Quick Update: The Dems Debate, Bill Clinton Bullies (and it may be smart), and World Markets Crash

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I’ll be watching the debates tonight closely. Hope all of you will be too.
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) has encouraged Bill Clinton to tone it down but did not say that the former President had crossed the line in his rough-handedness with Barack Obama and his campaign. Clyburn, an immensely impressive guy on Wolf Blitzer’s show today, also chastised Obama for not seeming to understand that the transformation that Ronald Reagan wrought set back the African-American community in America and all of those who were needing help.
While much has been made about Bill Clinton’s role in Hillary’s campaign and whether or not his conduct is unbecoming for a former President, I can’t help but think that there is some deep strategy at play here.
There is a possibility that Bill Clinton is beating up on Obama and engineering the environment for the Nevada caucus lawsuit so as to build confidence and attract votes that in another Gore-Bush-like standoff in Florida, Ohio or elsewhere that Clinton will be James Baker’s equivalent — that he’ll oversee a tenacious, tough as nails, hard-scraping fight to win and not give away the show as Gore did in Florida and as Kerry might have done in Ohio.
I’m not sure — but much of the howling at Bill’s tough tactics and their appropriateness could be a net positive in the build up to February 5th.
And on another front — today global financial markets crashed worse than any other day since 9/11/2001 itself. Whatever Bill Clinton may or may not be doing will be over when people look at American markets hemorrhage tomorrow.
I am helping to organize a forum Wednesday morning at the New America Foundation with economic advisers from most of the campaigns to talk about this crisis and the economy and what their candidates propose.
More on that later.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

17 comments on “Quick Update: The Dems Debate, Bill Clinton Bullies (and it may be smart), and World Markets Crash

  1. Kathleen says:

    Carroll…. I grew up on the coast, so I’ve had my share of hurricane adventures… something tells me it’s time to dig out the “high-water” pants… lots of wading in our future.
    DanK.. I wish we were done apologizing for Bill, but I’m not as optimistic as you…
    liz…. luuuuvvv that bumper sticker.

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  2. Kirk says:

    I think the whole Bill and Hillary strategy is very simple. It comes from a play-book used in a Pennsylvania Senate campaign. Republican leadership didn’t want to see the incumbent Republican get another term; they had another Republican file as a third-party candidate. The incumbent ended up running against Senate leadership and they were not on the ballot; the third-party candidate was then free to run for the Senate seat.
    The nasty thing about this situation for Obama is that if he leaves what Bill Clinton says unanswered then it sticks. If he answers it, he appears to be running against Bill rather than Hillary. Obama needs a number of surrogates to attack “the candidate’s husband” while he can discuss the substantive differences of an Obama presidency from a Hillary presidency.

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  3. liz says:

    Bill’s behavior is only the beginning of the Hillary Presidency. Bill in the White House again is reason enough to vote for anybody else.
    No more Bush Clinton Bush Clinton. That dynasty needs to move on. And of course, Bill’s behavior is bad…. when wasn’t it? I’m not talking policy people, I am speaking directly to behavior.
    And have you seen the bumper sticker ” I’m voting for Monica Lewinsky’s boyfriend’s wife”. This is only the beginning…. let’s let it be the end too.

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  4. Carroll says:

    Leave no dollar behind”..GWB & the GOP
    Growth!,Growth!..we must Grow the economy! Quick more fetilizer, more manure!..it’s not high enough and deep enough and full of shit enough to crash yet….
    I can’t wait for the politicans infortainment-mercial on the market tomorrow…the blind leading the blind.

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  5. Dan Kervick says:

    Every time Bill Clinton exercises his natural, undisciplined and expansive tendencies to take over every room and dominate every conversation, it only makes Hillary Clinton look like the junior partner once again in the Clinton pairing, and suggests to the public that she is running for “co-president” as Slick Willy angles and weasels his way back into power.
    I think the Bill Clinton bubble of Democratic solicitude is finally about to burst, at long last. Now that Democrats don’t *have* to defend this guy any more, all of those years of subterranean resentment and disgust at the guy who squandered a Democratic presidency with his trailer trash antics, forced Democratic women’s groups into humiliating postures of undignified and inauthentic hypocrisy, and brought mountains of embarrassment to Democrats everywhere … all that is finally about to break loose and come crashing down on him.

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  6. Linda says:

    Erichwwk,
    I agree totally with you about the economy, and I believe that it started with Reagan and really was not that much better under Clinton. Until we re-regulate much of the economy, it will just be one disaster, bubble, disaster after another. Savings and loan debeacle, sub-prime, and on and on. Congress and all Presidents share the blame as they are supposed to identify and solve the problems. And they haven’t done either for decades. It’s a myth that taxes are bad, and we can take care of ourselves. Tax and spend may not be good, but it beats spend and cut taces during a war. It costs us more when we end up in a recession or a depression.

