Robert F. Kennedy Jr. spoke with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for nearly an hour on his Air America radio show this weekend. In a Ring of Fire exclusive interview with the candidate Bobby has formally endorsed for president, he compared those who engage in Clinton-bashing to the Roosevelt haters of the 1930s and `40s. (See related story: “Kennedy Attacks the Hillary Haters.”)
Kennedy and Clinton discussed the ironic fact that the same people who often attacked FDR for his “socialist” New Deal economic recovery policies also benefited greatly from them. Reflected by the growth of their own personal income, stock portfolios and investments, one might think these Roosevelt haters should have been some of FDR’s greatest supporters.
He applied this logic to the Clinton presidency, as well as Senator Clinton’s candidacy, arguing that the Clintons ushered in a time of economic prosperity after a recession, just as FDR brought an end to the Great Depression. And that they too were harshly attacked.
IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID
Without argument, Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992 primarily with “it’s the economy, stupid.” He had the answer Americans wanted to hear at a time when we’d suffered quite enough of trickle-down Reaganomics, thank you.
Considering the shape our economy is in today after nearly 8 years of the Bush administration (who wiped out the Clinton-era budget surplus and plunged the country into unimaginable debt), it’s fair to speculate that Hillary would win in `08 if this disastrous economic trend continues.
Why? Because she is the only candidate (of either party) who is proven and experienced when it comes to fixing another fine mess some Bush has gotten us into. Love or hate Hillary, few will quibble with the fact that she and her husband’s administration repaired the American economy after Reagan and George H.W. Bush wrecked it in the ’80s.
ANOTHER FINE MESS ANOTHER BUSH HAS GOTTEN US INTO
No doubt Mrs. Clinton is already making “it’s the economy, stupid” the basic message of her campaign. This tried-and-true formula has served the Democratic party perfectly well from the days of Roosevelt; it worked like a charm in 1992, and if the bottom falls out between now and next November, you can bet your bottom dollar that it will work again in 2008.
Might as well bet your bottom dollar on Hillary. By this time next year, it may well just be the last dollar you have, so what do you have to lose, right?
Your freedom? Your Constitution? A son or daughter in Iraq, Afghanistan, or even Iran?
These issues, which have been in the forefront of our minds during the long dark night of the Bush years, are already starting to take a back seat to economic issues in recent polls. Historically, the larger foreign policy issues, even matters of war and peace, quickly fall behind major domestic problems in an election year.
Perhaps that means we Americans are indeed selfish creatures, always thinking about ourselves. How quickly we forget the poor Iraqi and Afghan people’s plight as soon as we start losing our own jobs, our mortgages, our cherished standard of living. We’re worried about gas reaching $4/gallon and how that will affect our purchase of some new high-priced gizmo this Christmas.
But at least we don’t have to dodge bombs in our streets every day and witness the carnage of war up close and personal. So long as the war is “over there,” we Americans usually figure we’ve got bigger fish to fry right here on the home front, thus pushing foreign policy to the back burner.
WHY A CRAPPY ECONOMY SPELLS V-I-C-T-O-R-Y FOR HILLARY
At this point, sadly, it seems doubtful that any candidate can win on an anti-war platform, or even to focus their campaign strategy on reversing our disastrous foreign policy. The audience “reaction-o-meter” clearly shows that eyes begin to glaze over when a candidate talks too much about the hard realities of Iraq — but we quickly perk up again when talk turns to the exportation of American jobs, the mortgage crisis, the credit crunch, the war on the middle class, unchecked illegal immigration, and other hot domestic issues.
I may not agree with Senator Clinton’s voting record, her past performance as First Lady, or her current stand on many of the issues I value most, but I will say she’s got one thing right:
“It’s the Economy, Stupid.”
I predict this road-tested mantra will take her directly back to the White House. That doesn’t mean she’s got my vote. But if my prediction of a landslide is correct, she certainly won’t need it.
Until then, hang on to your jobs, America! (That is, if you’re still fortunate enough to have one…) And by this time next year, we might just be singing some of those old songs from the 1930s like “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?”
Or is it “Happy Days Are Here Again?” Well…hey, it worked for Franklin!
Listen to the Ring of Fire Radio interview here. (Hillary Clinton appears in Hour 1, about 15 minutes into the broadcast.)
Or if you prefer visuals, watch it at GoLeft: http://www.goleft.tv/?id=802
Text copyright RFKin2008.com. Audio/Video courtesy of Air America and GoLeft.tv