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Behind Bill Clinton's Smile
Townhall.com ^ | December 15, 2010 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 12/15/2010 4:48:54 AM PST by Kaslin

You've got to give Barack Obama credit. His learning curve gets steeper and steeper, but he continues to climb.

"I'm going to let him speak very briefly," Obama said Friday before making the fateful decision to allow a smirking Bill Clinton a none-too-brief moment in front of the cameras. It was the sort of famous blunder that comes after getting into a land war in Southeast Asia or getting into a contest with a Sicilian when death is on the line.

He might as well have said, "I'm going to let this grizzly bear have just one lick of my ice cream cone."

Still, that Clinton is a camera hog, or even that he puts the lie to Obama's reputation as the most eloquent Democrat, are easy lessons to learn compared with accepting the need to embrace George W. Bush's tax cuts and ask Clinton for help selling the decision.

You have to think Obama is wondering where he took a wrong turn.

The obvious answer: his stimulus bill, which is so unpopular now that Bill Clinton joked on Friday, "I guess we're not supposed to use that word anymore."

But that's not how it was when Obama took office with an approval rating near 70 percent (83 percent of Americans approved of his transition efforts). Contrary to the spin, many congressional Republicans were either eager to work with the new president or terrified of opposing him. They weren't opposed to a stimulus bill either.

But the White House decided to sign on to the pork-heavy stimulus crafted by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, without GOP input -- "We won the election. We wrote the bill," Pelosi boasted -- thus blowing up Obama's still-plausible image as a bipartisan president and emboldening the Republicans to oppose the stimulus, which also left them free to run against the sinking "Obama economy."

The Republicans discovered that opposing Obama's partisan agenda was good politics. By the health-care debate, independents flocked to the GOP, delivering electoral victories throughout 2009, and delivering a House majority last month. That new reality is why we got the Clinton rerun Friday.

But what if Obama had gone another way? What if he had rejected both the Democratic and the Republican stimulus bills and gone for a one-year payroll tax holiday of some kind, as many economists suggested at the time?

No bells, no whistles. No too-clever-by-half tax credits or subsidies. Just a straightforward suspension of some or all of the roughly $625 billion the government collects in payroll taxes. A 50 percent cut in the payroll tax, economist Lawrence B. Lindsey estimated during the stimulus debate, would have put $1,500 in the pocket of the typical worker making $50,000 a year. And it would have made hiring or keeping workers less expensive for employers.

After all, if you want more of something, tax it less. If you want less of something, tax it more.

Such a stimulus would have been very progressive because payroll taxes are decidedly regressive, hitting the working and middle class harder than they hit the wealthy. According to American Enterprise Institute economist John Makin, payroll taxes amount to the primary taxes paid by the 60 percent of Americans who shell out comparatively little or nothing in federal income tax.

Ironically, this is exactly the argument the White House is making these days. As Clinton said Friday, "Every single unbiased economic study says the best thing you can do if you're going to take a tax-cut path to grow the economy is to give payroll tax relief."

Lord knows how much money -- and time -- was wasted on the original Obama stimulus. Shortly before the 2010 election, Obama himself admitted that he learned the hard way that there's "no such thing" as a "shovel-ready job." That's an awfully expensive lesson.

I think the initial appeal of the stimulus for many liberals, Obama included, is that it dovetailed with progressive hubris and Democratic resentment, the two defining characteristics of Obama's base. The experts, with Obama as first among equals, insisted that all of the answers were obvious for the smart set.

Meanwhile, the partisans insisted they deserved unfettered rule after enduring the Bush captivity. Obama was elected by exploiting and exemplifying both sentiments. In his arrogance, he even disparaged the Clinton presidency as too mincing and modest. Then, on Friday, Obama recruited Clinton to help save his more ambitious presidency from ruin.

Bill, like everyone else, recognized Obama's comeuppance. Indeed, you could see it in Bill's smile.


TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: bho44; x42

1 posted on 12/15/2010 4:48:58 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

What I saw was the last gasp of a seriously weakened old man. Somehow, in recent time he passed me in age and continues to accelerate the aging.


2 posted on 12/15/2010 4:55:38 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. N.C. D.E. +12 .....( History is a process, not an event ))
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To: Kaslin

Obama only brought Clinton in because he had to go to a Christmas party with Moochelle. I mean, c’mon. What’s more important? The economy or a Christmas party with Moochelle?


3 posted on 12/15/2010 5:00:16 AM PST by Old Teufel Hunden
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To: Kaslin
But what if Obama had gone another way? What if he had rejected both the Democratic and the Republican stimulus bills and gone for a one-year payroll tax holiday of some kind, as many economists suggested at the time?

But, then, that would have stimulated the private sector, instead of enlarging government, and besides, wouldn't that help some people who make more than........?

4 posted on 12/15/2010 5:00:22 AM PST by wayoverontheright
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To: bert

>> in recent time he passed me in age and continues to accelerate the aging.

Those STDs will do that to a man. He’d better put some ice on it.


5 posted on 12/15/2010 5:02:06 AM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: Nervous Tick

my dad is 84 y.o. and looks better than Bill Clinton — this man has been ravaged by STDs or something!


6 posted on 12/15/2010 5:04:57 AM PST by Enchante (12/10/10: Obama just abdicated his Presidency to Bill Clinton at the Tax Policy Press Conference!)
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To: wayoverontheright

IF a frog had wings, he would not bust his butt everytime he jumped.


7 posted on 12/15/2010 5:08:20 AM PST by dusttoyou ("Progressives" are wee-weeing all over themselves, Foc nobama)
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To: Old Teufel Hunden

Well if he doesn’t want moochelle to kick his ass AGAIN he’d best listen to what the shelf ass ugly says.


8 posted on 12/15/2010 5:10:58 AM PST by Joe Boucher ((FUBO))
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To: Nervous Tick

Just think! Clintoon was the most powerful Man in the World! And the only piece of Arse he could get was a Lewinsky, a fat, dumb Blob!


9 posted on 12/15/2010 5:13:17 AM PST by True Republican Patriot (May GOD Continue to BLESS Our Greatest President :George W. Bush!!)
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To: Kaslin
You have to think Obama is wondering where he took a wrong turn.

I know the answer to that.

He took a wrong turn when he took his "affirmative action" acceptance to Harvard Law School, and RAN with it.

10 posted on 12/15/2010 5:13:49 AM PST by WayneS (Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm. -- James Madison)
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To: Kaslin
You've got to give Barack Obama credit. His learning curve gets steeper and steeper..

It's not his 'learning curve'.
It's the 'Bell Curve' in action.

oh ... wait...my bad...

...............

11 posted on 12/15/2010 5:15:11 AM PST by Condor51 (SAT CONG!)
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To: Kaslin

STOP ALL THESE CRAP BILLS!! Wait until January and THEN CLEAN THEM UP!


12 posted on 12/15/2010 5:33:47 AM PST by Ann Archy (Abortion......the Human Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)
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To: Condor51

Take your child to work day, Ramirez:
http://www.investors.com/EditorialCartoons/Cartoon.aspx?id=556756


13 posted on 12/15/2010 5:38:27 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: Ann Archy

Bump


14 posted on 12/15/2010 5:38:53 AM PST by Kaslin (Acronym for OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Condor51
Take your child to work day:


15 posted on 12/15/2010 5:39:06 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: MrB
yep so true -- unfortunately for us.

Having Barry as POTUS is like having the dope smoking slacker in HS as class president.
He's a black version of Jeff Spicoli. Only Spicoli had a higher IQ.

[and Bigfoot Moochie is like teacher Mr Hand. She's around to keep Barry in line (no Pizza in the classroom Oval Office).]