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  7. erichwwk says:

    Kudos to Steven for hosting a forum on the economy Wed.!
    Greg and Peter left for DC today, and makes me wish I had gone with. Look fwd to the podcast I assume will be made available.
    Be interesting what position candidates take. So far there seems to me no understanding of what is at issue, either because the problem is so severe or because it’s not clear what to do.Most still seem to think of model taught when they were in school, and the fed actually controlled money supply directly. Those days of a regulated money supply, where the Fed knew the institutions capable of creating money and how much there is outstanding,are long gone. Second best now is to work through interest rate. The Anna Schwartz/ Milton Friedman view of what happened in the crash of 1929, and how the Fed responded is now open to serious debate re to getting the story right. Paul Krugman has been writing some on target essays on this.What many economists parrot of income-expenditure models (the Hicks crib notes) has been shown to be a great oversimplification of what Keynes (and the Austrians) were thinking in describing a business cycle. The real problems are structural, not monetary,and some of the structural problems have to do with pouring $2Trillion down a dryhole, deluding the public re the socialization-privatization choice, and selling off public assets out of public view. The probabilities of undoing THAT range from low to zero.
    One of the better things i have read on the current crisis is at Steven’s Japan Policy Research Institute by Marshall Auerback; “Risk vs Uncertainty: The Cause of the Current Financial Crisis “, built on Frank Knight’s 1920 distinction.
    Also check out William Engdahl (July 26, 2004)article “Collapse in 2005?” here:
    http://tinyurl.com/3ybhul
    I have the highest regard for Ben Bernanke, but unfortunately I think he also realizes that this is a structural, and not a liquidity crisis to be solved by manipulating the money supply. My gut feeling is he knew it all along, feels powerless (hence passing the buck to Congress, where it belongs)but felt broadcasting that would not be helpful, and just make things worse. Anyway, one can not push on a string.
    Markets both here and worldwide recognize the incompetence of Congress (primarily attorneys, trained on how to hide what’s looted- sorry for the cynicism, Linda, but the first step in rehab is to admit one has a problem. And lest this looks pessimistic, far from it. getting rid of what Ben Bernanke’s pal Robert Frank describes as the tragedy of the commons applied to consumerism should be seen as a welcome sign. Out of the 29 depression came four decades of social and economic justice, at least for white males.
    Ronald Reagan led the groundwork for destroying economic well being in the 1980’s- that nonsense model (supply side, or as George H. Bush called it, “voodoo economics) is what needs to be laid to rest.

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  8. ... says:

    poa- well said..

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  9. Carroll says:

    Carroll.. if you’re Italian-American you might say, That gave me the skivvies.
    Posted by Kathleern at January 21, 2008 07:30 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Here’s a good one for you…we are “momicked”.
    Meaning ruined, beat up, messed up.
    From the english descendents living on the Outer Banks known as “high tiders” who still speak the 17th century old english. They call everyone who isn’t a high tider, “dit dots”.
    As in.. some dit dot got momicked…LOL

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  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Whatever the case may be, I wish he had shown some of this toughness in opposing the Bush administration. Same thing I think when I watch Hillary Clinton or Obama fighting each other. Where has this energy and determination been for the last seven/two years? (respectively)”
    Thats the real question, and is truly a gauge into who the REAL person is behind all the rhetoric and bullshit. In the period just prior to MLK’s assasination, his main focus was battling poverty and speaking out against the Viet Nam war. Racial equality was no longer his primary message. The war today, and how we got here, IS the issue of the day. This horseshit being played out right now by Hillary and Obama, (to the detriment of everything MLK stood for), is shameless pandering, and despicable swiftboating. If these two had any respect for MLK’s message, they would have activelly and voraciously worked to oppose this treasonous monkey in the White House, his war promoted on false premises, AND the tremendous neglect and racially motivated disdain this Administration has shown for the displaced citizens of New Orleans.
    And, as Carroll has pointed out, for these two to be paying homage to MLK while sucking AIPAC’s toes is despicable to the extreme. Do any of you really believe that MLK would stand silent in the face of what is being done to the Palestinians in Gaza?
    Hillary is transparently status quo, and the support of the arms industry, plus her favorable rating with the Israelis tells us all we need to know about her. But at least with Hillary, I KNOW what we’ll get. We KNOW who is pushing her cart. But Obama? Who the hell is rowin’ his skiff? And why are the RW mouthpieces pushing him as the best Dem option? What does he represent that tells them he is the more positive otion for the RWers if a Dem ascends to the throne?
    And as Steve points out, all this might be moot a year from now. If the economy does what it appears it may do, we might all be eating soda crackers a year from now, and that will completely change the dynamics of this election cycle. And, of course, theres always the threat that the wackos amongst us, like this satanic monster Cheney, might just decide to throw another “trifecta” at us.

