In 1998, Time's Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy wrote: "If Clinton has always had a gift for turning weakness into opportunity, Gingrich has a gift for turning opportunity into rubble. Newt was the one who made unbalanced budgets a thing of the past, but it was (SET ITAL) Clinton who somehow got credit for it (END ITAL) (emphasis added), rode to re-election (and) hauled his own party toward a more sensible center. ... (SET ITAL) Voters might have retired Clinton in 1996 for moving too far to the left (END ITAL) (emphasis added) had Gingrich not come along and yanked the whole enterprise too far to the right."
Even the current Bill Clinton biography entry in The New York Times reads: "Mr. Clinton sought to remake a once-broken Democratic Party in a more centrist mold. ... (SET ITAL) Part of Mr. Clinton's centrism came out of necessity (SET ITAL) (emphasis added). After the attempt to reform the health care system, led by his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, foundered, Democrats lost control of both houses of Congress in 1994, ending four decades of control of the House."
But collective amnesia apparently set in, and many in the media no longer give Gingrich the credit they once did.
About Clinton's speech at the Democratic convention, the Los Angeles Times, for example, wrote: "Clinton's endorsement was meant to signal a 'good economy seal of approval' for Obama, a promise that Obama's policies will bring back the peace and prosperity of the 1990s, when a booming economy created millions of jobs, stocks soared and a flood of tax revenues helped balance the federal budget for the first time in a generation. ... Clinton, who served from 1993 to 2001, came into office at the (SET ITAL) end of a recession (END ITAL) (emphasis added) and is credited by some for helping the nation achieve a budget surplus. With millions still out of work and trillion-dollar deficits sending the national debt soaring, Obama is looking for Clinton to vouch for his approach.
"Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said that Clinton has 'enormous credibility' with voters -- and not just Democrats -- because of his handling of the economy and the national debt. He 'knows how to explain difficult economic ideas in a way that everyone can relate to, not just in a historical context, but in a way that really touches people,' she said. 'People trust him on economic issues, and he's an important person to discuss how we got where we are and what is the choice we need to make between two different directions.'"
The recession ended 22 months before Clinton took office. Gross domestic product growth the quarter before Clinton took over was a snappy 4.2 percent. And the lengthy Times article makes no mention of Gingrich or the Republican Congress of the '90s.
Bill Clinton's genius lies in abandoning liberal positions -- whether HillaryCare or a multibillion dollar "stimulus plan" -- while convincing his supporters he did no such thing. Dazzling. The man could talk a monkey out of his last peanut -- and sell it back at list price.
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