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Bill Clinton as popular as Pope Francis

National Journal:

[A]ccording to a new poll out from The Wall Street Journal and NBC, Bill Clinton has an approval rating as high as the pope's. Yes, both Clinton and Francis net a 55 percent approval rating. ...

This after NAFTA, Glass-Steagall, etc. As I keep saying, concrete material benefits matter; people look back on Clinton's era with nostalgia for the good times. [TROLL PROPHYLACTIC: Politically, it doesn't matter if they're wrong!]

Which is why Bill Clinton's endorsement is much sought-after:

Clinton is an unparalleled weapon for Democrats running this year. According to the new poll, 37 percent of voters are more likely to vote for a candidate this year if he or she has Clinton's endorsement. Only 27 percent say the opposite. That 10 percent net positive means that the Bill Clinton Stamp of Approval™ has the same positive impact on voters as a candidate having a abortion-rights stance (+11), or placing a major emphasis on conservative social and religious views (+13).
That ranking also confirms the former president is a vastly more powerful endorser than his wife. Hillary Clinton has a -9 percent net impact on voters, with 25 percent of voters more likely to vote for a candidate she endorses and 34 percent less likely. An endorsement from President Obama, meanwhile, has a solid net negative of 20 percent, about in line with what support for the tea party does for a candidate (-21).

And speaking of concrete material benefits, Obama finally signed an executive order raising the minimum wage for Federal contractors only:

The higher minimum wage for federal contractor employees will go into effect as new federal contracts are agree to, Perez said, taking “three to five years” for all federal contracts to be renewed.

The executive order increasing the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors’ employees served as free advertising for Democrats’ 2014 campaign call to raise the overall federal minimum wage. The White House on Wednesday launched websites advertising 2014 as a “Year of Action” and calling for Congress to hike the minimum wage.

Wowsers. A pathetically low $10.10 with a three-to-five year phase-in. That kind of "free advertising" should turn Democrat fortunes around! Reminds me of Clinton's SOTU proposal on school uniforms, after he hired that guy with the thing for toe-suckingMR SUBLIMINAL Dick Morris and started triangulating.

Too bad the "Year of Action" wasn't 2009. Maybe the Democrats wouldn't have shat the bed in the 2010 midterms and lost the House. Oh well.

NOTE Making the Big Dog America's favorite for "liberal washing."

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V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

The illiterati are many, and easily swayed by everything but reality. Always in search of magical thinking and magical answers...

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Insulting the intelligence of normal people, who mainly only have time to work and provide for their family, rather than spend hours, days, years dissecting current events, has worked incredibly well. On the other hand, people respond really well to concrete material benefits, as Lambert pointed out, no magical thinking required. Go figure.

"My life was better then." What is "magical thinking" or seeking a "magical answer" about that? Just because the "illiterati" aren't as educated or enlightened as we, doesn't mean they don't know when they are fucked. Bill Clinton understands this and exploits it, Obama, listening to the "Creatives" does not. The "Left" lacks any teeth because they feel that, while concrete material benefits might sound good, they aren't sure if it works in theory. Oh, and then, you know, the Clenis.

Submitted by lambert on

"What part don't they like? The peace or the prosperity?"

Relative to what followed, the Clinton era looks like paradise, just like the Bush era looks pretty good, except for that trillon-dollar kerfuffle in Iraq, but nobody's perfect!

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

I worked with ordinary, hardworking people, because I was one of them for 30 years. But I wasn't one of them for 30 years. Please do not preach lefty crap to me.
Most of "us" were smart and skilled, but I experienced few who looked beyond simplistic views of the world and politicians. The racism was rampant, along with jingoism and American exceptionalism. They practiced willful ignorance, IME. I found few kindred souls.

Submitted by lambert on

... is denial in the face of anxiety. I worked in factories for about 10 years, back when there were factories, and the conventional wisdom isn't exactly conducive. But then again, conventional wisdom changes slowly. Of all those received ideas, I think American exceptionalism is probably the most dangerous....

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...always a reason/excuse. Easily half of my working life was spent as blue collar; I and many others have seemed to find our way through the anxiety (and there was plenty), with union busting, strikes, layoffs, and uncertainty. My security was mastery of my trade (master machinist) and while still in the trade, I worked when I wanted regardless of the economy. But as time went on the stress levels got to insane heights. And, don't get me started on unions (Teamsters particularly), even though I basically support unions.
It was only after I left that field that employment became iffy.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I agree, and basically took V Arnold to be saying the same.

This problem often arises when one tries to classify any cohort as a monolith. (which we all tend to do, at some time)


V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

It seems that whenever attempting to assign responsibility for the nations distress; there are always those speaking as apologists for the ones shirking that responsibility. As a former blue collar worker how could I possibly have escaped the very scenarios attributed to the failure of corrective action by said stressed people? Belief systems (including religion), politics, education, and social status all play into the society. It just highlights the stratification that is so rampant today.
There are always excuses/reasons which I view as denial and denial can never lead to cure/resolution. Given the gravity of the situation I don't think it's unfair to paint with a broad brush.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

And yes, Lambert attributed denial as well and obviously I agree.

hyperpolarizer's picture
Submitted by hyperpolarizer on

To repeat a comment I made earlier:

Briefly: Clinton, for all his corporatist baggage, is not a sociopath; Obama is. He really doesn't care a hang about people. All of the nuance we are discussing flows from this distinction, from which we may trace the relative benefits and good times accruing from Clinton's policy choices, in comparison with the disgraceful record of the successor regimes.

One illustrative moment (among many) concerning Obama's true character came with his jokes about droning his daughters' potential suitors. Anyone who jokes about drone strikes, while possessing the power to order one, qualifies as a sociopath.

Submitted by lambert on

I can't imagine Clinton making that drone joke. I thought that was deeply weird and truly disgusting at the time, and still do. And then there's the "I'm good at killing" remark.

Not that nice guys climb to the top of the greasy pole. But Obama's one cold-hearted dude.

Submitted by Hugh on

What people remember about Clinton is the 23 million jobs created during his Administration and his "I feel your pain" shtick. However, income inequality increased more under him than Roanald Reagan or George Bush. No surprise for this last one if you also remember his Treasury Secretaries were Robert Rubin and Larry Summers. And it was on his watch that the stage was set for the great financial crisis with the deregulation of derivatives in the Commodities Futures Modernization Act and the repeal of the last vestiges of Glass-Steagall in Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Clinton was also the one who bragged about ending "welfare as we know it."

During the Clinton years and before the GFC, I defended Clinton as the one serious, half way decent President we had had in decades, but after the meltdown I started reassessing him. If you forget about the Democratic and Republican labels, Clinton was just one in a succession of Presidents going back to Carter and extending to Obama who were building kleptocracy and practising class war. The atmospherics of the Presidencies of the last 40 years have varied but not their service to the rich and elites and their disservice to the rest of us.

Submitted by lambert on

We've had this discussion a million times, and over and over again somehow the discussion gets dragged back to "However, Clinton sucked, because ______." All true! And also why I added the qualifier "This after NAFTA, Glass-Steagall" and the even more pointed "Politically, it doesn't matter if they're wrong!"

I wish we could get out of the mode of telling people "You're wrong, and if you think your life was better then, then you're either ignorant or you've got some sort of false memory syndrome."

The essential point, the lesson, is that people did remember the concrete material benefit:

That's why the 12 point are organized the way they are.