Bill Clinton was off his game tonight in one of the longest nomination speeches in the history of humankind.
The former president began his DNC speech mocking the the very idea of self empowerment and individual success. After seeming to imply that he could work better with compromise than the man he was nominating, he launched into his trademark rhetoric:
In Tampa, we heard a lot of talk about how the President and the Democrats don’t believe in free enterprise and individual initiative, how we want everyone to be dependent on the government, how bad we are for the economy.
We Democrats think the country works better with a strong middle class, real opportunities for poor people to work their way into it and a relentless focus on the future, with business and government working together to promote growth and broadly shared prosperity. We think “we’re all in this together” is a better philosophy than “you’re on your own.”
Unfortunately for Clinton, the facts work against him. Under Barack Obama, more people than ever before have been reduced to government dependency. Offering meager entitlements in exchange for a chunk of self sovereignty is not only bad for the economy, it’s antithetical to the spirit with which America was founded.
Clinton tried to claim credit on behalf of the Democrats concerning jobs and touted his own record — that wasn’t possible without a Republican controlled-congress which passed welfare reform and balanced the budget in spite of him, not because of him.
Clinton attacked the tea party:
Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is the enemy, and compromise is weakness.
I don’t get it: either the tea party is dead or it’s all-powerful and controls the GOP. If the Republican party is dominated by the tea party, why is their presidential candidate a moderate?
Clinton remarked that Obama has done wonders for our economy:
I like the argument for President Obama’s re-election a lot better. He inherited a deeply damaged economy, put a floor under the crash, began the long hard road to recovery, and laid the foundation for a modern, more well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, vibrant new businesses, and lots of new wealth for the innovators. Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month. The answer is YES.
We’re better off? Really?
Clinton tried to shift the blame to Bush. Again, the facts do not support Clinton’s assertions:
In the wake of a recession that began roughly seven weeks after President Bush took office, America experienced six years of uninterrupted economic growth and a record 52 straight months of job creation that produced more than 8 million new jobs. During the Bush presidency, the unemployment rate averaged 5.3 percent. We saw labor-productivity gains that averaged 2.5 percent annually — a rate that exceeds the averages of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Real after-tax income per capita increased by more than 11 percent. And from 2000 to 2007, real GDP grew by more than 17 percent, a gain of nearly $2.1 trillion.
As for Obama’s claim that Bush “turned a budget surplus into a deficit”: by January 2001, when Bush was inaugurated, the budget surpluses were already evaporating as the economy was skidding toward recession (it officially began in March 2001). Combined with the devastating economic effects of 9/11, when we lost around 1 million jobs over 90 days, the surplus went into deficit.
Rather than whine incessantly about the situation, President Bush proposed policies that triggered the kind of sustained growth that saw the deficit fall to 1 percent of GDP ($162 billion) by 2007. Indeed, before the financial crisis of 2008 – which I’ll return to in a moment — Bush’s budget deficits were 0.6 percentage points below the historical average. (My former White House colleague Keith Hennessey eviscerates Obama’s assertion that we faced a “decade of spiraling deficits” here).
Now let’s consider Mr. Obama’s record: an unemployment rate of 9.5 percent, with 131,000 jobs lost in July, during our so-called Recovery Summer (Vice President Biden promised us up to 500,000 new jobs a month back in April). The overall unemployment rate, incorporating people who want jobs but did not look during July, is now 16.5 percent.
Clinton claimed Obama saved the auto industry, another lie:
The auto industry restructuring worked. It saved more than a million jobs, not just at GM, Chrysler and their dealerships, but in auto parts manufacturing all over the country
Except a number of Chrysler plants are now in Mexico and over 61% of Chrysler is owned by an Italian company. The auto bailout is widely considered a failure.
GM is once again flirting with bankruptcy despite massive government purchases propping up its sales figures. GM stock is rock-bottom. Losses continue to be revised in the wrong direction. According to the Detroit News, “the Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.”
He also lied about domestic energy:
President Obama’s “all of the above” energy plan is helping too – the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near 20 year low and natural gas production to an all time high. Renewable energy production has also doubled.
The fact? Oil production increased ONLY on private and state-owned land. Federally-controlled land? Stagnant. That oil imports are low is due to these private and state-run producers, in spite of Obama, not because of him, a refrain you will hear repeated with regard to Democrat policies.
Democrats talk of alternative energy but are content to ship those jobs overseas, along with our stimulus money. Instead of enslaving us to Persian Gulf oil, they’ll enslave us to China’s rare earth metals.
On Obamacare, Clinton claimed:
More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents can now carry them on family policies. Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including breast cancer screenings and tests for heart problems.
In his closing remarks, Clinton threw out a few new phrases which have become hallmarks of modern progressive, socialist-Democrats [my emphasis]:
If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities – a “we’re all in it together” society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
If you want a future of shared prosperity …
You can read the full frillion-hour Clinton speech here.