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Bill “Bubba” Clinton Backs President Barack Obama & Tax Deal

Submitted by on December 14, 2010 – 1:34 am4 Comments

Nothing brings a smile to the face of Democrats like the sight of Bill Clinton speaking into a microphone in the White House Briefing Room. That reality didn’t escape President Barack Obama when he and the former president waltzed into an impromptu press conference on Friday. The President has been having a hard time selling his tax compromise with Republicans to Democrats and his base. In particular, House Democrats have been slamming the President for caving and capitulating to Republicans on high-earner tax breaks. During his campaign, Obama promised he would fight to end the tax cuts.

Clinton’s endorsement may not move the far Left of the electorate, but it will help with moderates and centrists in the party. Clinton currently enjoys a 90% favorability rating amongst Democrats and is arguably the best politician and most successful president in modern history. To many on the Left and to some on the Right, Bill Clinton represents America in more stable times. This newfound love affair with the former president also represents the short memory of many Americans. This is the same President Clinton who presided over a government shut down due to partisanship and was almost impeached for extra marital affairs. Obama is probably the only executive disliked more by conservatives than President Clinton was in the early 90s. However, what is fact is that he reigned over an era of economic expansion, military peacetime and large legislative compromises toward the end of his career.

Staying on message, Clinton reiterated the White House’s assertion that they were not pleased with everything in the compromise, but felt compelled to negotiate with the Republicans for fear of wasting this lame duck session and seeing taxes on middle class Americans go up. He also argued the White House was able to get much more for middle class Americans than originally expected and the deal made sense from an economic standpoint. His support may give progressive Democrats political cover to support the deal.

What seems to be the most offensive item to liberals (aside from tax cuts for the wealthy) is the estate tax, a reduction in taxes for inheritances over $5 million or what is referred to as “unearned income.” The provision (only) benefits nearly 6,000+ millionaires and does nothing to create jobs, but seems to be a must-have for congressional Republicans.

However, regardless of political ideology or even basic fairness, if Democrats want to see votes on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” The Dream Act, and a resolution to the START Treaty, a decision must be made quickly before even more Republicans come to Washington. Simply put, they really have no choice here. On the aforementioned items, President Obama must remain strong or he risks losing his base entirely and the 2012 election.

From a political view, Barack Obama over two years is more legislatively accomplished than Clinton was in his first term, but Clinton remains the standard as far as communicating across political spectrums. Having a Southern, white supporter as popular as Bill Clinton is with middle Americans, helps Obama reach out to the only demographic he lost in 2008—white, middle class Americans. Already the blogosphere, the comment sections of YouTube, and other media outlets are criticizing the press conference and mainly Obama for allowing a former president to fight his battles for him.  ut for Obama, who has been unfairly pegged as a socialist by Republicans and weak by Democrats, having another pragmatist in Clinton speak for him to the country from the middle is an intelligent policy and perception move.

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