Dead Presidents

Historical facts, thoughts, ramblings and collections on the Presidency and about the Presidents of the United States.

By Anthony Bergen
E-Mail: bergen.anthony@gmail.com
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Posts tagged "Republicans"

In last week’s cover story, Chris Christie’s Loss Is (Someone’s Gain), Politico Magazine asked leading Republicans and Conservative thinkers who might be able to take advantage of the troubles facing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and become the frontrunner for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016. Many of those who answered mentioned people like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, or Scott Walker.

Except for Tom Ridge. The former Governor of Pennsylvania and first Secretary of Homeland Security gave the best answer, the smartest answer, the right answer — the answer which should make Republicans wonder, “What about Tom Ridge?”:

With due respect to your premise, I’d prefer we focus on our party’s message, not our messenger. If Republicans wants to govern, we must win national elections. To do so, the narcissists and ideologues within our party need to understand that Americans are more conservative than liberal, but are more practical than ideological and more tolerant and open-minded than judgmental. They are also looking for real, not rhetorical solutions. Let’s focus on the message now and the messenger later. If we don’t get the former right, the latter won’t matter.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
The favorites for the democrat and republican nominations in 2016 are already pretty obvious even if we don't know if they are running for sure. If those favorites decide not to run and you take them out of the equation, who are some surprise candidates on each side that people might not know very well but who could possibly win? Are there any?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

First of all, I personally don’t think that there is a frontrunner for the 2016 Republican Presidential nomination yet.  The GOP is a mess right now.  Of course, we hear certain names being tossed around, but a lot of those names are the Tea Party Republicans.  People like to talk about the Tea Party Republicans as if they are credible Presidential candidates because they are adept at capturing headlines, but I will confidently and adamantly continue to say this: none of the politicians who are identified as leaders of the Tea Party wing of the GOP will be elected President of the United States.  They make a lot of noise, they get a lot of TV time, and they might even raise a lot of money…but they cannot win a national election.  They can’t even win the GOP nomination.  It’s not going to happen.  Maybe they can stretch out the primary process by splitting the GOP, but that’s only going to hurt the Republican Party, not result in a Tea Party candidate as the nominee.

So, with that said, who is a dark horse from the GOP that could surprise people?  Well, right now it seems insane to suggest that a Republican member of the House of Representatives or U.S. Senate could be a Presidential contender, but I’ve been worried about Senator John Thune of South Dakota since 2007.  Senator Thune didn’t run in 2008 or 2012, but Thune would be a formidable candidate.  He is experienced, he is well-respected, he isn’t a bomb-thrower, he comes across as Presidential, he’s solidly Conservative and should appeal to the GOP’s base, yet he doesn’t come across as an extremist.  John Thune could absolutely be elected President if he decided to take a shot at the White House.

As for the Democrats, President Obama still has three years left in his term, yet Hillary Clinton has been all but crowned as his successor and the leader the party.  Nearly everybody thinks that she’s going to run and, if so, that she will win.  Vice President Biden, who has been a loyal, hard-working, efficient, and important partner to Obama, is waiting in the wings just in case Hillary decides not to run.  Hillary and Biden are the obvious frontrunners.

But the Democrats have a superstar-in-the-making who also has nowhere to go but the White House and, quite frankly, with the right campaign, with the perfect introduction to the American people, and if he caught the right breaks since anything can happen in Presidential primaries, Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley could shock the establishment and steal the nomination from Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden.

Governor O’Malley is Bill Clinton in 1992, except O’Malley is more experienced, tougher, and doesn’t have the “weaknesses” that almost cost Clinton the Democratic nomination in ‘92 and ended up leading to his impeachment.  Like Senator Thune, O’Malley looks like a President.  Now, being telegenic and charismatic doesn’t make someone a good President, but it sure as hell helps with getting elected.  O’Malley is a proven executive with a record he can run on while also pointing out that he isn’t part of Washington’s business-as-usual.  He’s had a successful political career with a variety of significant experience, but he’s never served in American’s least popular institution — Congress, his name isn’t Bush or Clinton, and he hasn’t served in previous Presidential Administrations like many of Washington’s other recycled bureaucrats.  Could Martin O’Malley be President of the United States?  Without a doubt.

It’s only October 2013, and the more famous 2016 contenders will continue to hog headlines until Iowa and New Hampshire, but keep your eyes on Senator John Thune and Governor Martin O’Malley.     

