Posts Tagged ‘Clinton’

W

27th April
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

Earlier this week, America watched the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.  Present at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, were the four living former presidents, as well as the current president.  It was the second time all five men have been together.  It was first time the differences between them were so obvious.

Bush 43 spoke with warmth, humor, and class – three words that describe him perfectly.  At the end of his speech, he was so moved by his love for this nation that he could barely get out his last two words, “God bless.”  He spoke them with tears in his eyes, and obvious love in his heart.

Bush 41 spoke from his wheelchair, his health not being what it once was.  After receiving a standing ovation, he stood for a few moments with the help of his son and wife – a huge smile of gratitude on his face.

Honorary member of the Bush family, Bill Clinton, expressed his genuine affection for 41, 43, and Barbara Bush.  He also joked about 43 painting him in the nude (I guess he still can’t keep his pants on – sorry, I couldn’t help it), and in a moment that seemed off-script, exclaimed “I LIKE President Bush!”  It’s no secret that Clinton’s two favorite ex-presidents aren’t the ones from his political party.

Carter spoke briefly, in his uniquely uncomfortable way, starting by mentioning the disputed 2000 election that propelled Bush into office.  He spent the rest of his speech praising Bush’s humanitarian work.

Obama, as usual, spent a large portion of his speech talking about himself.  On a day meant to honor the man he’s spent years blaming for his own failures, Obama focused on his membership in the “Presidents’ Club,” and how hard his job is.  Ironically, though, he spoke one of the most apt lines of the day when he said, “He takes his job seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously.”  Too bad Obama doesn’t realize that the opposite is true in his case.  It was an amazing contrast.  Three friends filled with love for their country, flanked by an awkward old man in sunglasses and a selfish narcissist.

Overall, it was a great day for a great man.  I’m grateful to President George W. Bush for his service to this nation and I look forward to visiting his library in the near future.

1st January
2012
written by Sean Noble

2012 starts with a bang if you are into politics.  There is mounting anticipation for the Iowa Caucuses and who will be winners and who will be losers.

Amidst all the machinations, there are a couple things that stand out to me.

The collapse of Gingrich in Iowa demonstrates once again that negative campaigning can work.  Newt’s problem has been he has given his opponents way too much material to attack him.  I still think his ad about global warming with Nancy Pelosi from a few years ago is the most damning hit on him.

Santorum’s surge demonstrates the power of the social conservative vote in Iowa.  The active evangelical base in Iowa still can’t stomach voting for Romney and they are starting to coalesce around Santorum as Bachmann and Perry just haven’t proven they can get the job done.

The one mistake that Santorum has made is setting an expectation that he will win Iowa.  He could come in 2nd or even 3rd and get enough of a bounce that if Gingrich continued to falter, he could take advantage of the void.  At this point, because of the expectation of a Santorum win, if he doesn’t, he’s probably done.

While Romney has stayed steady, and the Gingrich threat is dissipating, I think Ron Paul still has a chance to win Iowa.  He has the best ground game there, and he is more likely to attract a broader base of non-Republicans who can show up on Caucus night, register as Republicans, and vote for Paul.

I still think it’s possible that we could have three different winners in the first three contests: Paul or Santorum in Iowa, Romney in New Hampshire and Gingrich in South Carolina (where he still leads in polls, for now).

If Gingrich does win South Carolina, that means we are in for a long, hard slog, not unlike what the Obama-Clinton primary looked like in 2008 when it was June before it was decided.

One thing is certain: 2012 is going to be one of the most interesting political years in modern history.

Buckle up and hang on – it’s going to be a wild ride!

13th April
2009
written by Sean Noble

Obama and the Navy are being praised for their actions to free American ship captain Richard Phillips.  Count me as one who joins the praise of Obama and the Navy and, most specifically, the Navy Seals who conducted the operation that freed Phillips.

