April 19

By Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa, (On Twitter) @c_tamirisa

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Bill Clinton, the President of the United States at the time of the worst act of domestic terrorism on April 19th in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, recently about it in the context of the rising contemporary domestic political discontent .

Former president Bill Clinton is correct in reminding the country of homegrown militancy on the anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Clearly, his remarks reported in the press demonstrate his concerns about similar potential occurrences given the scheduled Tea Party event on April 19th, as if its scheduling on the same day as the 1995 bombing is vindicating the bombing, which it clearly is not and if it is, it must not.

As he says it is true that no law can substitute for personal responsibility but the least personally responsible act is to follow the law for laws are made by the people who can change them if they are dissatisfied with them, which appears to be the intent of the Tea Partiers.

Politics in the day and age of the new social media with its roots in the new economy of the Clinton presidency need not be rancorous or militant. The fora for civic engagement and for participation in the political discourse are many and accessible to the individual outside of the echo chambers of the traditional media and Washington institutions. In fact, it would be beneficial for the Congress to also leverage social media as a part of the open government initiative of the Obama administration to ensure that the people’s voices weigh in when crafting legislation.

The dissatisfaction over health care, the context for President Clinton’s remarks, is largely due to (ideological) politics as usual rather than politics for the purpose of making sensible policy. The current president has fallen prey to the very same political culture he had once upon a time so eloquently criticized to come to Washington.

Being the shrewd politician that he is, former president Clinton appears to be testing the political waters for his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to seek the Democratic Party nomination in 2012 by leveraging the popular discontent among the largely white, middle class and reasonably educated Tea Party fiscal conservatives who are mostly Libertarian, and neither Democrat nor Republican, to finish his unfinished business of taking over the entire fertile ground of American politics from the left of center to the right of center. After all, all conservative blue dog Democrats had overwhelmingly voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democrat primary and Bill Clinton himself had benefited from the Ross Perot three way split in 1992 to defeat a popular incumbent Republican president.

Political tradition in America does not preclude either party from wooing voters who belong to neither party, especially when their ranks are growing. One would expect, as Sarah Palin is doing, that the Republicans respond to the sentiments of political ferments such as the Tea Party movement to restore coherence and discipline to the Republican Party.

The reason for the Tea Party, just as it was with Perot in 1992 and Ron Paul in 2008 and again (he is tied in the polls with President Obama and mirrors many of the Tea Party views), is the wayward course the country has taken since 1989, losing balance between domestic concerns and international engagement because achieving that balance is crucial to the future of the United States and the world.

The personal responsibility for this waywardness largely rests with former President Bill Clinton who, at the expense of his own electoral rhetoric in 1992 that had made him the Comeback Kid, began adopting antipodal policies because they were politically expedient. Now, his cadre are once again impeding sound public policy from within the Obama administration at the expense of the people (the cause of the Tea Party angst) to take ownership of the corrective measures themselves if Hillary Clinton is elected president in 2012. This raises troubling questions about the political manipulation of the economy and the popular perception of a sitting president to achieve personal political ends, casting a shadow on any potential Hillary Clinton presidency.

There are only two decent options: President Obama changes course by making changes in his economic policy team to eradicate Clintonomics in Washington (most likely the Democrats, given the Republican disarray on policy, will not lose their majorities in Congress in November 2010) and the Republicans regroup for 2012 with a coherent and disciplined political platform and candidates who can shoulder the burden of executing that platform such as Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney for President and Arnold Schwarzenegger or Bobby Jindal for Vice President .

The Clintons, the elderly statespersons that they are, are best off relinquishing the political bug to dedicate themselves to the Clinton Global Initiative. They have served their country as honorable Americans and the country owes them a debt of gratitude.

The country always comes first, before legacies and personal political ambitions, for this is the purpose of democratic politics.


About Chandrashekar (Chandra) Tamirisa

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3 Responses to April 19

  1. First off, I think you are naive to think that politicians who represent corporate special interests are likely to care about the effect on the country of their actions. Their actions are calculated to benefit the special interests first and anything else a far secondarily.
    I hope you’re right about the 2010 elections leaving Democrats still in a majority position. I wish some of the Blue Dog Democrats could be replaced(as well as some Republicans). I wish Obama and the true main stream Democrats had been able to pass a better Health Care Plan, but that they got anything done is amazing. Now they are going after the bankers. I hope they are able to make some truly effective regulations…I wish they could break up the Banks and bring real financial stability, integrity and accountability to the financial world. I guess we’ll see. I do not support the Tea Baggers at all, they are too radical and fail to see any good being done. Their main concern is avoiding taxation and they are willing to abandon all social responsibility to achieve their selfish aims.

    • I understand the sentiment in your comment though I would disagree with the emotion-laden policy remedies your comment prescribes. The tea partiers are also just as emotional but they represent the other end of the political spectrum. It is in the interest of both sides and the special interests to reform the financial system and this is where the solutions lie. Political skill lies in the capacity to get to a solution that does not dilute the purpose of reform while satisfying all the stakeholders.

  2. John Wesley Nobles says:

    It is my view that Mr. Tamirisa is correct, stating that reform to the financial system is where the solutions lie. It seems to me that Tea Party members around the country, while emotional at times, they have been very well behaved. Emotion generally runs high in American Politics. It is good to see our citizens involved, rather than being complacent. The Tea Party Movement is a good thing for America, Citizens need to voice their opinions!

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