When Bill Clinton spoke at the Democratic National Convention … he had the COMPLETE attention of the entire arena. And he didn’t disappoint. Former President Clinton spoke to Americans who remember and yearn for a return to the success of the 90′s. He completely dismantled the lies of the Romney campaign and conservativism in general; he passionately called out “The emperor has no clothes”.
Here is my deconstruction of his speech:
Clinton: A man who ran for President to change the course of an already weak economy and then just six weeks before the election, saw it suffer the biggest collapse since the Great Depression. A man who stopped the slide into depression and put us on the long road to recovery, knowing all the while that no matter how many jobs were created and saved, there were still millions more waiting, trying to feed their children and keep their hopes alive.
Fact: 93% of the economists surveyed by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business believed that the Obama stimulus i.e. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 helped reduce unemployment. (source) Every single House Republican voted against it and only 2 Republican Senators voted for it (source).
Clinton: One of the main reasons America should re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to cooperation.
If Obama extends his hand in partnership and conservatives slap it away … are they both equally responsible? No. And we know that conservatives have been blocking the economic recovery since even before Obama’s first day in office in order to win politically (source). And since Republicans took over the House – this Congress has been the least productive Congress in modern history (source).
Clinton: President Obama’s record on national security is a tribute to his strength, and judgment, and to his preference for inclusion and partnership over partisanship.
We’re out of Iraq. Bin Laden is dead. They’re already starting the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Obama has successfully prevented a war with Iran despite calls from neocons and the Netanyahu administration. The Arab Spring is covert but an American led string of coups and only time will tell if they were successful.
Clinton: In Tampa, the Republican argument against the President’s re-election was pretty simple: we left him a total mess, he hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough, so fire him and put us back in.
That’s a great line because it’s true; I still prefer Chris Rock’s explanation better (source).
Clinton: You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending two trillion dollars more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they’ll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids.
>There is no differentiation of policy from Bush to Romney on the economy. Lots to unpack here:
Clinton: Are we where we want to be? No. Is the President satisfied? No. Are we better off than we were when he took office, with an economy in free fall, losing 750,000 jobs a month. The answer is YES.
Fact. The country is better off today than it was four years ago … and it isn’t even close (source).
Clinton: Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don’t feel it.
Clinton: I experienced the same thing in 1994 and early 1995. Our policies were working and the economy was growing but most people didn’t feel it yet.
Fact. Every single Republican voted AGAINST Bill Clinton’s budget that helped create a budget surplus (source). They said it would destroy jobs. It didn’t.
Clinton: President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years. But conditions are improving and if you’ll renew the President’s contract you will feel it.
Fact. Single largest economic disaster in American history since the Great Depression. That’s what Obama inherited and Clinton rightfully acknowledged this.
Clinton: The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95% of the American people. In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. But last year, the Republicans blocked the President’s jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs.
Clinton: Over that same period, more than more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created under President Obama – the first time manufacturing jobs have increased since the 1990s.
Fact: Over 500,000 manufacturing jobs have been created since January 2010 (source), the U.S. is now the #1 country to move manufacturing TO for the past two years (source), and America exported more goods in June 2012 than in any other month in history (source).
Clinton: Now there are 250,000 more people working in the auto industry than the day the companies were restructured. Governor Romney opposed the plan to save GM and Chrysler. So here’s another jobs score: Obama two hundred and fifty thousand, Romney, zero.
Fact. Auto sales best since March 2008 and Romney said the auto industry should go bankrupt (source).
Clinton: The agreement the administration made with management, labor and environmental groups to double car mileage over the next few years is another good deal: it will cut your gas bill in half, make us more energy independent, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and add another 500,000 good jobs.
Fact. Major achievement here. President Obama finalized new standards to increase the average standard to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025; Romney wants to repeal those standards (source).
<Clinton: President Obama’s “all of the above” energy plan is helping too – the boom in oil and gas production combined with greater energy efficiency has driven oil imports to a near 20 year low and natural gas production to an all time high. Renewable energy production has also doubled.
Fact. The nation’s dependence on foreign oil is at a 16 year low (source).
