Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Back to the Future (update)

President-elect B. Hussein Obama has announced additional cabinet choices, and most of 'em are folks who served in the Clinton Administration: Eric Holder, Larry Summers, Bill Richardson, et al. In a letter to the Nashville City Paper, C.W. Clouse says this is a good thing:

"The Clinton Administration was the last successful administration in Washington so why not take advantage of his people's expertise in ... domestic policy and try to use them to revitalize the economy as Clinton did."

By choosing former Clinton officials almost exclusively to staff his White House, Obama is no doubt hopeful that a little of that '90s- economic lightning will soon strike twice. What he - and Obama sycophants like C.W. Clouse - needs to remember is we ain't living in 1994-99 anymore. Three things happened during those years that ain't likely to happen again. To wit:

● In 1995, something called the Internet entered the American consciousness on a grand scale, and it revolutionized the way folks communicate, shop, organize and promote businesses, politic, and on and on and on. The Internet boosted economic growth on a grand scale, and it it boosted -- over-boosted -- the stock market. 'Tis unlikely that anything as earth-shaking as the Internet will come down the pike during the next four years. (Obama can charge Al Gore to create Internet 2.0, but it ain't gonna happen.)

● During Bill Clinton's first two years in office, GDP growth was stagnant; the federal government was forecasting budget deficits as far as the eye could see; and he was lurching from one political crisis to another -- most of which were the direct result of his relying too heavily on his most liberal supporters, e.g., gays in the military, socialist health-care, abandoning tax cuts, etc. When Republicans gained control of Congress in 1994, it convinced Bill Clinton to pursue middle-of-the-road policies. No, wait ... it convinced him to hire Bill Morris, who in turn forced Bill Clinton to pursue middle-of-the-road policies. If not for a Republican Congress, Bill Clinton would've never signed off on cap-gains tax reductions; he would've never openly supported a line-item veto and spending cuts to achieve a balanced budget; and he would've NEVER agreed to support welfare reform. Even if Obama governs as the extreme leftist he claimed to be during the 2008 Democratic primary, it's highly unlikely that the GOP will take control of either house of Congress in 2010. Thus, there will not be an ideological stopper, if you will, to force Obama into the political center ... where he needs to be if he wants to (a) ensure economic growth, and (b) be more than a one-term president.

● We've all heard about Bill Clinton's balanced budgets, right? What few know - or, what few care to acknowledge - is that the primary reason Clinton was able to achieve a balanced budget is because he cut the military's budget by some 33 percent. If Obama were to try to reduce America's military capability by 1/3 - what with 150,000+ troops currently engaged in combat in two theatres - he would no doubt find a great many left-wing sorts in Congress to support him, but he'd also quickly learn that Americans, as a whole, do not cotton to under-funding troops in the field. And - and this is a big and - he might just provoke his officers and enlisted men and women into an open rebellion. (Lest you think I'm being hyperbolic with my "rebellion" suggestion, just take out a history book and look what was transpiring in France in May 1958.)

For all of Obama's talk of "change," tain't a damn thing he's really changing. His economic policies are straight-up Keynesian with a hint of Clement Atlee à la 1946; his cabinet is shaping up to be Bill Clinton Cabinet Number Three (see above); when he announced that his kids would be attending an exclusive private school, he gave a big non-endorsment to D.C. Schools Superintendant Michelle Rhee's union-defying reforms that're currently winning plaudits from serious education reformers (Rhee's a Democrat, by the way); and his one lone Republican cabinet appointee - holdover Sec. of Defence Robert Gates - was chosen because he's never officially registered as a Republican.

Obama and his the-'90s-were-über-idyllic supporters need to come down to earth and get one thing through their pea-brains: We ain't in 1997 anymore!

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