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Is the Republican Party racist?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

No.  It’s ignorant and unfair to make a blanket declaration like that about an entire organization.  Especially when that particular organization was largely founded by anti-slavery advocates and was the party that gave us Abraham Lincoln.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
it seems like to me that more governors have a better shot at running for president then congress members. i know it's early and your not too into guessing about 2016 yet but are there governors who might have a shot at the nominations?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

A Governor’s office has definitely been a better launching pad for the Presidency — particularly in the last 40 years — than seeking the White House directly from either wing of the Capitol.

You’re correct about me not wanting to contribute to the beginning of the 2016 election cycle just yet and even the primaries are far enough away that it’s almost useless to speculate because so much can happen, but yes, there are definitely some Governors who could be contenders.

Unfortunately for some of those contenders the timing is going to be tough because the strongest pool of potential candidates are on the Democratic side.  There are actually some really solid Democratic Governors who will probably be overlooked during the 2016 election cycle because the Democrats have two big-name, superstar frontrunners in line before they even start to consider other options.  For a current Democratic Governor to break through and contend for the 2016 Presidential nomination, they’ll have to get by Hillary Clinton or Vice President Biden.  That won’t be easy, it might not be possible, and I doubt either Hillary or Biden will step aside.

If so, however, there are more than a few Democratic Governors that would have a shot at making a splash on the nation stage.  Of course, there is a pretty big-name Democratic Governor out there in New York’s Andrew Cuomo.  I’m sure Maryland’s Martin O’Malley, Connecticut’s Dan Malloy, and Colorado’s John Hickenlooper are keeping their eyes on the plans of Hillary Clinton and Vice President Biden.  I think Governor O’Malley would be a strong candidate in an open race.

The Democrats also have some lesser-known (maybe even widely unknown) Governors who I think are showing themselves to be fantastic chief executives and who could probably raise some eyebrows if the country had an opportunity to know them.  Governor Markell of Delaware was re-elected with nearly 70% of the vote in November. Arkansas’s Mike Beebe is consistently rated as one of the best Governors in the nation. Steve Beshear has done some good work in Kentucky and Governor Bullock of Montana and Governor Shumlin of Vermont live in states where the spotlight doesn’t shine, but if it did it would show states with citizens very satisfied with their man in the statehouse.

California’s Jerry Brown is a big-name and is the Governor of a big state where he has done a far better-than-expected job — not because people doubted him, but because people doubted that anyone could turn things around in California.  Unfortunately for Brown, he’ll be 78 years old in 2016.  Vice President Biden, who will turn 74 a couple of weeks after Election Day 2016, will have enough trouble with the age issue.  It’s something Brown definitely won’t be able to overcome.  If Governor Brown were ten years younger, he’d be a front-runner for the Presidency (even with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in the race).  

On the Republican side, New Jersey’s Chris Christie is going to be a contender if he steps into the race for the GOP nomination in 2016.  Rick Perry (Texas) should be too damaged from his disastrous primary bid in 2012 to ever run again, but he can probably rehabilitate himself and Republicans will give him a pass because he looks like a President is supposed to look and is from Texas.  Governor Kasich of Ohio is from a battleground state that the GOP needs, but Kasich might not even be able to win Ohio’s votes for Governor if another election was held tomorrow.  Michigan’s Rick Snyder is in a better position, but it would be pretty tough to say, “If you want to fix the economy, elect our guy — the Governor of Michigan.”  

The Republican Party’s movers and shakers love Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and would love for him to be the new face of the GOP because he’s from the South but he’s brown and changes the perception of the party as one of old white men.  Unfortunately for the GOP, everytime I hear Governor Jindal speak, I get angry because it sounds like he’s being condescending and reading me a bedtime story.  Jindal simply doesn’t come across well on anything that I have ever seen him on.  He did the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address a few years ago and I still remember it solely because I thought he could be a contender in the future and it ended up being so terrible that I actually felt bad for him.

He’s not flashy or exciting or all that well-known, but the Republicans have a very solid executive in their ranks with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.  He looks like the type of guy that the GOP would nominate for President, and I know that the GOP is actively trying to avoid that and shake things up, but Governor McDonnell does his job well, doesn’t rock the boat, has really good approval ratings, and has the credentials and the resume to lock up the base.  That’s the type of candidate that I’d be afraid to run against.  Also, I think Nevada’s Brian Sandoval is a potential superstar for the GOP.  Again, like McDonnell, he’s not flashy or anything, but Governor Sandoval is Hispanic and young and if you don’t think that’s enough for the Republicans to want to put him on their posters, well, you haven’t met Reince Priebus (who sounds like he was named after a Norwegian hybrid car).  Sandoval still needs to do more, but he has potential for the Republicans, and he would definitely be able to be a top fundraiser.