16 posted on 12/15/2010 6:00:54 AM PST by Condor51 (SAT CONG!)
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To: True Republican Patriot
"Clintoon was the most powerful Man in the World! And the only piece of Arse he could get was a Lewinsky, a fat, dumb Blob!"

How true ............. and a priceless observation!

17 posted on 12/15/2010 6:12:38 AM PST by Old Badger (boy do opportunities abound everywhere for Real Conservatives!)
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To: Condor51

AMATEUR NIGHT AT THE APOLLO !

(my bad too....)


18 posted on 12/15/2010 6:18:04 AM PST by Sarah
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To: bert

There was something eerie about Clinton, as though he were channeling Ted Kennedy and the shade of dead Ted kept fading in and out.

Or is it Clinton’s eyes, always deepset but now just barely visible evil slits?


19 posted on 12/15/2010 6:24:07 AM PST by elcid1970 ("Buy Sabra brand Hummus, made in Israel!")
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To: Kaslin

cocaine is very hard on the heart.


20 posted on 12/15/2010 6:31:43 AM PST by Oratam
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To: bert
What I saw was the last gasp of a seriously weakened old man. Somehow, in recent time he passed me in age and continues to accelerate the aging.

When a man's life revolves around drugs and whores, it takes a major toll on him after a while.

21 posted on 12/15/2010 6:34:12 AM PST by jpl (Our forebears really gave their lives so we could be groped by bureaucratic retards at the airport?)
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To: Enchante

I think the loss of weight and his heart condition has a lot to do with it. Have you seen Dick Cheney lately? He has lost a lot of weight and, even though it is healthier for him, he looks terribly gaunt and sickly. Not to mention his heart problems.


22 posted on 12/15/2010 6:48:25 AM PST by murron (Proud Mom of a Marine Vet)
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To: Kaslin

As much as I despise Obama and his Alinsky methods Clinton still rates a lower level in the Inferno. A total s...bag.


23 posted on 12/15/2010 7:02:30 AM PST by Inwoodian
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To: bert
What I saw was the last gasp of a seriously weakened old man. Somehow, in recent time he passed me in age and continues to accelerate the aging.

That's exactly what I thought!

24 posted on 12/15/2010 7:12:47 AM PST by pgkdan (Protect and Defend America! End the practice of islam on our shores before it's too late!)
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To: wayoverontheright
But, then, that would have stimulated the private sector, instead of enlarging government, and besides, wouldn't that help some people who make more than........?

Actually, it would have done nothing at all. Obama can propose anything he wants, but the House and Senate have to pass a bill for the proposal to have any effect.

It's funny how the Jonah Goldbergs of the world impute superhuman powers to presidents -- especially, it seems, to presidents with whom they disagree.

25 posted on 12/15/2010 7:21:56 AM PST by r9etb
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To: bert

He’s on some kind of vegan diet after his heart attack.
He looks like a wreck!


26 posted on 12/15/2010 7:49:28 AM PST by Mr. Peabody
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To: Joe Boucher

Barry is -19 abyss rating today. Lowest level of strongly approve ever at 22 percent. -9 in overall disapproval over overall approval. Barry is the most incompetent, petulant, narcissistic, partisan President ever and had no business being elected. I hold the media, and ignorant voters allowing themselves to be manipulated, responsible!


27 posted on 12/15/2010 7:51:26 AM PST by KansasGirl
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To: Kaslin
"I'm going to let him speak" - ???

Couldn't even be gracious enough to say, "I appreciate his willingness to speak . . . ."???

28 posted on 12/15/2010 8:38:29 AM PST by loveliberty2
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To: KansasGirl

No way KansasGirl.
Obammy gets a B+, he said so his self.
Man’s doing great, Folks just don’t understand all the good he’s done,

Yeah, Right.


29 posted on 12/15/2010 9:34:00 AM PST by Joe Boucher ((FUBO))
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To: Kaslin
"...on Friday, Obama recruited Clinton to help save his more ambitious presidency from ruin.

