Saturday 10 December 2016

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Obama 'dirty tricks' hurt Cain's chances

Democrats playing hard ball make Bill Clinton look clean, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

Published 13/11/2011 | 05:00

In November 2008 President-Elect Barack Obama did a deal with the Clintons: Hillary could be his Secretary of State, if Bill agreed to severe restrictions on what he said and did in public. Since then, a brilliant, self-indulgent man who adores the limelight has been exercising heroic self-sacrifice by staying out of controversy, not least considering he thinks Obama is a poor president, that Hillary would have been much better and that he, Bill, was the best ever.

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Now touring the country with his book, Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government For A Strong Economy, Clinton is superficially attacking Tea Partiers and other proponents of small government, but the sub-text is undoubtedly critical of Obama for failing to sell Democratic policies to the American people and for proving useless at doing deals with political enemies. Clinton's not thinking small: "If we want a future of shared prosperity, where the United States remains the leading force for peace and prosperity in a highly competitive world, we need to get moving." Sure, the country's in a mess, but while "downsizing budgets may be necessary... downsizing dreams is a decision to be disappointed".

Clinton's not alone in looking back nostalgically at his many positive contributions to making the US prosperous during his term of office. It's no surprise he won't admit there were dire economic consequences from his inability to contain the explosion in sub-prime mortgages and in his ending of the separation of commercial and investment banks. And many of his nostrums about job creation and energy independence are glib and ill-thought-out. Still, all the old charm is being deployed to persuade the American people that he understands their plight and is on their side. For a naturally optimistic people who voted in Obama because of the persuasive message Sarah Palin mocked as 'hopey-changey', but who are now disillusioned, this is attractive rhetoric that might boost the Democrats.

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