by Frank Li
Today, there are four living past American Presidents: Jimmy Carter, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. How do their respective parties view them?
In the 2012 Republican National Convention, neither Bush showed up.
In the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Jimmy Carter did not show up. However, Bill Clinton not only showed up, he also played a prominent role as the keynote speaker.
How, then, should President Clinton be viewed by America today and in history?
Overall, as compared with Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, President Clinton looked like a "genius" for his time in office. But the simple truth is that he was one of the luckiest American Presidents in history, thanks to four big factors as follows:
The groundwork laid by President Reagan in the 1980s, particularly the end of the Cold War in 1989, created an environment for success.
The dot.com boom: President Clinton benefited hugely from a financial blockbuster he had nothing to do with; it was his presidency's lottery winnings! It made the difference between his term in office being viewed as a success or a failure.
The Republican Congress forced him to accept transformational acts that balanced the budget and reformed the Welfare programs, which he claimed for his own after passage despite his resistance to it.
BRICS had yet to show up - America enjoyed her last decade of the economic monopoly.
As for his place in history, aside from surviving the impeachment as a result of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, President Clinton made two costly mistakes ...
2. President Clinton's two costly mistakes
He amended the CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) to its final, and lethal, form, thus contributing to a spectacular housing bubble that burst in 2008. For more, read: How the CRA Fueled the Housing Bubble.
He failed to significantly adjust the U.S. foreign policy after the Cold War. As a result, America actually became a major source of instability around the world, especially in the Middle East (U.S. Middle East Policy: What's Wrong?). A strong case in point: The seeds for the 9/11 tragedy were sowed on President Clinton's watch. For example, President Clinton actually refused Sudan's offer to turn Osama Bin Laden over to the U.S.! Ron Paul has got this one perfectly right (read: Ron Paul on 9/11: Ask the right questions and face the truth)!
In a previous post (American Presidents: Three Best and Three Worst), I stated:
"President Kennedy might well be recognized as the worst American President twenty years from now, as America finally realizes the magnitude of the damage he caused by allowing public-sector unions in 1961."
History will judge President Clinton in the same way: The long-term impact of his two costly mistakes is yet to be known. As a matter of fact, America has yet to widely acknowledge they were even mistakes. A complicit media, more intent on helping elect Democrats, has kept them out of the public's sights. For more, read: Brainwashing in Communism and in Democracy.
Still wondering why America is so deeply in trouble today? It really started in earnest after 1989, when the Cold War ended. America failed to adequately adjust to the new world characterized by two points as follows:
For the U.S., the world should have been much more peaceful (e.g. without thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons aimed at us), but we made it worse than ever, with the worst being the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For more, read: What's The Real Cost of The Iraq War?
The rise of BRICS, led by China, as economic competitors to the U.S.
President Clinton had the opportunity to set America on a new course to new historical greatness, but he did not. For that, he will never be counted as a great President. Rather, he will eventually be remembered as one of the luckiest American Presidents in history - no more than that!
Stop worshiping President Clinton!
Demand greatness from Mitt Romney, instead! For more, read: Mitt Romney vs. Deng Xiaoping.
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About this Author
Frank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action.