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I freely admit that I have little sympathy or regard for former president Bill Clinton, for a myriad of reasons that are not germane to this post. But the latest word from our demi-disgraced ex-leader does exactly what I would desire from a loyal team player interested in supporting our current President's agenda. This CNN interview by John Roberts is what I am talking about:

Of course former president Clinton defends his administration against the charge that his deregulation policies contributed to the collapse of the economy under Bush II, but the tone of his remarks on the job that President Obama is doing is laudatory and sensitive:

Here's what I think will happen. I think that as we go along, if the American people stick with him and if he begins to have good results, then I think more and more Republicans will cooperate with him because they will see that he's right or because he carried their states or for any number of reasons.


Well first of all, he has reached across, and it takes two to tango. I find it amazing that the Republicans who doubled the debt of the country in eight years and produced no new jobs doing it, gave us an economic record that was totally bereft of any productive result are now criticizing him for spending money. You know, I'm a fiscal conservative, I balanced the budget, I ran surpluses. If I were in his position today, I would be doing what he's doing. Why? Because the problem with the economy is the housing decline led to the general decline in values. Assets are going down. This stimulus is our bridge over troubled waters till the bank reforms kick in. He did the right thing, he did everything he could to get Republican support. He took some of their tax-cutting ideas.

So what is going on? I think that former president Clinton has finally arrived at a historical comparison that lets him feel like part of the current administration, which he can see as carrying on the work that he was not able to complete:

Well, personally, I'm not sure. One guy wrote a book saying I was most like Thomas Jefferson, but the times in which I governed were most like Theodore Roosevelt. And the results I received were similar. He had enormous success, the country was better off when he quit than when he started, but several of the things he recommended were not actually done until his cousin, Franklin Roosevelt, became president more than 20 years later.

I think a lot of things that I recommended in terms of health care reform will come to fruition now that we have more modern Democratic Congress and a new Democratic Congress and the Obama administration there. I'll be surprised if we don't get health care reform and some of the things I recommended. I'm excited about it.

Bill wants some personal credit for fixing what has been damaged in America, and now he sees President Obama's administration as his best chance for that outcome. As long as he keeps being helpful, I can appreciate his assistance and be willing to overlook his past misdeeds. I hope that he keeps up the good work.

Originally posted to In Memory of Norman Bethune on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 10:02 AM PST.

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