Bubba vs. Bubba
February 17, 2008 Leave a comment
The Clinton campaign continued the tired experience attack today, with the former president taking personal offense that he is not getting his due for his legacy as president:
Former President Clinton on Friday accused Sen. Barack Obama, his wife’s rival for the Democratic nomination, of trying to ignore any accomplishments they achieved during their years in the White House.
“You have one candidate who’s made the explicit argument that the only way we can change America is to move into a post-partisan future and therefore we have to eliminate from consideration for the presidency anybody who made good things happen in the ’90s or stopped bad things from happening in this decade,” said Clinton…
Without mentioning Obama by name, Clinton said the Illinois senator was promoting a position that it’s “actually an advantage to not have any experience because you’ve not made anybody mad.”
But that’s a different tune than he was singing in the first debate of the 1992, when the topic of experience was the first issue they discussed, though nowadays, President Clinton sounds more like his former rival:
President Bush: Well, I think one thing that distinguishes is experience. I think we’ve dramatically changed the world. I’ll talk about that a little bit later, but the changes are mind-boggling for world peace. Kids go to bed at night without the same fear of nuclear war. And change for change’s sake isn’t enough. We saw that message in the late seventies when we heard a lot about change. And what happened? That “misery index” went right through the roof. [...]
Mr. Lehrer: Governor Clinton, how do you respond to the President — you have 2 minutes — on the question of experience? He says that is what distinguishes him from the other two of you.
Governor Clinton: I believe experience counts, but it’s not everything. Values, judgment, and the record that I have amassed in my State also should count for something. I’ve worked hard to create good jobs and to educate people. My State now ranks first in the country in job growth this year, fourth in income growth, fourth in the reduction of poverty, third in overall economic performance, according to a major news magazine. That’s because we believe in investing in education and in jobs.
We have to change in this country. You know, my wife, Hillary, gave me a book about a year ago in which the author defined insanity as just doing the same old thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We have got to have the courage to change.
Experience is important, yes. I’ve gotten a lot of good experience in dealing with ordinary people over the last year and a month. I’ve touched more people’s lives and seen more heartbreak and hope, more pain and more promise than anybody else who’s run for President this year. And I think the American people deserve better than they’re getting. We have gone from first to 13th in the world in wages in the last 12 years since Mr. Bush and Mr. Reagan have been in. Personal income has dropped while people have worked harder in the last 4 years. There have been twice as many bankruptcies as new jobs created.
We need a new approach. The same old experience is not relevant. We’re living in a new world after the cold war. And what works in this new world is not trickle-down, not Government for the benefit of the privileged few, not tax-and-spend but a commitment to invest in American jobs and American education. Controlling American health care costs and bringing the American people together, that is what works. And you can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience. Mine is rooted in the real lives of real people. And it will bring real results if we have the courage to change.
Sound familiar? Here’s what Obama said during his speech Super Tuesday:
But in this election – at this moment – you are standing up all across this country to say, not this time. Not this year. The stakes are too high and the challenges too great to play the same Washington game with the same Washington players and expect a different result. This time must be different.
Now, this isn’t about me and it’s not about Senator Clinton. As I’ve said before, she was a friend before this campaign and she’ll be a friend after it’s over. I respect her as a colleague, and I congratulate her on her victories tonight.
But this fall we owe the American people a real choice. It’s change versus more of the same. It’s the future versus the past.
It’s a choice between going into this election with Republicans and Independents already united against us, or going against their nominee with a campaign that has united Americans of all parties around a common purpose.
It’s a choice between having a debate with the other party about who has the most experience in Washington, or having one about who’s most likely to change Washington. Because that’s a debate we can win.
UPDATE: Via the NYT, a video of Bill Clinton during the 1992 debate: