If you live in Virginia, you’ve seen the Bill Clinton ad about “the choice” – in fact, you probably couldn’t avoid the ad if you tried. What you didn’t see, or hear, was the truth.
Clinton begins by artful denigrating “the Republican plan,” which he defined as “to cut more taxes on upper-income people, and go back to deregulation” (Politico). He promptly opines, “That’s what got us in trouble in the first place.” There’s only one problem with that – it isn’t true.
In fact, “to cut more taxes on upper-income people, and go back to deregulation” isn’t “the Republican plan,” it was Clinton’s policy. In 1997, Clinton signed into law a capital-gains tax cut, which lopped off the highest-income rate from 28% to 20%. Two years later, he signed into law the most emphatic financial deregulation since the Great Depression (the repeal of Glass-Steagall). By contrast, the Republican Administration that followed him enacted re-regulation (to an extent) of the financial sector with Sarbanes-Oxley.
This is not to say deregulation was a mistake, or to defend Sarbanes-Oxley – in fact, Clinton’s deregulation expansion was much stronger and had a far milder end than the Bush/Sarbanes-Oxley version. It is to say that Clinton is deliberately fudging the record in order to defend a president whose reckless spending and regulatory zeal is far closer to the “Republican” who “got us in trouble in the first place” then anything he actually did as President.
Of course, Clinton would tell you that his 1997 upper-income tax-reduction was just part of a broader tax cut for everyone. You know who else has that idea? Mitt Romney. But Clinton probably doesn’t want to talk about that either.
So, to sum up, Bill Clinton fudged his own record as president; transformed George W. Bush from the actual big-government Republican he is into a fictitious anarchist strawman; and pounded Romney for proposing…something he himself did while in the White House.
Bill Clinton says voters have “a choice.” Now at least they have the truth, too.
Cross-posted to Bearing Drift