Mitt Romney is full of praise for Bill Clinton even as he heaps scorn on Obama.
“Almost a generation ago, Bill Clinton announced that the era of big government was over,” says Romney, “Clinton was signaling to his own party that Democrats should no longer try to govern by proposing a new program for every problem.” By contrast, President Obama has “tucked away the Clinton doctrine in his large drawer of discarded ideas.”
It’s politics at its stupidest. Polls show Bill Clinton with higher favorability ratings than Obama, so Romney does what any vacuous opportunist politician does — try to associate himself with more popular, and maybe bring along some of those white males who voted for Clinton in ‘92 and ‘96.
But it won’t work. It might even backfire.
I was in Bill Clinton’s cabinet. I was in charge of Clinton’s economic transition team even before he became President. I’ve known Bill Clinton since he was 22 years old.
Romney doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Clinton doctrine? As president, Bill Clinton raised taxes. Government receipts as a percent of gross domestic product rose from 17.5 percent in 1992, when Clinton was elected, to 20.6 percent in 2000, when he left office. Supply-siders screamed. They predicted the end of civilization as we know it.
In 2011, President Obama’s third full year in office, government receipts were down to just 15.5 percent of GDP.
Does Romney really prefer Clinton’s approach?
Under Bill Clinton, the top income tax rate was 39.6 percent. It’s now 35 percent, courtesy of George W. Bush. Obama wants to return to the 39.6 percent rate, but he doesn’t want to restore the Clinton rates on the middle class. Obama wants a lower rate on the middle class than the rate under Clinton.
(Romney doesn’t even mention George W. Bush, by the ...