Jonah.

I'll bet it's more than that.

I suspect that he's already agreed to let Hillary be the veep candidate in 2012. (They can easily have their docs cook up a convenient lie to say that Biden has a serious "health issue".)

Just my guess, I have no genuine info.

.

30 posted on 12/15/2010 10:44:48 AM PST by Seaplaner (Never give in. Never give in. Never...except to convictions of honour and good sense. W. Churchill)
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To: bert

“Somehow, in recent time he passed me in age and continues to accelerate the aging.”
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Clinton’s election was the first time I found myself older than the president even though I was only 48 at the time. It seemed then that he looked younger than I did. Now he looks older than I do and gives me the impression that I could swat him down with the back of one hand. I can lift more weight now than I could then.


31 posted on 12/15/2010 1:18:39 PM PST by RipSawyer
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To: Seaplaner

Not even Barry would be idiot enough to run for reelection with Hillary as his VP would he? What if he were to be unfortunate enough to win? What was the title of that string of movies Charles Bronson made about the vigilante? Oh, yeah, DEATH WISH.


32 posted on 12/15/2010 1:37:01 PM PST by RipSawyer
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To: Enchante
my dad is 84 y.o. and looks better than Bill Clinton — this man has been ravaged by STDs or something!

Two words: Dorian Gray.

33 posted on 12/15/2010 1:56:35 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: Condor51
LOL .... you bad ..... offer up your neck for the zot ..... wot, no zot?

LOL That Ramirez cartoon was priceless ...... even Leno was making fun of Zero last night. It's about over, when that happens.

34 posted on 12/15/2010 2:01:32 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: Inwoodian
Clinton still rates a lower level in the Inferno

I concur with you.

If we were going by intentions, Ozero would be worse (I think he wants what Bill Ayers has always wanted), but I think Clinton has done worse than Obama has ever done.

Key words: Arkancide, high treason.

35 posted on 12/15/2010 2:07:33 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: lentulusgracchus
My ref to Barry's 'Bell Curve' is prolly not what you (or many others) may think.

The Race Hustlers go nuts over the mere mention o f 'Bell Curve'.
Then again they also go ballistic over 'Black Hole' and 'niggardly' too.

36 posted on 12/15/2010 2:26:39 PM PST by Condor51 (SAT CONG!)
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To: Nervous Tick
Those STDs will do that to a man.

35 years of marriage to Hillary will do that to a man.

37 posted on 12/15/2010 2:36:01 PM PST by Churchillspirit (9/11/01...NEVER FORGET.)
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To: KansasGirl
Barry is the most incompetent, petulant, narcissistic, partisan President ever and had no business being elected.

Every so often the voters in this country have to elect a president who is against everything they stand for (Johnson, Carter, Obambi) just because he makes them feel good about themselves.

These failing presidents serve to reinforce the adage, "The best argument against Democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

38 posted on 12/15/2010 2:48:31 PM PST by Snardius
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To: RipSawyer
A few weeks ago, I would have totally agreed with you.

Now, it just seems apparent (from a between-the-lines, "tea leaves" sort of way) that it has occurred to Marxist Obama's minders that Mister Biden is an object of too much ridicule, and is a public liability. Mrs. Rhodam, on the other hand, still has an entrenched base of support (that he suddenly needs).

This would be (they might think) a good way to counter a primary challenge.

No proof, just one of my amazingly accurate (okay, sometimes accurate) predictions.

.

39 posted on 12/15/2010 3:03:59 PM PST by Seaplaner (Never give in. Never give in. Never...except to convictions of honour and good sense. W. Churchill)
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To: Seaplaner

She’s another one that’s looking tired and haggard. I don’t think she has the stamina to run again, but I could be wrong.


40 posted on 12/15/2010 7:37:16 PM PST by murron (Proud Mom of a Marine Vet)
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