I initially worried that Obama would mishandle this crisis the way Clinton did with the last run-in we had with Somali extremists when the lack of air support led to the deaths of 18 soldiers.  Those events became a book and a movie called “Black Hawk Down” and demonstrated the heroism of our Army Rangers and the ineptitude of the Clinton Administration when it came to an international crisis.

Obama made the right call – which was to essentially defer to the experts in the military – and passed his first major international crisis test.  I hope he keeps up this record.  Lives depend on it.

18th March
2009
written by Sean Noble

Politico.com has a story that is just downright depressing.  Our nation’s debt is about to hit $11 TRILLION.  That is a staggering sum.  It was half that size in 1996.  In 13 years we have added as much debt as it took us to accumulate in the more than 200 years prior.

Back when I was a budget associate in the U.S. House, I always went straight to the appendix of the President’s budget to look at a couple figures: Government spending as a percentage of GDP and deficit as a percentage of GDP.  Obviously, if the economy continues to grow, we can absorb some increases in government spending and debt.

For example, in FY 1983 federal spending was 23.5% of GDP.  That reflected both weak economic growth and increased defense spending by Reagan. The deficit was 6% of GDP (a post-WWII high).  By FY 1988 the percentage of federal spending was 21.3% and the deficit was 3.1%.

In Clinton’s first budget, FY 1994, the percentage of federal spending was 21% and the deficit was 2.9%.  The budget following the Republican take-over of Congress dropped to 20.3% and the deficit was 1.4%.

Bush’s budgets tended to be on par with Clinton’s budgets (as a percentage, remember) with the FY 2007 budget at 20% of GDP and the deficit at 1.2%

How does Obama’s first budget stack up?   Federal spending as a percentage of GDP will be a whopping 27.2%.  And the deficit as a percentage of GDP?  Buckle up… 8.3%, which shatters the previous high of 6% in 1983.  To make matters worse, that 8.3% is BEFORE taking into account the stimulus package passed earlier in the year.

This is ugly.

1st March
2009
written by Sean Noble

The Global Warming Alarmists will need to bundle up tomorrow when they are out in force in Washington, D.C. to try to get Congress to act “immediately” on climate change legislation.

Up to 7 inches of snow was expected through Monday morning in areas of Maryland, northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., where Mayor Adrian Fenty declared a snow emergency.

 

The GWA’s are being encouraged by James Hansen, NASA political activist scientist who believes the world is about to end.

 

The best line in the article is this one by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA):

“The bottom line is if Hansen wants to protest global warming, he should go to the National Cathedral and take it up with God rather than going to Capitol Hill.”

Rohrabacher has always been a straight shooter, and blunt with his words.  My favorite political quote of all time came in 1992 after Bill Clinton admitted to smoking weed, but not inhaling.  Congressman Rohrabacher (a live-long surfer) was asked if he had ever inhaled.  His response? 

“Inhale? Hell, I did everything but drink the bong water.” 

Classic.

 

What’s your favorite political quote?

23rd February
2009
written by Sean Noble

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is returning from a four-nation tour of Asia, her last stop being China where she “plead” for the Chinese to continue to buy up U.S. debt. This reminded me of a great line from the Presidential primary season when a Democrat Congress and President Bush enacted a rebate program to taxpayers in an attempt to boost the economy.  Mike Huckabee said, “We’re going to borrow money from China to give to taxpayers to ask them to buy something from China.”  Classic.

An interesting twist on the trip was that Clinton avoided dealing with human rights concerns saying that they shouldn’t “distract” from economic and environmental concerns.  This is a lesson in the difference between campaigning and governing, and she is already upsetting portions of her core constituency, like Amnesty International. 

This is an interesting article tracking what Clinton has said in the past about China’s human rights record.

Welcome to the real world.

23rd January
2009
written by Sean Noble

 In a very interesting, and unexpected, twist on Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, New York Gov. Dave Paterson is going to appoint Kirsten Gillibrand, a second term Congresswoman from upstate New York.

This is a very smart move on Paterson’s part.  Gillibrand is from one of the most Republican districts in New York.  She won her seat after Congressman John Sweeney was busted on drunken driving charges with a woman other than his wife in the car in the wee hours of the morning.

