Yes, really. Arnie Parnes at The Hill:
Former President Bill Clinton on Thursday night became the latest surrogate for President Obama to stray from campaign talking points, saying GOP nominee Mitt Romney's business experience "crosses the qualification threshold."Go to the middle paragraph, to the phrase "the debate over which candidate can better lead the U.S. economy." That's one framing, the kind one.
In an interview on the Piers Morgan show on CNN, Clinton said the Obama campaign shouldn't spend its energy criticizing Romney's work at Bain Capital, an argument that has taken central stage in the debate over which candidate can better lead the U.S. economy.
"I don't think we ought to get into the position where we say, 'This is bad work. This is good work,'" Clinton told guest host Harvey Weinstein, a staunch Obama supporter who has helped raise millions of dollars for the president's reelection campaign.
The unkind framing is "the debate over whether the predatory rich are destroying the U.S. economy."
It's that second frame, that second narrative, that can't ever be acknowledged — at least among the straights.
And that's what Clinton is doing — heading off that narrative.
Remember, Clinton used politics to lever himself into the low end of the upper class. He gave us NAFTA, Telecom "reform" and the end of Glass–Steagall — and after leaving office had enough "thank you" money to pony up $3,000,000 for a wedding.
If he ever was on the side of us Littles (he may well have been, once), he's not now. This description of Barack Obama by James Galbraith, written shortly after Obama's debt-deal, could apply to either man, Obama or Clinton:
The President is not a progressive – he is not what Americans still call a “liberal.” He is a willful player in an epic drama of faux-politics, an operative for the money power, whose job is to neutralize the left with fear and distraction and then to pivot rightward and deliver a conservative result.Clinton loves his Rubin, at which altar Obama also worships. Does more need saying?
What Barack Obama got from the debt deal was exactly what his sponsors have wanted: a long-term lock-in of domestic spending cuts, and a path toward severe cuts in the core New Deal and Great Society insurance programs – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. And, of course, no tax increases at all.
To see the arc of political strategy, recall that from the beginning Obama handed economic policy to retainers recruited from the stables of Robert Rubin.
It's unlikely that Clinton will "Booker" himself — take himself out of the conversation — with this defense. He's actually upped the Bain pushback against Obama's campaign team. It will be interesting to see if it works.
But just in case Clinton does manage to rebrand himself instead of Bain, I offer this little video to help the cause along:
Clinton and Ryan, sittin' in a tree, killing Social Securi-tee.
Not much more needs saying, in my estimation.
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