Monday, September 25, 2006


Should we have taken him out?

Should we have taken him out? Should we blame Clinton for not? What about Bush?

Is it even appropriate to use hired guns to handle foreign policy? Have we learned anything from our previous mistakes in this area?

You know what I am talking about...

Part of me wants to blame Clinton for not handling things before 9/11 and the other part wants to scold this braggart for his statements on being the closest one to killing him.

Why is he even in the news anyways? Comments?

We should not have taken him out. We also should not have angered him. We should have opened up trade with willing partners in the region more.

Good distinction though. So many on the right saying, "We should have taken him out when we could..." are wrong b/c it assumes that another wouldn't have taken his place. And, it doesn't mean we should try to take him out now that we can't.

But both parts disagrees with Clinton? ;)

The reason why he's in the news is pretty simple; the critics put him there. Ever since the Path to 9/11 miniseries came out, pundits are back to tossing around the issue of how much blame the Clinton admin should bear. Clinton is simply defending himself and his administration (no doubt this came up as part of the interview).

On your other point, I don’t think Clinton is being a braggart. If someone was accusing me of doing nothing to counter the group that was responsible for the most deadly terrorist attack on US soil, but I thought I had, I would be just as defensive. The fact is that Clinton came very close to killing Bin Laden on at least one occasion (during his bombing of afganistan after the African embassy bombings). Did he come the "closest"? I don’t know. But I don’t think it’s an inappropriate argument to make.

But on your more fundamental point, how are we distributing “blame” here? Were the Clinton and Bush administrations “guilty” of negligence, just because the attacks happened? By what standard?

America is confronted with many enemies and like it or not we live in a world of scarce resources. It would be nice if we could prevent every attack and destroy every threat, but it isn’t realistic. Shouldn’t we judge our leader's performance based on the knowledge and resources they had at the time? Not what we wished they had?
Well, I really have no reason to believe anything that comes out of his mouth. He always seemed like a habitual liar. Bush at least appears genuine, but a bit like a doofus.

I really don't like either fellow talking about who did a better job at killing thousands of people in a foreign country, as some sort of appropriate action or response to hostility abroad. So, yes both sides disagree with Clinton. It it pretty much the same for the Bush Administration.

I don't think either are guilty of negligence, unless pro-active military action is the norm for American foreign policy. (You could probably make an argument that it is...)

Of course, either one could have done a better job, but how appropriate is it to allocate blame at all since hindsight is 20/20?
I agree with your point about the difficulty of judging with hindsight.

But I gotta say, I really like Bill Clinton. He took stands on unpopular issues that made sense ('93 tax hikes?). He ain't a perfect guy, but I think he did alright. We could do a lot worse.
"He took stands on unpopular issues that made sense ('93 tax hikes?)."

Explain this. I barely even remember 1993, so what did he do and why did it make sense?

On a similar note, I'm glad he carried out NAFTA despite its unpopularity. However, I bet he did a lot of popular things that didn't make sense as well. Politicians have to.
So, in retrospect, as Libertarians, do we like Clinton better than Bush, and if so, do we hope for a Democrat to win in '08?
That question deserves its own thread - you should start it, Nathan.

For starters, I'd like to mention that parties and people aren't the same thing. I'll have to elaborate on this's time for my class.
NAFTA if it was actually free trade


Not tax hikes, but spending cuts

Sorry for late response. I was working until almost 9 o’clock last night. Ugggggg.

Here’s a quick reply. OBRA'93 was the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. The bill raised a variety of taxes for the purpose of closing the budget deficit.

It was a good idea because financing government consumption with debt will result in lower living standards in the future (assuming everything else to stay constant). Not to mention the fact that large budget deficits can work to suppress economic growth by putting upward pressure on the interest rate and discouraging investment.

Clinton was smart to realize these negative consequences early and admirable for sticking to deficit reduction even when it meant sacrificing large parts of his domestic agenda. For details you can check out The Agenda and All Too Human. These books were considered “damning” when they were first published (I guess because they portrayed Clinton as moody), but I think they really highlight his political integrity. *shrug* Robert Rubin also has some good info in his autobiography.

Now reasonable people can disagree about this. But I think it’s hard to say taking a stand on a politically unpopular position you believe in, and giving up things you want in order to do so, doesn’t take guts. That doesn’t mean he never played politics (he’s a politician after all), but I think he deserves more credit than he gets.
Why do Democrats frown upon wealth transfers from the future to the present while they are perfectly fine with wealth transfers from the rich to the poor? Are we not richer in the future, given the fairly steady rate of economic growth since WWII?

Also, you can close deficits by spending less. Has anyone ever tried this?
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