Yes, Bill Clinton gave a phenomenal speech at the Democratic Convention last week, and yes, he fired up the base and provided immeasurable help to Barack Obama’s campaign. But the theme of Clinton’s speech was “Republicans created the mess we’re in, and only Democrats can fix it”. Sadly, this isn’t technically true. As Robert Scheer points out:
Do those convention delegates, and the fawning media that were wowed by the former president’s rhetorical seductions, not recall that just before he left office Clinton signed off on the game-changing legislation that ended the sensible rules imposed on Wall Street during the Great Depression? It was Clinton who cooperated with the Republicans in reversing the legacy of FDR’s New Deal, opening the floodgates of unfettered avarice that almost drowned the world’s economy during the reign of George W. Bush.
How convenient to ignore the Financial Services Modernization Act, which Clinton signed into law to summarily end the Glass-Steagall barrier against the commingling of investment and commercial banking. Do the Democrats not remember that Citigroup, the first too-big-to-fail bank made legal by the law Clinton signed, became the $15 million employer of Robert Rubin, the Clinton treasury secretary who led the fight for the law that legalized the creation of Citigroup? Or that Citigroup—led by Sanford Weill, to whom Clinton gave one of the souvenir pens he used to approve that onerous legislation—went on to be a major player in the subprime mortgage swindles and had to be bailed out with more than $50 billion of taxpayer funds?
It’s easy to get caught up in the election hullabaloo, pick sides then cheer lead your candidate as if they could do no wrong. But that’s not defensible from an intellectual or moral point of view. Clinton was instrumental in creating the foundations for the economic meltdown in 2008 – a fact he is no doubt aware of. It’s good that Clinton has come back on the side of sanity and advocates the intelligent regulation of Wall St, but his glossing over of his record is pretty shameless.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.