By Brigitte L. Nacos
Nobody has set the record straight like Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Convention. Not Barack Obama. Not Joe Biden. Not one of their fellow-partisans on the Hill or across the country.
It took the former President not to duck but answer the question that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan love to ask: Is America better off today than four years ago?
Bill Clinton jumped on the question that most Democrats don’t want to touch. Yes, he said, America is better off than at the time when Obama was elected and moved into the White House.
Remember? The most severe recession since the great depression! Financial markets on the brink of collapse! Two of the three one-time great American car manufacturers bankrupt! The Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan!
Clinton was right, when he said that no other president, not Clinton himself and not any president that preceded him could have repaired the economic and fiscal damage that Barack Obama inherited within one presidential term.
During the campaign, Romney, Ryan, and their surrogates have praised Bill Clinton as fiscal moderate and as the opposite of tax-and-spend lefty Barack Obama.
Now, their model Democrat has contradicted their tales about their plans for a glorious future for America, once they take over.
In Charlotte, Clinton made clear that he opposes such a changing of the guards.
Now he should work hard to prevent it.
His approval ratings are significantly higher than those of all other politicians, including the contenders in this presidential campaign.
It seems that most Americans have forgiven or forgotten Bill Clinton’s private shortcomings. He is admired because he presided in the 1990s over an economic boom period and left office with a budget surplus.
In Charlotte, he tried hard to come to the rescue of President Obama and his agenda.
But Clinton’s campaigning for the Democratic ticket, whether yesterday in North Carolina or for the rest of the campaign across the United States is not enough.
There would be a sea change in this campaign if the current and former president would agree on a temporary but major role for Bill in the second Obama administration.
Clinton would hold the newly created office of what one might call the “Economic Recovery/Fiscal Soundness Czar.” He would promise to stay until the economic conditions have markedly improved and sensible reforms in the tax and entitlement systems are adopted.
The promise of Bill Clinton involved in reenergizing America’s economic engine and bringing the fiscal house in order would translate into Obama’s and, hopefully, a bunch of Democratic congressional candidates’ victories in November.