Everyone Needs to STOP Talking About Obama '08 in Terms of Clinton '92
November 11, 2008
Jonathan Schwarz addresses the myth that Clinton came in and tried to do all this crazy leftist stuff which resulted in his losing the 1994 election. Namely, the myth that is driving me nuts:
Their latest masterpiece is the Terrifying True Tale of How the Early Clinton Administration Was Crippled by Liberals. You see, Bill Clinton began his presidency by giving into his wild-eyed leftist instincts. But the wise American people rejected his class warfare! They punished him and the Democrats by giving control of congress to Republicans in the 1994 midterm elections. So Clinton sobered up and governed from the center. Obama better not repeat Clinton's mistakes by giving into the left! The End.
In reality, of course, Clinton knuckled under to the center right -- much of which was located within the Democratic party -- from the very beginning. Following their advice, he went all out to pass NAFTA, then failed to pass universal health care. People who'd been desperate in 1992 saw no economic improvement by 1994. And with the low 45% voter turnout in the midterms, the Democrats lost control of Congress (mostly via the defeat of center right Democrats).
Here's an especially fine example of the Terrifying True Tale, by John Heilemann in New York Magazine. Heilemann deserves extra credit for berating people who remember history for not remembering history.Be sure to read Heileman's fairy tale. It's a masterpiece of the genre. I particularly liked this: