2:30 pm Aug. 23, 2012
Maybe they admired Bill Clinton all along.
The Obama campaign has just unveiled an ad featuring the former president, and of course Clinton is scheduled to occupy a major speaking slot at the upcoming convention in Charlotte.
But back in 2008, remember, Obama wouldn’t give Clinton a break. While Americans were unhappy with George Bush’s stewardship of the economy, he said that the real problem was that jobs “fell through the Clinton Administration and the Bush Administration."
The reason much of the nation did not trust its government?
“The problems we face go beyond any single administration," he said. "For far too long, through both Democratic and Republican administrations, the system has been rigged against everyday Americans by the lobbyists that Wall Street uses to get its way.”
And perhaps most bruisingly, Obama said, “Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path … A return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”
It isn’t just Obama who has conveniently changed his mind on Clinton: Mitt Romney and much of the Republican Party want in on the action, too.
As Salon’s Steve Kornacki recently pointed out, the party that impeached Clinton and accused his wife of murder had come to some new realizations: "Suddenly, the Clintons embodied a bygone spirit of bipartisanship and political moderation that the radical, far-left Obama was intent on destroying," he write.
So Romney now praises Clinton’s approach to taxation and help for small businesses in his stump speech, reminding us that Clinton was a “New Democrat,” in contrast to the “extreme liberal” Obama. And on welfare, Romney falsely claims in ads and speeches that Obama is gutting its work requirement, turning back the reformist legacy of Clinton in the process.
Four years after being a pariah in some parts of his own party, Bill Clinton has become the Democrats’ most important surrogate, and has gone from the G.O.P.'s bogeyman to their model of a reasonable Democrat.
Miraculous stuff, even by the standards of the Comeback Kid.