Friday, January 01, 2016

Lib-Dems don’t appeal to nostalgia and they usually chalk it up to racism when Republicans do; now that Team Clinton realizes that Bill is a lot more popular than Hillary is, nostalgia’s okay

Hillary Clinton says that her “not-so-secret weapon” is her husband Bill
reports Benny Huang,
and has asked the former president to campaign for her in New Hampshire after the New Year.

Bringing in Bill to rescue a flailing Hillary actually sounds like a pretty decent strategy. It appears that she’s trying to cash in on the curious but nonetheless real phenomenon of Clinton nostalgia—Bill Clinton nostalgia, that is. People genuinely like the former president even if they can’t name a single thing he accomplished while in office.

Even so, Bill’s rescue operation reflects poorly on Hillary. It’s as if she’s saying “Yes, I know I’m a dud as a candidate—but my husband’s pretty cool, isn’t he?” Oh, yeah. He practically invented cool. William Jefferson Clinton may not be a particularly good leader but he’s certainly a masterful politician. He’s got that cool vibe that Hillary doesn’t. The Clintons have long recognized this problem and have even reached out to their friend Steven Spielberg for help, asking him to refer Hillary to an acting coach so she could learn what Bill instinctively knows. Hillary grew weary of the lessons quickly.

Lib-Dems don’t appeal to nostalgia and they usually chalk it up to racism when Republicans do; now that Hillary Clinton realizes that Bill is a lot more popular than she is, nostalgia’s okay

While Hillary’s invocation of Clinton Nostalgia is understandable it is also out of character for a progressive Democrat. Lib-Dems don’t often appeal to nostalgia and they usually chalk it up to racism when Republicans do. The good old days never were, they say. Or at least they used to say that until Hillary Clinton realized that her husband is a lot more popular than she is. Now nostalgia’s okay.

It is worth noting however that Team Clinton relied on almost exactly the opposite strategy for winning hearts and minds the last time they occupied the White House. When Bill accepted his party’s nomination at the 1996 Democratic National Convention he spoke boldly of the future, leaning heavily on his campaign’s official slogan “Building a Bridge to the 21st Century.” In that speech, he used the word “future” ten times, the words “21st Century” twenty-two times, and the word “children” a whopping thirty-six times! As any do-gooder will tell you, the children are the future—making the two words practically interchangeable. The speech was classic dumb-downed politics, the use of repetition and glittering generalities to hammer home one simple, emotionally-charged message: Democrats are the future, Republicans are the past.

Speaking as one of those children Bill Clinton mentioned thirty-six times—I was fifteen years old at the time of the convention—I will say that we’ve arrived at the future he spoke of…and it sucks. It’s no wonder Hillary is placing her bets on nostalgia.

Remember back before everything sucked? Yeah, my husband was president then.

So just what went wrong in the meantime? A lot of things, I suppose, though if I had to choose just two I would name 9/11 and the 2008 fiscal crisis as the most substantial. Bill Clinton bears a large portion of the responsibility for both of those events which makes me wonder why so many people seem to eagerly await his comeback tour. He’s not solely responsible for either event, of course, but he does deserve the lion’s share of blame.

 … As economist Stan Liebowitz wrote: “From the current handwringing, you’d think that the banks came up with the idea of looser underwriting standards on their own, with regulators just asleep on the job. In fact, it was the regulators who relaxed these standards–at the behest of community groups and ‘progressive’ political forces.”

Things got worse when wealthier borrowers began to demand the same terms for their loans as poor people got. It was rather difficult to tell a person with good credit that he couldn’t have the same terms as someone with bad credit. Fueled by easy money from the banks, often loaned at favorable interest rates and sometimes with no down payment necessary, builders got to work adorning the American landscape with new homes.
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