Editor's Notebook: Obama’s Nomination: Clinton Nominates Obama, Zeroes Out GOP and Romney
By Richard Muhammad, editor, The Final Call newspaper
(CHARLOTTE - September 5, 2012) - Is America better off than it was four years ago? Absolutely, according to former president Bill Clinton, who tallied gains under the Obama administration despite GOP opposition and tough times. The stalwart of the Democratic Party ran through a list of achievements from job creation, to health care reform, the recovery act and debt reduction.
President Clinton, his remarks often interrupted by applause from delegates to the Democratic National Convention, also argued the obstructionist policies of the Republican Party are built on a political formula that works but “constant conflict” that fails in the real world.
“Though I often disagree with Republicans, I never learned to hate them the way the far right that now controls their party seems to hate President Obama and the Democrats,” he said.
In addition to the hatred, the Republicans are plain wrong in criticisms of President Obama from numbers on jobs, and the Recovery Act to lies about changes to welfare reform, he added.
The Republicans falsely said at their Tampa convention that Democrats are against free enterprise and individual initiative and wreck the economy, said Mr. Clinton. But, he added, since 1961 Democratic administrations have created 42 million jobs and Republicans, 24 million jobs.
Expanding opportunity and economic empowerment are “morally right and good economics,” he said. Discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth which hurts the entire country, not just those who are locked out. Greater opportunity and investments in education, infrastructure, technology and scientific advancement increase good jobs and wealth across the board, Mr. Clinton continued.
Last fall the economy lost 750,000 jobs, but today the economy is adding jobs, banks are beginning to lend again and housing pricing are slowly picking up, he said. The president inherited a deeply damaged economy but has put a floor under the crash and laid a foundation for a modern, well-balanced economy that will produce millions of good new jobs, new businesses and wealth for innovators, Mr. Clinton said.
“The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people. In the last 29 months our economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. We could have done better but last year, the Republicans blocked the president’s jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here is another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, congressional Republicans zero,” said the former governor of Arkansas.
For the first time since the 1990s, manufacturing jobs, more than 500,000-strong, have been created, Mr. Clinton said.
Among other Obama accomplishments were rescuing the auto industry with a bailout that saved a million jobs for car makers and auto parts manufacturers, he noted. “Now we know Gov. Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here’s another jobs score: Obama 250,000, Romney zero.”
The president’s energy program has dropped oil imports to a 20 year low as natural gas production reaches an all-time high, said Mr. Clinton.
Obamacare expanded healthcare to an additional three million young people eligible for insurance through their parents, and individuals and business have received a billion dollars in refunds because of new requirements that insurance companies spend the vast majority of premiums on health care and not promotions or profits, Mr. Clinton said.
President Obama didn’t rob Medicare, he cut unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurers and used the savings to make the Medicare Trust Fund more solvent, he said.
“When Congressman Ryan looked into the TV camera and attacked President Obama’s ‘biggest coldest power play’ in raiding Medicare, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. You see that $716 billion is exactly the same amount of Medicare savings Congressman Ryan had in his own budget,” Mr. Clinton said.
The GOP is also wrong for saying the president changed welfare reforms, because Mr. Obama deferred to the wishes of government who wanted the rules changed to let welfare recipients do more work, he said.
Outside of an argument-by-the-numbers, Mr. Clinton offered a values argument in favor of Mr. Obama. The president has included some who supported Hilary Clinton, the ex-president’s wife and Mr. Obama’s primary rival in his cabinet, Mr. Clinton said. “Heck he even appointed Hilary,” Mr. Clinton added, saying the president’s actions were proof that politics did not have to be a blood sport.
The Democrats and the incumbent president represent a different view of the world than the GOP, he said. “We think we’re all in this together is a better philosophy than ‘you’re on your own,’ ” said Mr. Clinton.
The former president closed with a warning: If the Republicans get back in the White House, their magic arithmetic of tax cuts and defense spending while closing loopholes in the name of debt reduction will be a disaster. It will mean doing away with deductions for mortgages and charities, less federal aid for college education, ending programs like early children education, and curbing medical, scientific and technological research, Mr. Clinton said.
The Republicans will usher in another era where government debt explodes and eats away at tax dollars, he said. The GOP quadrupled debt before the Clinton administration came into office, said the former president.
“We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle down,” argued Mr. Clinton. “If you want a you’re on your own, winner take all society you should support the Republican ticket. If you want a country of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities, a ‘we’re all in this together’ society, you should vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden.”