John T (12/24): ‘You should read this link [to a 1998 web page dubbing President Clinton a sociopath and calling on him to resign].’
☞ It’s not clear why this strikes John as must-reading three years later, on Christmas eve. But let’s assume the linked screed was a fair assessment (I don’t think it was, or I would have included it). If so, I think we got off pretty easy: 22 million new jobs, the lowest crime rate in decades, the lowest poverty rate in decades, the highest homeownership rate in history, a quadrupling of the stock market, the Family and Medical Leave Act, tens of thousands of kids doing national service in the newly created Americorps, peace in Ireland and relative peace in the Mid-East, the successful bail-out of Mexico, a broad expansion of free trade, the second largest expansion of our national parks in history, welfare reform, the best S.E.C. in memory with really substantive money-saving breakthroughs for investors, the boosting of millions of heretofore second-class gay and lesbian citizens, an appropriately strong stance on tobacco, a push for gun safety that was respectful of legitimate gun owners, encouragement for alternative energy research (immediately halved by the oilmen who took his place), persistent deficits turned into surpluses (now turned back into deficits with a massive tax cut for the wealthy). Yes – there was a totally inappropriate affair with an intern and some ill-considered last-minute pardons. But on balance, it could have been worse.
(Incidentally, for those old enough to remember the early seasons of Saturday Night Live, I can report that not only will President Clinton not resign – Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead. You heard it here first.)
Hats off to those of you who think we were on the wrong track, with the wrong vision, and that now, finally, things are headed in the right direction. But I would argue that – with the very important exception of the war on terrorism, for the handling of which the Bush administration deserves high praise – we’ve actually taken a balance that was working very well and screwed it up.