Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - Bill Clinton's new book doesn't mince words about the dismal state of the Obama economy. The former president flatly declares, "We're in a mess now."

Are we ever! But the fact that this withering indictment comes from a former Democratic president, who is widely credited for the strong job-creating economy that emerged in his second term, makes it an embarrassing lecture from a political master who thinks Obama is in over his head.

This is the news equivalent of "man bites dog," or in this case, "Democrat bites Democrat."

Clinton not only criticizes Obama's economy but also his relentless attacks on Wall Street executives (though he is happy to take their money for his campaign).

"Many of them supported me when I raised their taxes in 1993, because I didn't attack them for their success," Clinton writes in his book "Back To Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy."

That cutting criticism, among others in the book, led to "some eye-rolling among senior Obama advisers," said the Washington Post, and maybe a few expletives to boot.

Even the title of Clinton's book is a slap at the Obama's economic incompetence.

If "we need smart government for a strong economy," as Clinton correctly states, it necessarily follows that we now have incompetent government and a dangerously weak economy.

"It is heartening that people all over the world want to pursue their version of the American Dream but troubling that others are doing a better job than we are of providing it to their people," Clinton says.

He also takes Obama to task for not dealing with the debt ceiling issue in his first two years when he had huge Democratic majorities in Congress, and for failing to come up with a coherent campaign message to blunt the GOP's political attacks in the 2010 midterm elections.

Clinton offers his own prescriptions for economic growth, including passage of President George W. Bush's free trade agreements that Obama belatedly signed last month after nearly three years of inaction.

But Clinton had already been offering more far-reaching advice on the economy that Obama has been ignoring to his own political peril: This is no time to be raising taxes.

"I personally don't believe we ought to be raising taxes or cutting spending, either one, until we get this economy off the ground," Clinton said earlier this fall in an interview with Newsmax.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.