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View Diary: Magic tricks, loopholes, government shutdowns and the debt ceiling (158 comments)

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  •  Hmmm.. I'll grant you "politically" (0+ / 0-)

    but substantively, it was at best a draw.  

    (And please don't misconstrue my comment as being anti-Clinton.  I think he was brilliant.)

    First off, the first shutdown (lasting 5 days from Nov 14th thru 19th) ended when Clinton agreed to a balanced budget within 7 years.

    Commitment to a seven-year balanced budget

    I'm not sure how many would call that a decisive Clinton victory..

    Throughout the negotiations that followed, Clinton's budget proposals did things like lower the CPI to lower Soc. Sec. payments  to "save" over 10 years.  That and a CBO announcement that the economy was doing better made negotiations easier.

    But, in the end, both won.. Gingrich came out looking like a dog but won in terms of policy.  Let's see how the NY Times put it in April of 1996:

    Who Won the Budget War?

    After 13 stopgap measures, 2 Government shutdowns, several vetoes and seven months of bickering, the White House and Congress have finally agreed to a budget. The political victory belongs to President Clinton, who was clearly on the defensive after the G.O.P.'s midterm triumphs in 1994 but in the end won major concessions from Republicans on the environment and other issues like abortion and homosexuals in the military. He also won the public relations war. Even though Republicans achieved big cuts in total spending, the President persuaded them to pump $5 billion into a few high-profile programs popular with voters.

    Along the way, both the House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, and the Senate majority leader, Bob Dole, lost traction. But for all Mr. Clinton's deft maneuvering around the Republican-controlled Congress, he did not win the policy war. Victory there went to the Republicans. They knocked more than $25 billion out of discretionary spending from levels approved by Congress when it was controlled by Democrats. Mr. Clinton fought hard to protect low-income families, but the budget deal sprinkles only a few extra dollars around the margins.

    Mr. Clinton rejected every previous Republican budget offer because none protected key domestic programs. The impasse led to a series of temporary spending bills that kept some domestic programs limping along with 25 percent less money. But under the final compromise agreement, Mr. Clinton managed to win back $5 billion for programs at the center of his domestic agenda.

    As I said.. at best a draw, policy-wise.

    But.. and I want to be very clear here.. that's a really good thing.. it's politics.  Clinton knew how to deal.. how to compromise to get what was important to him, while necessarily giving concessions to the other side.  It's called leadership.  It bears no resemblance to the fumbling we see today in Washington, both from the White House and Congress.

    •  I don't think the GOP Congress then and now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Armando

      are comparable. Clinton won concessions because he vetoed the previous GOP budgets. THAT's leadership.

    •  Your evidence simply does not support (0+ / 0-)

      your assertion imo.

      •  For example (0+ / 0-)

        " But for all Mr. Clinton's deft maneuvering around the Republican-controlled Congress, he did not win the policy war. Victory there went to the Republicans. They knocked more than $25 billion out of discretionary spending from levels approved by Congress when it was controlled by Democrats."

        Um, elections have consequences.

        I'm not even sure what that sentence intends to impart.

        Obama, with a Dem Senate and reelection, will be lucky to get the substantive deal Clinton got.

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