The PBS NewsHour interviewed Bill Clinton and his co-author James Patterson over two nights. On Friday night, Judy Woodruff asked liberal analyst Mark Shields about Patterson's insistence that we elect serious people to office (translation: no Trumps), which allowed Shields to launch into a tribute to Clinton, who "courageously raised taxes...and produced an economy that produced 22 million new jobs."
The Clintons really should have paid him a gratuity. Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review was sitting in for David Brooks and offered zero rebuttal, which perfectly matches the usual no-debating-liberals formula.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Mark, he was talking about we need to take the people we elect to office seriously. There is so much criticism of them. They have been run down by all the — just the flood of criticism that they get. He said, when you go to the polls to vote, remember, they’re not silly, they’re not villains. What do you make of that?
MARK SHIELDS: Well, they have been run down in large part by people who have replaced them. That’s been a recurring theme, particularly among conservative insurgents, but not exclusively, running against Washington, running against politicians.
I think Mr. Patterson’s exposure to President Clinton is probably, in part — I mean, Bill Clinton, let it be noted, came to office at the time with the steepest budget deficits in the history of the country, and courageously raised taxes on the richest 1.4 percent of Americans, and produced an economy that produced 22 million new jobs, after we had the lowest economic growth in 50 years when he came in.
So, and then he left at 65 percent approval. And today he’s way below that. So there’s a certain lack of appreciation, you could say, of certainly…
WOODRUFF: For Bill Clinton.
SHIELDS: For Bill Clinton. And I think that may be reflected in Mr. Patterson’s exposure to him. And it’s certainly expressed in the president’s own behavior and speeches.
So why would Bill Clinton have a low approval rating right now? Shields wasn't going to mention #MeToo, and and neither was Ponnuru. With multiple accusers of sexual harassment and even rape, Clinton should be about as popular as Harvey Weinstein -- and count himself lucky he escaped prosecution. Clintonites bashing Trump for disdaining special prosecutors and sexual harassment accusers has a remarkably hypocritical echo.
But it's a bit odd to analyze the economy and say it's all because of a president's actions, and has nothing to do with Congress (for six years of Clinton, a Republican Congress), and it has nothing to do with the productivity and innovation of business.