Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Whose Party?

It was such a winning day for the Democrats that the Bush squad on Fox TV practically conceded the election. So did David Brooks on NPR. But the media saluted, not the next president but the last one. The Post sums it up with Bill Clinton shouting ”IT’S MY PARTY.” There’s enough truth there for me to play party pooper. 

Look, the seizure of power by Bush has brought so much grief that we simply have to defeat him. But let’s not glorify what went before. Clinton and Gore came to New York 12 years ago as New Democrats, pledged to end welfare as we knew it and cut out that taxing and spending, and to be tough on crime. On the way, the governor stopped in Little Rock to execute a man with half a brain, who asked a keeper to save his pie for breakfast. Clinton also found a pretext to insult Jesse Jackson on his home turf. The myth says he won by pitching to the Reagan Democrats, but in truth he ran quite badly -- worse in fact than Michael Dukakis. He squeaked through only because late in the campaign he picked up the cause of universal health care. Then he turned it over to Hillary, and it was goodbye care, hello HMO’s. The Democrats promptly lost Congress, and state houses and city halls across the land.

New Yorkers have special reason to remember the Clinton years: We are still breathing illegal fumes from that coal plant in Ohio that he swore would never open. Jobs? He exported jobs, through Nafta. He achieved the repeal of Aid to Families With Dependent Childreni, and at the end he was toying with privatizing Social Security. There is more -- much more - but enough. It had to be said, to clear up our undersstanding of the hard road ahead. But let it not spoil our enjoyment at the prospect of getting rid of George Dubya.