But if the Republicans really want a chance at winning in 2016, they need to nominate a former Governor — Jon Huntsman — and just let the nation get to know him.

Anonymous asked:  How much would you pay to be able to laugh at Mitt Romney tonight and keep reminding him about how much he lost by? Good riddance to you Mittens.

Just because I voted for Barack Obama doesn’t mean that I want to see Mitt Romney destroyed, or even hurt.  I don’t agree with Governor Romney’s politics, but I don’t wish him ill and I certainly wouldn’t disrespect him.

This is the problem with American politics — Americans like the person who asked this question.  They are on both sides of the aisle and they are equally horrible for our country.  Last night, I found no glory in the fact that Mitt Romney lost; instead, I was hopeful and happy that Barack Obama won.  I didn’t go to the polls to vote against Mitt Romney; I was there to vote for Barack Obama.

Much like John McCain four years ago, Mitt Romney went out with class last night, and he deserves our respect.  I have never thought that Mitt Romney was a bad man.  I thought Obama would be a better President, but there was never any hatred on my part for Romney.  We can disagree with his politics or the way he campaigns, but there is no reason to look at Mitt Romney as a villain.

Yes, Governor Romney is incredibly wealthy and was probably out-of-touch with “average Americans” like you and me.  But with all of that money, Romney could live a life of leisure and never have to work at anything again.  Instead, what did he do?  He devoted himself to public service.  There’s no question that he loves his family and has a great relationship with them.  He spent a significant amount of time in a leadership role with his church — not just by sitting in a pew every Sunday but by taking a leadership role where he gave up time to help the families and people of his community.  Saving the Salt Lake City Olympics, serving as Governor of Massachusetts, running for President in 2008 and 2012 — none of those things were token jobs where Romney was a figurehead that got the credit while others did the work.  They were all challenges that Romney tackled with hard work and, in each instant, he “left everything on the field”, as he said in his concession speech last night.

Make no mistake about it — running for President is one of the most difficult, exhausting, and thankless journeys that an American can take.  Everyone who runs for President makes tremendous sacrifices, and nobody seeks the Presidency because they are bad people who want to do harm to the United States.  Candidates for the Presidency like Mitt Romney — win or lose — are patriots.  They have a vision for this country and the passion to put themselves on the frontline.  To serve all of us.

Laugh at Mitt Romney?  Taunt him?  No, I would thank Mitt Romney.  I’d tell him that I may not have cast a ballot for him, but that I appreciate the sacrifices he made in order to try to move our country forward.  I’d admit that I disagree with his politics, but that I respect his beliefs and admire his passion for going after what he felt was right.  I’d tell him that I know last night was probably one of the most difficult experiences of his life, but that he conceded with class, he demonstrated a remarkable work ethic throughout the campaign, and that I hoped that my fellow Democrats would have offered their support of him if Obama had lost as seamlessly and earnestly as he offered his support for the President during his concession.

We cannot and will not bridge the divisions in this country if we continue to be ugly towards each other.  Politics alone will not take us where we need to be.  There must be some magnanimity, some cooperation, some compromise between all of us — from the President and the Congress to the State Governors and Legislatures, and right on down to you and me and our neighbors.  “Politics” and “compromise” are dirty words because we drag them through the mud along with anyone connected to those ideas.  That has to stop.  It has to stop between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, it has to stop between the talking heads on cable news networks, and it has to stop with people who anonymously leave messages on blogs encouraging a celebration over the heartbreaking defeat of someone who put everything on the line to serve his country.  Celebrate Obama’s victory, not Romney’s defeat.  Congratulate Obama and his supporters, but don’t hesitate to appreciate Romney’s work ethic and devotion to service.

We are at our best when all of us — or at least the largest majority of us — are moving forward.  We are at our best when we remember the first word in our nation’s name is “United”.  The idea of a constant conflict pitting Democrats vs. Republicans where one side must win and one side must lose is not progress.  It’s Civil War without violence — but not without casualties.  As someone who knew something about Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant, once said, “Let us have peace.”  We should follow General Grant’s advice and add, “Let us have progress.”  With peace and progress will come prosperity for all of our people.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
How much would you pay to be able to laugh at Mitt Romney tonight and keep reminding him about how much he lost by? Good riddance to you Mittens.
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Just because I voted for Barack Obama doesn’t mean that I want to see Mitt Romney destroyed, or even hurt.  I don’t agree with Governor Romney’s politics, but I don’t wish him ill and I certainly wouldn’t disrespect him.

