9/11: A Clinton Legacy

Former President Bill Clinton is campaigning on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, hitting the stump for President Barack Obama’s re-election effort in swing states, despite the fact that both campaigns are supposedly taking the day off. That is typical Obama--take the high ground while others do the dirty work. Meanwhile, the New York Times renews its attack on Obama’s predecessor for “negligence” in ignoring warnings about the attacks.

It seems only fair, then, to remind the American public that not only does Obama skip most of his daily intelligence briefings, but also that the Clinton administration bears some of the blame for allowing 9/11 to happen. The 9/11 commission identified several Clinton failures, including four missed chances to kill Osama bin Laden, and a failure to adopt “a more aggressive counterterrorism posture” after Al Qaeda’s initial attacks.

The Clinton administration sent a signal to Al Qaeda that terrorism would succeed in pushing the United States out of the Middle East when, in response to the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the U.S. pulled back its diplomatic presence in the region. Clinton answered with an ineffectual cruise missile attack on Afghanistan and Sudan; Al Qaeda followed up with its deadly attack on the U.S.S. Cole in October 2000.

That is not the only failure of the Clinton administration that the media has chosen to forget. Clinton is campaigning against his own record of economic liberalization, telling delegates at the Democratic National Convention that Mitt Romney would “get rid of those pesky financial regulations” and recording an ad in which he attacks Republicans for wanting to “go back to deregulation. That’s what got us in trouble in the first place.”

So, effectively, Clinton is blaming himself for our economic “trouble.” And so he ought to--because he also re-authorized the Community Reinvestment Act, a law that pushed banks to offer housing loans to people who could not afford them, leading directly to the subprime mortgage crisis that nearly imploded the global financial system in 2008, and which helped kick off the recession that Obama’s statist policies has failed to undo.

President Obama complains a great deal about the “mess” he inherited from Bush, but Clinton also bequeathed his successor an economic muddle, and you didn’t hear Bush complaining much. In fact, Clinton’s last year in office was marked by the bursting of the dot-com bubble--an event from which the high-tech industry has never fully recovered, but which has been airbrushed out of the media’s rosy recollections of the Clinton era.

The reason Clinton presided over a long period of job creation, economic growth and budget surpluses was because he embraced the same free-market, small-government policies that Romney is running on today--and stood up to the labor unions and the far-left of the Democratic Party, where a young Obama chose to plant his flag. Just weeks ago, he was opposing Obama’s taxes and praising Romney’s “sterling” business career.

Suddenly, with his wife’s 2016 ambitions in mind, Clinton has changed his tune. In 2000, when Hillary first ran for office, Clinton was persona non grata to Al Gore’s presidential campaign. The stain of the Lewinsky scandal, and the subsequent impeachment, were simply too much for voters to bear. Over a decade later, Clinton is hailed as a savior by his party and the media. But we are still living with his legacy--and not the better parts.


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