by Max Brantley
A friend sent a link to Politico coverage of a panel discussion and unscripted remarks by Bill Clinton Friday that were part of three days of events marking the 20th anniversary of his announcement of a run for the White House. He responds forcefully here to those who'd credit Republicans for some of his ideas.
I liked what he had to say about the Republican/Tea Party controlling message of the moment:
“I’m telling you this to point out that we need a coherent narrative,” he said. “The No. 1 rule of effective politics, especially if the people you’re running against have a simple narrative — that government is always the problem, there is no such thing as a good tax or a bad tax cut, there’s no such thing as a good program or a bad program cut, no such thing as a good regulation or a bad deregulation — if you’re going to fight that, your counter has to be rooted in the lives of other people.”
His speech included an attack on the tea party governing philosophy.
“We need to understand that one of the things that tends to tilt things toward the Republicans’ anti-government narrative is our country was born out of a suspicion of government,” Clinton said. “King George’s government was not accountable to us. That’s what the Boston tea party was about. When the tea party started out, at least they were against unaccountable behavior from top to bottom. Then it morphed into something different. If you want to go against that grain, you’ve got to tell people you understand it’s a privilege and a responsibility to spend their tax money, but there’s some things we have to do together. And that’s what the purpose of government is, to do the things that we have to do together that we can’t do on our own.”
“If we can make that choice credible,” he added, “then our candidates — starting with the president — and our principles will be fine.”