Clinton Era Memories
September 24, 2008
by William P. Meyers

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I am building a web page on former President Bill Clinton, and thought I'd set down memories from my own life during that era to let readers know about my biases.

Bill Clinton won the Democratic Party nomination for the Presidency in 1992 and assumed office on January 20, 1993. At that time I was deeply committed to a radical lifestyle and radical political change. I had a sense of urgency then that makes me laugh at people who say it is urgent to elect someone like Barack Obama to office this year.

The main problem that confronted me was effectiveness. How do you change a society with a government so entrenched in the creation of wealth for the few, and its consequential misery for working people and destruction of the environment? Instead of even considering such a question, when William J. Clinton ran against Republican incumbent George Bush, the professional "progressive" Democratic Party operatives spewed their usual party line about how important it was to elect a Democrat.

Bill Clinton (and his VP Al Gore) did more damage to the earth and its people's than Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush and George W. Bush put together. All to the sound of Democratic Party cheerleading. I was cynical about the Democrats before Clinton took office, but it was the cynicism of a radical leftist. I actually thought that within what passes as the middle ground in American politics, Clinton would veer to the left. I was wrong.

It seemed orchestrated. Clinton veered to the right like no President since James Buchanan, and yet the "right" labeled him (and Hillary) an ultra-leftist if not a communist. Liberal and progressive Democrats felt they had to defend the Clinton administration, and so led the cheerleading as Bill faked left and sprinted right.

Protecting the environment was thrown out the window under the guise of creating trade organizations like the WTO and NAFTA. I was spending a lot of time with the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) so I knew that Clinton's real labor policy was to crush labor unions. I also worked with Earth First!, but no handful of people, no matter how well intentioned, were going to slow the industrial machine. Al Gore was Vice President, but did absolutely nothing about the problem of global warming. Apologizing at the time and later, he blamed this on the Republicans, saying the Democrats did not have the votes to get global warming legislation through the Senate. But Clinton had the veto! He could have vetoed the Republicans into oblivion for not signing the Kyoto Accord. He just did not want to accept the return damage.

Bill Clinton was a clever politician, but he worked for the ruling class. He kept labor and environmentalists quiet while the environment and labor were raped.

We had some awesome protests in San Francisco and in the Redwoods of northern California at the beginning of the Clinton administration, but radical environmentalists became increasingly discouraged as time went on.

The Wobblies (IWW) used to say that Direct Action Gets the Goods, but that was when America was not 99.9% spineless. The occasional direct action is easily ignored or crushed.

Finally when George W. Bush became President, the mainstream, Democratic Party controlled environmental groups took off their muzzles. But they did not bite. They just yapped, confining themselves to yapping "down with Republican politicians."

I think, if humans survive to write histories, the Bill Clinton years will be looked back to as the time when humanity could have turned back from the path of complete environmental destruction, but did not.

Also Clinton enabled crooks led by Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin to change the banking laws and set the table for the mortgage credit fiasco we are now enjoying. See Gramm-Leach, Glass-Steagall, and Bill Clinton.

Did Clinton do anything good? Yes, he did what good Republicans had done in the decades before him: he reduced the budget deficit. It is another irony of American politics that starting with Ronald Reagan the Republican Presidents have been chiefly responsible for the ballooning national debt.

I moved to Mendocino County during the Clinton era and found a place in my local community. It is on a small enough scale that I could easily watch slimeball Democratic Party operatives manipulate the local citizens. Nationally the Democrats blamed the defeat of Al Gore on Ralph Nader rather than their own failure to stand for anything but election. So we ushered in an era of hating the Green Party, the perfect strategy for distracting people from what was about to happen: a renewal of the U.S. War Against Asia.

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