Clinton: And, after a decade in which exploding college costs have increased the drop-out rate so much that we’ve fallen to 16th in the world in the percentage of our young adults with college degrees, his student loan reform lowers the cost of federal student loans and even more important, gives students the right to repay the loans as a fixed percentage of their incomes for up to 20 years.
This is HUGE. At a time when student loans now exceed $1 trillion and are a huge burden on the economy (source), President Obama has proposed a very smart outline for a way to help pay for college over time without burdening people with student loans till they are old. There’s a max % a person would pay out of their paycheck and a max number of years. Yes – senior citizens still owe $36 billion in student loans (source); it’s untenable. Meanwhile – Romney’s plan for college loans is “every American should get as much education as he can afford” (source).
Clinton: The Republicans call it Obamacare and say it’s a government takeover of health care that they’ll repeal. Are they right? Let’s look at what’s happened so far. Individuals and businesses have secured more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80% to 85% of your premiums to be spent on health care, not profits or promotion.
True. Americans received $1.2 billion in refunds from insurance companies due to the law now regulating how much money insurance companies have to spend on taking care of their customers. The consumer wins and that’s why insurance companies spent over $100 million to defeat Obamacare (source).
Clinton: And for the last two years, health care spending has grown under 4%, for the first time in 50 years.
Fact. In 2009 and 2010, total nationwide health care spending grew less than 4% per year, the slowest annual pace in more than five decades. Slower than anticipated growth in the U.S. health care system and Medicare costs continued through 2011 (source).
Clinton: Both Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan attacked the President for allegedly robbing Medicare of 716 billion dollars. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits. None. What the President did was save money by cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren’t making people any healthier. He used the saving to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. It’s now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare, they strengthened it.
Clinton: At least on this one, Governor Romney’s been consistent. He wants to repeal the savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight years. So now if he’s elected and does what he promised Medicare will go broke by 2016. If that happens, you won’t have to wait until their voucher program to begins in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it.
Fact. Romney wants to repeal Obamacare Day 1 and this would mean that Medicare would be bankrupt in 2016 (source).
Clinton: But it gets worse. They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade. Of course, that will hurt poor kids, but that’s not all. Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for seniors and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Downs syndrome or Autism.
Fact. I haven’t heard anyone articulate this message with the same amount of clarity although I’ve shared this point before. The block grant system wished for by Republicans would lead to huge cuts in Medicaid which would effect mostly the disabled, seniors and children. That is who benefits from Medicaid. See for yourself HERE.
Clinton: When some Republican governors asked to try new ways to put people on welfare back to work, the Obama Administration said they would only do it if they had a credible plan to increase employment by 20%. You hear that? More work. So the claim that President Obama weakened welfare reform’s work requirement is just not true. But they keep running ads on it. As their campaign pollster said “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” Now that is true. I couldn’t have said it better myself – I just hope you remember that every time you see the ad.
Clinton: I think the President’s plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don’t add up.
Fact. The Romney campaign’s budget is a fantasy and independent analysis has said it’s fantasy HERE. He wants people to believe that he’s going to cut taxes by $5 trillion, increase defense spending by 25%, protect Medicare and Social Security and not balance the budget on the backs of the middle class. Yeah – ok.
Clinton: It’s supposed to be a debt reduction plan but it begins with five trillion dollars in tax cuts over a ten-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out. They say they’ll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the tax code. When you ask “which loopholes and how much?,” they say “See me after the election on that.”
Fact. The Romney/Ryan budget is a fraud. A Romney adviser was asked how Romney’s plan reduced the deficit – they were stumped HERE. Ezra Klein says that Romney hasn’t proposed any plans HERE. Romney gets called out for not being willing to say what he would cut or where HERE.
Clinton: Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down.
He’s right – under Reagan and then Bush – the deficit ballooned from $1 trillion to over $6 trillion. Clinton handed off a surplus to Bush and Bush handed off a $1 trillion deficit to Obama. Cutting taxes also cuts revenues … it does not increase revenues no matter what conservatives say.
The full text of Bill Clinton’s speech HERE.
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