Another View -- John H. Sununu: Don't be fooled, Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton
This week, Democrats huddling in North Carolina for the party’s convention will hear speeches from party leaders past and present, including former President Bill Clinton. But while President Obama and his allies would love to be able to borrow credibility from the nation’s 42nd President, the contrast between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — particularly when it comes to economic and fiscal issues — couldn’t be greater.
President Clinton’s keynote address in Charlotte today will serve to remind the world of a time when the leadership of the Democratic Party took fiscal responsibility seriously. It might even induce nostalgia for the days of balanced budgets and bipartisan accomplishments such as welfare reform.
Unfortunately, that record has nothing in common with President Obama’s record of failure during the last three-and-a-half years. In ushering in new levels of fiscal recklessness, President Obama doesn’t simply depart from the Clinton legacy — he shatters it with a sledgehammer and runs over it with a steamroller.
Under Barack Obama’s leadership, we’ve added more than $5 trillion to our national debt. Under his leadership, we’ve seen four consecutive years of trillion-dollar deficits. Under his leadership, the welfare-to-work requirement — a bipartisan achievement passed by Republicans and Democrats in Congress and signed by Clinton — has been dismantled. Under his leadership, the size and scope of government has rapidly and dramatically grown.
The blast from the past President Clinton’s appearance will provide, however refreshing it may be, simply cannot compensate for nor distract from President Obama’s failed ideology and poor stewardship over his first term in the White House.
President Clinton famously said in his State of the Union address in 1996, “The era of big government is over.” President Obama espouses a very different philosophy. Instead of building upon President Clinton’s path, President Obama unleashed a new era of big government.
His words speak for themselves, from his remark about the private sector “doing fine” to when he said that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” This view misunderstands the role of individual initiative in American society and dismisses the hard work and sacrifices of business owners in a way that is as misguided as it is demeaning.
His policy prescriptions are equally troublesome. President Obama supports higher taxes on job creators and middle-class families at a time when we can ill afford it. President Obama wants to empower more bureaucrats to implement job-killing legislation like Obamacare.
To be sure, America has a long tradition of spirited debate between two political parties. That’s what makes a democracy healthy. And the contrasting images and rhetoric coming out of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions most certainly highlight that debate.
But the problem with the Obama approach is that it justifies polices of uncontrolled spending, uninhibited government, and unlimited taxation under the guise of common sense. The results, however, prove that these big-government policies promote deeply unfair outcomes of more poverty, fewer jobs, and declining incomes.
This course is not sustainable, and we know from President Obama’s first term that it will not work. A second term will not turn out any differently.
That’s why we need to elect new leadership in the White House. That’s why we need to elect Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
John H. Sununu is a former governor of New Hampshire, White House chief of staff and chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party.
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