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  11. ... says:

    i think the deep strategy is making bill clinton as issue in the dem race and thinking it will help the obama folks… things like – not a clinton dynasty and etc are just more of the same… if obama can be successful in making bill a liability, anyway he can – monica references and etc – then i think he stands to gain from it… i think that is the obama game plan.
    i don’t remember hillary bellyaching about oprahs involvement in this race…
    i think it is an obama team tactic.

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  12. Jim says:

    But there must be some explanation other that “Bill making it about Bill.” Thanks — steve
    Not necessarily. I think even for a politician, Big Dog got a big ego, and I don’t doubt for a minute that a lot this campaign is, for him, about vindication.
    Whatever the case may be, I wish he had shown some of this toughness in opposing the Bush administration. Same thing I think when I watch Hillary Clinton or Obama fighting each other. Where has this energy and determination been for the last seven/two years? (respectively)

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  13. Kathleen says:

    Oh, there’s a deep strategy allright…it’s called get your buns back in the driver’s seat ASAP. The question is how samrt is it?
    If I were Bill, I wouldn’t be talking about rolling the dice. His under the desk Mid Life Monica Mess was dicier than most politcal peccadillos. I for one, don’t care to roll the dice with my health care in hopes that he can keep his pecker in his pocket and not give the Republican Noise Machine more grist.
    Speaking of Fairy Tales, I wouldn’t go there either if I were Bill. Just exactly what is this 35 years of experince making change happen, personally that Hillary claims? First Lady of Arkansa, and the US and Lawyer for Rose Law Firm??Sounds almost like Laura Bush could do it.
    Did Hillary handle any groundbreaking suits for Rose Law Firm… cases of first impression… precedent setting ones???
    Has she authored any legislation that brought about change??? Do tell, someone.
    And what’s with Obama and Reagan,,, YUCK on the barfometer.
    Carroll.. if you’re Italian-American you might say, That gave me the skivvies.

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  14. brat says:

    I think having Bill play bad cop, to a certain extent, works. It’s early, too early to have the VP designee in place to do this job.
    For some reason, there is this odd tradition of ex-presidents moving to the political ether (while cashing in to an obscence extent–Jerry Ford was the worst on this point). I far prefer the “once a pol, always a pol.”
    Look the presidency isn’t an office for Saints.
    Jeez…everyone is getting their knickers in a twist. My question is: Why is the press missing by overfocusing on Bill?

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  15. Kathleern says:

    Oh, there’s a deep strategy allright…it’s called get your buns back in the driver’s seat ASAP. The question is how samrt is it?
    If I were Bill, I wouldn’t be talking about rolling the dice. His under the desk Mid Life Monica Mess was dicier than most politcal peccadillos. I for one, don’t care to roll the dice with my health care in hopes that he can keep his pecker in his pocket and not give the Republican Noise Machine more grist.
    Speaking of Fairy Tales, I wouldn’t go there either if I were Bill. Just exactly what is this 35 years of experince making change happen, personally that Hillary claims? First Lady of Arkansa, and the US and Lawyer for Rose Law Firm??Sounds almost like Laura Bush could do it.
    Did Hillary handle any groundbreaking suits for Rose Law Firm… cases of first impression… precedent setting ones???
    Has she authored any legislation that brought about change??? Do tell, someone.
    And what’s with Obama and Reagan,,, YUCK on the barfometer.
    Carroll.. if you’re Italian-American you might say, That gave me the skivvies.

    Reply

  16. Steve Clemons says:

    Bill R. — You might be right. I’m not dug in on this, just speculating actually that some Americans — particularly those who don’t want to see the Republicans back next round — may support the pitbulls in the race rather than the candidate who seems decent but not nasty enough. And of course, if I’m right about why Bill Clinton is doing what he’s doing — it could backfire badly. But there must be some explanation other that “Bill making it about Bill.” Thanks — steve

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  17. Bill R. says:

    I disagree with your analysis on Bill Clinton’s attack dog role. He looks foolish and is diminished in his behavior. I’m inclined to agree with Josh Marshall that this behavior may be short term gain,but… with long term deficit for Hillary’s cause. Of course, the elephant in the room here is Bill Clinton is a person of no credibility. He lies. Obama is calling him on that, and of course everyone who was alive in the 90s knows that he lies, even to his own wife, but also to the American people, when it’s expedient. We would have liked to forget that, but he is now rubbing our face in it, and all the reasons why we are embarrassed by him and why a replay of the 90s is not what we want.

    Reply

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