This is the problem with American politics — Americans like the person who asked this question.  They are on both sides of the aisle and they are equally horrible for our country.  Last night, I found no glory in the fact that Mitt Romney lost; instead, I was hopeful and happy that Barack Obama won.  I didn’t go to the polls to vote against Mitt Romney; I was there to vote for Barack Obama.

Much like John McCain four years ago, Mitt Romney went out with class last night, and he deserves our respect.  I have never thought that Mitt Romney was a bad man.  I thought Obama would be a better President, but there was never any hatred on my part for Romney.  We can disagree with his politics or the way he campaigns, but there is no reason to look at Mitt Romney as a villain.

Yes, Governor Romney is incredibly wealthy and was probably out-of-touch with “average Americans” like you and me.  But with all of that money, Romney could live a life of leisure and never have to work at anything again.  Instead, what did he do?  He devoted himself to public service.  There’s no question that he loves his family and has a great relationship with them.  He spent a significant amount of time in a leadership role with his church — not just by sitting in a pew every Sunday but by taking a leadership role where he gave up time to help the families and people of his community.  Saving the Salt Lake City Olympics, serving as Governor of Massachusetts, running for President in 2008 and 2012 — none of those things were token jobs where Romney was a figurehead that got the credit while others did the work.  They were all challenges that Romney tackled with hard work and, in each instant, he “left everything on the field”, as he said in his concession speech last night.

Make no mistake about it — running for President is one of the most difficult, exhausting, and thankless journeys that an American can take.  Everyone who runs for President makes tremendous sacrifices, and nobody seeks the Presidency because they are bad people who want to do harm to the United States.  Candidates for the Presidency like Mitt Romney — win or lose — are patriots.  They have a vision for this country and the passion to put themselves on the frontline.  To serve all of us.

Laugh at Mitt Romney?  Taunt him?  No, I would thank Mitt Romney.  I’d tell him that I may not have cast a ballot for him, but that I appreciate the sacrifices he made in order to try to move our country forward.  I’d admit that I disagree with his politics, but that I respect his beliefs and admire his passion for going after what he felt was right.  I’d tell him that I know last night was probably one of the most difficult experiences of his life, but that he conceded with class, he demonstrated a remarkable work ethic throughout the campaign, and that I hoped that my fellow Democrats would have offered their support of him if Obama had lost as seamlessly and earnestly as he offered his support for the President during his concession.

We cannot and will not bridge the divisions in this country if we continue to be ugly towards each other.  Politics alone will not take us where we need to be.  There must be some magnanimity, some cooperation, some compromise between all of us — from the President and the Congress to the State Governors and Legislatures, and right on down to you and me and our neighbors.  “Politics” and “compromise” are dirty words because we drag them through the mud along with anyone connected to those ideas.  That has to stop.  It has to stop between the Democrats and Republicans in Congress, it has to stop between the talking heads on cable news networks, and it has to stop with people who anonymously leave messages on blogs encouraging a celebration over the heartbreaking defeat of someone who put everything on the line to serve his country.  Celebrate Obama’s victory, not Romney’s defeat.  Congratulate Obama and his supporters, but don’t hesitate to appreciate Romney’s work ethic and devotion to service.

We are at our best when all of us — or at least the largest majority of us — are moving forward.  We are at our best when we remember the first word in our nation’s name is “United”.  The idea of a constant conflict pitting Democrats vs. Republicans where one side must win and one side must lose is not progress.  It’s Civil War without violence — but not without casualties.  As someone who knew something about Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant, once said, “Let us have peace.”  We should follow General Grant’s advice and add, “Let us have progress.”  With peace and progress will come prosperity for all of our people.

Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives
Robert Draper
Hardcover.  327 pp.
April 24, 2012.  Free Press.



John Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan who represents the western suburbs of Detroit, Dearborn, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Monroe in the United States House of Representatives is the Dean of the House.  In a couple of months, Congressman Dingell will celebrate his 86th birthday.  If he wins his campaign in November, as he has done the last 28 times he’s been on the ballot, and serves past June 8, 2013, he will have spent more time in Congress than any American in history.  Right now, only two Americans in 223 years of American History have served longer in Congress.  Nobody has spent more time in the House of Representatives.  Dingell joined the House on December 13, 1955, succeeding his father, John Dingell, Sr., who had died a few months earlier.  Between the current Congressman Dingell and his father, somebody named John Dingell has represented Michigan in the U.S. House of Representatives for almost 80 consecutive years.

If anybody is an expert on the lower chamber of Congress — the people’s chamber — it is John Dingell.  If anybody can give an educated opinion on the state of America’s legislative branch, it is this aging World War II veteran who has held office in Washington, D.C. through the Administrations of 11 Presidents (Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama).  John Dingell’s ties to the House of Representatives even include five years as page where he watched his father work alongside legislative titans and stood transfixed on the floor of the House during the joint session of Congress where President Franklin D. Roosevelt mourned the “day which will live in infamy” and declared war on Japan.

After nearly 57 years as a member of the House of Representatives and 75 years as a keen observer of Congress’s lower chamber, John Dingell has seemingly experienced it all, but the 112th Congress — the current session, which began on January 3, 2011 and saw Republicans take control of the House after the disastrous 2010 midterm elections for House Democrats — is difficult to deal with.  In Robert Draper’s new book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives (Free Press, 2012), Dingell admits that “I’m more frustrated than I’ve ever been in my career.”  The Dean of the House tries to flip through the pages of political history that he has personally experienced, yet he can’t find another example of an organization or individual who had approval ratings as low as the 9% approval rating that Americans have for the 112th Congress.  In fact, Dingell finally says, “I think pedophiles would do better.”

Robert Draper is a top-notch journalist for publications such as the New York Times Magazine, GQ, and National Geographic, and his previous book, Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush (BOOKKINDLE), was a fascinating insider account of the Executive branch as President Bush’s two terms were coming to a close.  Do Not Ask What Good We Do is just as intriguing, perhaps more so because instead of a White House with one leader and nearly everyone else working toward the same goals, the House of Representatives is full of 435 very different Americans from very different parts of the country.  And while the House is controlled by a Republican Party that currently holds on to a 52-vote majority over the Democrats, the two parties themselves have major ideological differences within them.

Do Not Ask What Good We Do focuses on a handful of House members.  Some of Draper’s subjects are very well-known and very influential like current Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Dingell (D-MI), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), disgraced former New York Democrat Anthony Weiner, and the courageous Arizona Democrat Gabrielle Giffords who was nearly killed in an assassination attempt in her Congressional district at the beginning of the 112th Congress.  But Draper also looks at some of the 87 freshmen who helped the Republicans take back the House in November 2010 thanks to their Tea Party credentials and relentless opposition to anything and everything that President Barack Obama has attempted to do, particularly Florida’s Allen West, Missouri’s Billy Long, Blake Farenthold of Texas, Renee Elmers of North Carolina, Raul Labrador of Idaho, and South Carolina’s “Four Horsemen” freshmen: Jeff Duncan, Tim Scott, Trey Gowdy, and Mick Mulvaney.

By introducing us to some of the personalities who are responsible for crafting and passing legislation, Draper helps us understand why John Dingell is so frustrated, why nothing is getting done, and why the approval rating of Congress is in single digits.  We see Tea Party Republican freshmen whose intransigence not only provide headaches for the Democratic President, the Democratic Senate, or the Democratic House minority, but also for moderate Republicans or Congressional veterans who are never conservative enough for the newcomers who hold up bills and refuse to compromise.  While there are admirable, hard-working, pragmatic legislators on both sides of the aisle, there are also Members of Congress — people that were somehow elected by a majority of Americans to represent their district in the House of Representatives — like Idaho’s Republican freshman Raul Labrador who is quoted in a Republican conference telling Speaker Boehner, “I didn’t come to Washington to be part of a team.”  Or, Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee, whose obsession with tacking on amendments, need to make a floor speech about something every morning, and stubborn attitude is one of the most blatant examples I’ve ever seen of government waste.

Do Not Ask What Good We Do is a fascinating book, but tremendously frustrating.  The frustration doesn’t come from Robert Draper’s first-class reporting or his ability to put personalities to the faces and names we see on C-SPAN; it comes from the frightening fact that if, as many Americans believe, our system is broken and needs to be fixed, the repairs should start with the House of Representatives.  The Senate is the more deliberative body of Congress — designed to represent the states equally.  The House is supposed to be the people’s chamber — designed to represent us, the average American voter or taxpayer, as directly as possible.  I’m scared for my country if these are the best 435 people we have to represent us.  Not all of the members of the House are equally horrible, but enough of them are bad that I worry for my country.  I am saddened for my country if we can’t do better than many of these men and women that we send to Congress to represent the districts that we live in.  We have to be able to do better.  We must do better.

