more than they bargained for with that two-for-one deal in 1992, as Hillary gave Bill the Whitewater scandal and voters the HillaryCare debacle, an unpopular and hastily devised 1993 plan to impose universal health care on the American people.
But Hillary’s strategic decision to give Bill a front-and-center position in her campaign — and promise of a front-and-center role for him in her administration — is a clear act of political desperation on par with Sen. Ted Cruz’s “Hail Carly,” one that could turn out to be a political blunder the Clinton campaign regrets terribly.
Given Sen. Bernie Sanders’ popularity with white voters and the extent to which Clinton is reliant on ethnic minorities for support, using Bill as a stage prop may not be the best idea given the current political climate. The sympathetic treatment of radical racial politics currently entertained by the Clinton campaign in an effort to appease the likes of Black Lives Matter puts it in direct odds with Bill Clinton’s legacy.
Voters were treated to a glimpse of this when the former president found himself arguing with Black Lives Matters protesters at a rally over his wife’s use of the term “superpredators” in the 1990s. The fact is that criminal justice reform legislation signed by the former president led directly to the high levels of incarceration among black Americans that is a frequent target of protest from “civil rights” groups.
Then of course there’s the difficulty of trying to tar opponent Donald Trump with the “anti-woman” label whilst standing side by side with a man with a history of sexual abuse allegations.
But the shortsightedness of featuring Bill Clinton in an election during a time in which race and gender politics dominate liberal political conversation pales in comparison to the stupidity of featuring Bill Clinton in an election during a time in which the nature of the globalized economy dominates the wider political conversation.
The legions of voters flocking to the anti-globalization messages of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are rejecting a global economy that benefits only a small, international economic elite while middle- and working-class America, unable to compete in that economy, is slowly eroded into extinction. Perhaps no other president symbolizes this global economy more so than Bill Clinton.
It was under Clinton that the U.S. entered the destructive North American Free Trade Agreement, which cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs. It was Clinton who pushed for — and received — permanent normalized trade relations with China, which cost millions of American jobs. Given the increasing skepticism with which the American people view free trade agreements, Hillary’s touting Bill and promising to put him in charge of the economy is inexplicably out of touch.
[lz_bulleted_list title=”Bill Clinton’s Economic Legacy” source=”Wall St. Journal,EPI,Census Bureau”]682,900 jobs lost to NAFTA
|2.4 million jobs lost to Chinese competition between 1999-2011
|$365.7 billion trade deficit with China in 2015|Americans’ median household income decreased by over $4000, 2000-2014[/lz_bulleted_list]
Nevertheless, Hillary has a habit of praising her husband’s economic record while on the campaign trail. “The economy does better when you have a Democrat in the White House,” she claimed during an October debate, a reference to the government surplus her husband left behind upon leaving office.
But despite what Hillary may wish — and may want the American people to think — that legacy belongs not to former President Clinton but to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, whose 1994 “Contract with America” led to a Republican-controlled congress which consistently fought Clinton on the budget and ensured the programs he desired to implement did not leave Americans in debt.
Hillary Clinton has hinted before that Bill might have a prominent position in her administration related to the economy. “He’s got more ideas a minute than anybody I know,” Clinton said in early May. “Gotta put people back to work and make it happen,” she Added.
She failed to mention that it was Bill’s efforts and ideas put millions of Americans out of work to begin with.