I will refrain from commenting on this garbage until the end of this New York Times piece…….
From The New York Times POLITICS:
Toxic Partisanship? Bill Clinton Says He Had It Worse, Yet Got Things Done
President Obama heads into midterm elections in which he may face crushing losses. He has been spurned by his own party, whose candidates do not even want to be seen with him. The president’s supporters say the toxic atmosphere in Washington has made it impossible for Mr. Obama to succeed.
But there is a counter view being offered by a former Democratic president that as far as personal attacks go, he, Bill Clinton, had it worse. “Nobody’s accused him of murder yet, as far as I know. I mean, it was pretty rough back then,” Mr. Clinton said last month in an interview aired by PBS, when asked about the partisan climate facing Mr. Obama.
Whatever Mr. Clinton’s motivations, his comments, which his former aides frequently refer to when the topic comes up, do not permit Mr. Obama to excuse his legislative setbacks by simply citing hyper-partisanship. As one former White House aide to Mr. Clinton put it: “They impeached our guy.”
The tumult of the Clinton years — including conspiracy theories about the death of Vincent W. Foster Jr., a deputy White House counsel and friend of the Clintons’ from Arkansas who committed suicide in 1993, the investigation into Whitewater, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment — has come back as Hillary Rodham Clinton inches toward a run for president in 2016.
When asked last month what the single biggest misconception about his presidency was, Mr. Clinton told Charlie Rose on PBS, “I think that most people underappreciate the level of extreme partisanship that took hold in ’94.”
Twenty years later, Mr. Clinton has devoted much of his energy to campaigning for Democrats who do not want to be associated with Mr. Obama. At frequent campaign stops across the country, the former president does not talk about who had it worse, but instead emphasizes that polarization and an inability to work together are the cause of the country’s problems.
“Every place in the world people take the time to work together, good things are happening,” Mr. Clinton said this week at a campaign stop in Hazard, Ky., for the Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. “Every place in the world where people spend all their time fighting each other and telling everybody how sorry they are, bad things happen.”
If Mr. Clinton does not explain on the campaign trail how bad things were for him, his Democratic supporters do.
“Everyone looks at Clinton in this hazy glow of, ‘He’s so wonderful,’ ” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist. “But when he was president, boy, were there a lot of people who went after him in a very personal, some would say dirty, way.”
Even Mr. Clinton’s old rival, Newt Gingrich, a former Republican speaker of the House, said people had a gauzy view of the Clinton years. “Everyone is doing the, ‘Gee, Newt and Bill got things done, why can’t Obama get anything done?’ routine,” Mr. Gingrich said. “Maybe it’s driving Bill nuts.”
The underlying implication is that Mr. Obama does not have it so rough. Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Clinton criticize the current president for being less able or willing than his Democratic predecessor to woo congressional Republicans.
Trent Lott, the Mississippi Republican who served as Senate majority leader from 1996 to 2001, said Mr. Clinton was “affable” and “approachable,” even toward his political opponents.
“You could talk to him,” Mr. Lott said. “He was also willing to make a deal for the good of the country.” In contrast, he argued, Mr. Obama “has just walked away” — so if Mr. Clinton even tried to give the current president a pass, it “just won’t sell.”
Congressional Republicans, of course, have also refused to reach across the aisle and work with Mr. Obama the way they did in Mr. Lott’s era. The current Congress is on track to become one of the least legislatively productive in recent history. That is partly because Mr. Obama faces a far more polarized electorate than Mr. Clinton did.
Over the past 20 years, the number of Americans who hold extreme conservative or liberal views has doubled from 10 percent in 1994 to 21 percent in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. And the middle ground has shrunk, with 39 percent of Americans taking a roughly equal number of liberal and conservative positions, compared with 49 percent in 1994.
Mr. Clinton often talks about this polarization and says that while the partisan gridlock is worse today, and the American electorate is less willing to hear arguments it disagrees with, the attacks he faced were more personal than those Mr. Obama has experienced.
In a 2012 interview with The New York Times, Mr. Clinton mentioned the “murder” conspiracy theory in the 1990s, and said of Mr. Obama’s tenure: “Nobody has tried to bankrupt him with bogus investigations, so it’s not quite as bad. But the political impasse has gone on longer.”
“I will certainly not contradict the president I worked for when he argues that it was even more personal then,” said William A. Galston, a former policy adviser to Mr. Clinton. “But the polarization of our official political institutions and our political parties has become even more acute than in the Clinton days,” he added.
CreditJoe Marquette/Associated Press
That argument absolves Mr. Clinton of his own part in the scandals of the 1990s, several historians said. “They’re different situations because there were criminal allegations” against Mr. Clinton, said Ken Gormley, the author of “The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr,”about the investigation led by Kenneth W. Starr.
“President Obama has attracted a lot of attacks when it’s hard to point to something exactly he has done that warranted them,” Mr. Gormley added.
Some of the venom directed at Mr. Obama has a racial component that Mr. Clinton, a relatable white Southerner, never had to deal with, said Douglas G. Brinkley, a presidential historian and professor at Rice University. “The Clintons created huge problems of their own making,” Mr. Brinkley added, while “Obama’s problem is that he bullheadedly pushed Obamacare, and he happens to be African-American.”
“You can’t get more personal than questioning a person’s veracity for where he was born,” said Mr. Galston, the former Clinton aide, referring to the “birther” conspiracy theories about Mr. Obama’s birth certificate.
Mr. Clinton’s reminders about how bitter things were in Washington when he was in the White House might not be the best message as Mrs. Clinton eyes an attempt at getting back there, as president herself this time.
Senator Rand Paul, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, has already seized on the Lewinsky scandal as a way to remind voters that the Clinton years were not just “peace and prosperity,” as Mrs. Clinton often characterized her husband’s presidency during her 2008 presidential campaign.
Mr. Clinton is not the only president who weathered harsh attacks. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, called former President George W. Bush a “liar” and a “loser,” and protesters depicted him as Hitler.
“Every president probably thinks he had it worse than all his predecessors,” said Kenneth L. Khachigian, a Republican strategist who served as a speechwriter for Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. “But,” he added, “those of us in the Nixon years would have gladly traded places with Bill Clinton’s White House.”
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