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Mole's Progressive Democrat

The Progressive Democrat Newsletter grew out of the frustration of the 2004 election. Originally intended for New York City progressives, its readership is now national. For anyone who wants to be alerted by email whenever this newsletter is updated (usually weekly), please send your email address and let me know what state you live in (so I can keep track of my readership).

Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

I am a research biologist in NYC. Married with two kids living in Brooklyn.

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  • Thursday, July 01, 2010

    Bill Clinton on Barack Obama

    Speaking in South Africa, President Bill Clinton had this to say about President Barack Obama:

    “I think he's done a better job than he's given credit for,” Clinton said. “I feel very strongly about this.”

    The former president, who, like Obama, saw his polling numbers dip dramatically during his second year in office, said that Obama is not fully “responsible” for how he is perceived, adding that a dip in approval is “not avoidable” in an economic downturn.

    “Until people feel good about their own lives, they're not going to feel good about their president,” Clinton said. “And there's nothing you can do about that.”

    “He is a brilliant, articulate and, I think, an exceedingly empathetic person,” the former president said of Obama.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/39093.html#ixzz0sAI15o5m

    I suspect Bill Clinton knows EXACTLY what Obama is going through (having had to follow in the wake of a Bush recession himself). I have been asked about Obama's performance by several readers. My answers are often similar to Clinton's, though I personally am more liberal than either Clinton or Obama ever claimed to be. One of my more recent responses went like this:

    I think Obama is a very competent leader. But I am not sure it is enough to counter both the racism AND the slow progress in correcting the HUGE mess he inherited AND the hostile, conservative-controlled media. I think even FDR would have a hard time if he had all that to deal with.

    Truth is we have to remember Clinton's slogan: It's the economy, stupid. If the economy turns around, Obama will win. If not, he will have a hard time winning. And I think he knows it. Obama knows what he needs to do and is trying to slowly, patiently do it. And I don't think anyone knows whether it will work or not.

    Both 2010 and 2012 hinge on almost nothing but the economy. Obama has a charisma that will be of enormous help, at least in his own re-election if not in helping other candidates. I think many of the candidates he has helped recently have not necessarily been his choice so much as obligation so I am not sure how well we can judge his ability to get out the vote for a Democratic Congressional candidate. But even the best charisma in the world won't make up for a bad economy, and whoever is in power will, fairly or unfairly, get blamed for the economy.

    At this point only time will tell.


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