Gillibrand then defended her last November against a multi-millionaire Republican in what was the most expensive Congressional race in the country.

Having Gillibrand on the statewide ticket will help all other statewide Democrats.  But the liberals in New York don’t see it that way – their screaming bloody murder.  Well, not all liberals.  The person pushing Gillibrand the hardest was Senator Chuck Schumer. 

Schumer is a smart, ruthless, self-absorbed kind of guy.  And he is a bully.  I watched him first-hand when I was staffing the Waco hearings back in 1995.  He would badger witnesses that he didn’t like, he played to the press every time he opened his mouth.  In short, he tried to make the hearings into a circus as to discredit the importance of them.

So, now Gillibrand will join Chuck’s circus in the Senate.  Word of caution for her: don’t get between Chuck and a news camera, you’ll get run over by Chuck.

18th January
2009
written by Sean Noble

Following the 2004 election, President Bush launched an effort to reform Social Security.  It has been an article of faith for conservatives since Barry Goldwater wrote “The Conscience Of A Conservative” that Social Security is destined to failure.  Goldwater’s position was particularly courageous, given that insolvency was still decades away.

Bush knew that the future obligations of Social Security would far outstrip ability to pay with millions of baby boomers beginning to retire in the next few years.  As those boomers retire, the spending obligations will drive our country further and further into unfathomable debt.  It’s not like we can’t see this coming.  When Social Security was created, there were literally dozens of workers paying into the system for every person receiving benefits.  That ratio is now three workers for each retiree and it will soon be two workers per retiree.

Unfortunately, Democrats have used the scare tactic of Republicans wanting to destroy Social Security in every election since 1964, making substantive reform politically impossible.  There is a reason Social Security has been called the third rail of politics.

So it was very interesting when, in his final press conference, Bush said, “I believe that running the Social Security idea right after the ’04 elections was a mistake. I should have argued for immigration reform.”

Consider how different that last four years would have been had Bush pushed for immigration reform right after the 2004 election.  First, Bush had a strong showing at the polls on Election Day 2004, so while he may not have had a “mandate” he clearly was in a strong position to push an agenda.  In fact, pundits figured he had enough mojo to push Social Security reform. 

Had Bush picked immigration reform, conservatives would have had a larger role in crafting the bill, and avoided some of the most divisive rhetoric that has created so much angst among party faithful. 

Democrats would have been much more likely to work with Bush on immigration reform than on Social Security, and giving Bush a success on a bipartisan issue.

And, how would that have changed the overall make-up of the Presidential race?  I’d venture to speculate that had Bush successfully shepherded immigration reform through Congress, the tone in Washington would have been much different, and we would not have had Obama even in the primary.  It is clear that the anti-Bush crowd was the driver on Obama, and had that been tempered, we may have seen a McCain/Clinton general and it would be McCain getting sworn in as the 44th President on Tuesday.

This is the kind of mental exercise that makes me wish I could see the parallel universe.

7th January
2009
written by Sean Noble

When big things happen very rarely, it’s generally considered historic.  I think the lunch today in the White House with three former Presidents (Carter, Bush I, Clinton) the current President and the President-elect is pretty darn cool.  The last time all living former presidents were at the White House together was in 1981.  Think about that.  It’s been about 27 years. 

Being the political junkie that I am, I’d have loved to been a fly on the wall.  Too bad Nixon’s recorder wasn’t still around… (did I just say that out loud?)

Update: A couple people have or have seen pictures of Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush together in 1991 in what appears to be the Oval office.  While I can’t be certain it’s not the Oval office, I believe it is a picture of the five in the replica Oval Office at the opening of the Reagan Library in Simi Valley in 1991.  Here is a picture from that day of the Presidents outside the Library:

450_presidents.jpg
The old firm … presidents George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon at the opening ceremony of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley on November 4, 1991. Photo: Reuters/Gary Cameron