Draper’s title — Do Not Ask What Good We Do — comes from one of this country’s original members of Congress, Fisher Ames of Massachusetts, who wrote of Congress in 1796, “If we should finish and leave the world right side up, it will be happy.  Do not ask what good we do: that is not a fair question, in these days of faction.”  Thanks to Draper’s revealing account of the current House of Representatives, we can look at the 112th Congress and know not to ask what good they do, for there hasn’t been anything of note in the past two years that has made our lives better.  We know that we don’t need to ask how bad they’ve been; the 9% approval rating answers that question clearly.  Instead, we should ask ourselves: “Can we do better?” and “Is it January 3, 2013 yet?”.      

Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives by Robert Draper is available now from Free Press.  You can order the book from Amazon, or download it instantly for your Kindle.  Robert Draper is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, and GQ.  His previous book was the New York Times best-seller, Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush (BOOKKINDLE).  Robert Draper is also on Twitter @draperrobert.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
This isn't really about presidents as many other questions, but what do you think the possibilities are of there being a major third party (i.e. besides Democrats and Republicans) any time soon?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

I think it would be good for the country but so bad for the two major parties that a solid third party is almost impossible in this country.  When Republicans or Democrats start to splinter into groups, they do an effective job of finding a target in the other party to marshal their forces against and unite the party once more.

It is actually pretty fascinating how a country of divisiveness like ours has been dominated by just two political parties for so long.  If there was a third party, I think it would be a party of moderate Republicans and Democrats who gathered to push through a third way. 

The problem with that is the unfortunate fact that in our country moderation means “weakness” and centrist is a pejorative term.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Why did the republicans hate Clinton so much when he was president? His policies were pretty moderate and he did a lot to deregulate the economy (which republicans ought to have loved). Yet it seems that the republicans were out to destroy him from day one. Any idea why?
deadpresidents deadpresidents Said:

Republicans wanted to destroy Bill Clinton for many reasons, but first and foremost was because it was easy.  Clinton was morally vulnerable and the best way to tarnish his legacy and take votes away from him and support away from his policies was to shine a spotlight on the fact that he was a sleaze.  Clinton made it very easy for Republicans to paint him with that brush.  It’s as if he poured the paint himself and handed them rollers.

Another reason was because Newt Gingrich and his political organization were gaining traction and finding that there was an opportunity for Republicans to win the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.  Creating the “Contract With America, taking control of the House and combating Clinton at every step was supposed to be the beginning of this great Republican domination.  Unfortunately for them, they misjudged the mood of the country and found that America was willing to have a President who couldn’t keep his pants zipped up and tended to lie (“Unusually good”, as Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey once said) if the economy was rocking and things were relatively peaceful.

The biggest misfire on the part of the Republicans was impeachment, which showed Clinton’s strength because as he was on trial in the Senate, he had approval ratings that Barack Obama would kill for in 2010.  Not only that, but the moral outrage was hypocritical when the Speaker of the House (Gingrich) resigned during the impeachment process because of extramarital affairs and his designated replacement (Bob Livingston of Louisiana) followed suit and also resigned before he even took the gavel.

Clinton was an easy target and his wife was polarizing enough to make the target even bigger.  Republicans hoped to cripple his Presidency from the outset and their big Congressional victories in 1994 were a direct and solid repudiation of Clinton’s administration.  However, Clinton came back and did a lot of great things that made a lot of people happy, even while we were often disappointed in his personal choices.  While Republicans hoped that Clinton would be not only vulnerable but easily beatable in 1996, they put forth Bob Dole as their Presidential nominee.  Dole was a decorated soldier, a wonderful man, and a five-star Senator.  But he was 73 years old, seemed a bit grumpy and out-of-touch, and had NO chance of beating Clinton. 

I think that just angered Republicans even more and they spent the rest of Clinton’s Presidency taking every opportunity to try to bring him down.  Bill Clinton’s biggest problem was the fact that he gave them plenty of good reasons to keep trying to target him and gave them unlimited resources by signing a continuation of the stupid, pointless, terrible, damaging, out-of-control Independent Counsel law.