President Obama is no Bill Clinton

President Obama is no Bill Clinton

Washington : DC : USA | Aug 24, 2012 at 4:27 AM PDT
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Bill Clinton TV Ad

In an ad aired earlier this week, former Democratic President Bill Clinton reminds us how the economy improved under his leadership. He reminds us that he actually worked with a Rebublican Congress to improve the economy. While he says that Obama has a plan to rebuild America from the ground up, President Obama is no Bill Clinton.

The Obama presidency has been a disaster when it comes to the economy. Unemployment has been above 8% for more than 40 months, the debt has sprialled to almost $16 trillion and deficits have been in the area of $1trillion annually. Next year's deficit is forecasted to be another $1.1trillion.

Earlier this year, Bill Clinton publicly upset the Obama team when he stated that raising taxes during a recession is not the answer, and he defended Bain capital and Mitt Romney by stating that the former Massachussets governor met the threshold for president and is well-qualified.

When in doubt and when your candidate seems to be in trouble over the economy, let's reach back 20 years and remind the public of a presidency that worked. The problem is that it isn't Bill Clinton that is running. At the end of the day the public has to chose between four more years of a highly ideological president and a contender with proven executive experience. Unlike 2008, in this year's election, both candidates have a track record.

The dirtiest campaign

The president has been loathe to debate his record and has not laid out a viable plan for the next four years. Instead class warfare has been invoked, using the race card and an artificial war on women, using contraception and abortion as its tools. The rich are pitted against the poor, and an ad by the president's Super PAC even goes as far as insinuating that Mitt Romney was responsible for the death of a woman during his tenure at Bain Capital.

While Obama preaches civility, especially after the Gabby Giffords shooting in Phoenix, he continues to reach back into his Chicago bag of tricks. There certainly hasn't been leadership by example.

According to Democrats and the president, conservatives don't like clean air or fresh water and obviously want to push grandma over the cliff in her wheelchair. In summary, everything is being thrown out there, hoping that some of it will stick. All of it is a diversion from the real pressing issues.

The president's record

Foreign Policy: During the campaign of 2008, then-candidate Obama went on a European tour, attempting to have a Kennedy-type moment at the Brandenburg Gate in Germany. His acceptance speech was with background of old Greece. There was a lot of hoopla with the slogan "Hope and Change."

The president's term started with a speech in Cairo, addressing the Muslim world. His first world interview was granted to Al Arabiya from the White House. When asked about aggressive peace-making, he mentioned the appointment of George Mitchell and said that he wanted "the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there’s no reason we can’t restore that.”

An article in the Israeli Times critiqued that intial comment:

"Did not Obama realize, did not his advisers tell him, that the very day he was addressing the Islamic orbit was the 30th anniversary of the shah’s abdication? The Ayatollah Khomeini wrote the acrid script for American-Islamic relations from 1979 onwards, exacerbating the ongoing conflict in Lebanon (where 17 American diplomats and then 241 US Marines were murdered in two separate incidents, and 56 French soldiers besides), sharpening the hostility of Syria toward the West, eroding the progressive reforms — yes, the shah’s progressive reforms — in Iran itself. And how about Obama’s careless reference to peace two decades back? The Gulf War, for one, which really was the beginning of the conflict against Saddam Hussein that has not yet ended, and, since it was always a sectarian conflict, will not likely end soon. The Afghani fratricide is an antique phenomenon, reinvigorated by Obama himself as the “yes, we can” war, but now being left to fester, ancient hatreds on ancient turf, and spread to the paradigmatic non-nation-state of Pakistan." The Times of Israel

Military action in Libya, which resulted in the toppling of the Gaddafi regime, also killed thousands of civilians by both sides. Obama delegated the conduct of the war to then President Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Although the United States provided most resources, the lead was delegated.

The Arab Spring, which was to spread democracy all over the Middle East, has in all likelihood done exactly the opposite. The final chapter in Egypt is still to be written, but it doesn't look good. Iraq is thumbing its nose at the United States, and basically Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Israel has threatened to go it alone, if the U.S.doesn't publicly confirm to have its back. The war in Syria is spreading into bordering countries, while the U.N. is still debating on how to handle Syria. Obama missed his best chance, when he remained silent on the Iran protests against the regime, even though the protesters begged him to speak up.

Afghanistan is a quagmire, even though there was the big announcment that the war as we know it is over. Really? Thirty-nine NATO/U.S. troops have been killed so far this year by what is known as green-on-blue fire. Canadian Capt. Robert Semrau, who was charged with "mercy killing" a Taliban insurgent, but convicted of a lesser charge, "Disgraceful Conduct," has broken his silence in a book "The Taliban Don't Wave." Semrau speaks of the difficulty of training Afghan Forces.

"Semrau's chronicle stands in sharp contrast to the picture both the Harper government and the army tried to paint of their Afghan allies throughout that time.

Instead of fearless, wily warriors, Semrau found himself saddled with ill-disciplined troops.

With a nearby unit pinned down in crushing ambush in the hours before the fateful shooting, Semrau argued with the Afghan officer whom he was mentoring." CBC

The U.S. will be involved in Afghanistan for some time to come. Nobody wants to face the fact that the war has been a disaster. It will cost billions more, and the end result will be no different than it is today.

In Russia, the reset button was touted as a major success by the Obama Administration. They failed to recognize the Putin factor. Russia is the biggest obstacle for a resolution of the Syrian conflict. Chemical weapons are a major concern, yet Russia has warned the U.S. to refrain from any direct involvement.

Domestic policy

Without going through the complete first term of the president, one can point at Operation Fast and Furious, an ill-thought out executive version of the Dream Act and the handling of the XL Keystone Pipeline and energy policy and the promise to close Gitmo within one year of his first term. Obamacare stands on its own merits and could be discussed in detail as a subject on its own.

The record is there

Unlike 2008, the president does have a record and he really doesn't want to run on it. Unlike President Clinton, President Obama has refused to work with Congress. Let's be clear that he had full control of both Houses of Congress for the first half of his term. If the Bush tax cuts were so relevant, not just a nice election gimmick, he could have stopped them then, but he didn't. President Obama is no Bill Clinton.

If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.

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Bill Clinton Reminds us that it's still the economy, but Obama is no Clinton
Karl Gotthardt is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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