Given the disastrous presidency of Little Lord Pontchartrain, it’s understandable why so many people look back fondly on Bill Clinton’s two terms. But it’s worth remembering that, in many ways, he really was Republican-lite–and he was proud of it. Dean Baker reminds us (italics mine):
In an article reporting on how the Republicans are backing away from the Ryan plan for privatizing Medicare. the NYT quoted former President Bill Clinton on the need to cut Medicare spending. Mr. Clinton was speaking a daylong conference of the deficit sponsored by Wall Street investment banker Peter Peterson.
It would have been worth reminding readers that Clinton is a big proponent of cuts to Social Security. At the deficit conference that Peterson sponsored last year, Clinton boasted that he had wanted to cut Social Security but congressional leaders from both parties blocked him. The cuts that he wanted would have reduced benefits by approximately 1 percent a year. This means that retirees in their 70s, 80s, or 90s, would be getting almost 15 percent less in Social Security benefits today, if President Clinton had gotten his way.
This is a slight bit of revisionism on Clinton’s part: after the Lewinsky affair broke, Clinton dropped this plan because he didn’t have the political clout to do something so unpopular. On the other hand, Senators Kennedy and Frist were holding hearings on antibiotic use in agriculture the day the semen-stained dress broke, and those hearings promptly disappeared into the ether, so it wasn’t all good either.