Bill Clinton, Ross Perot, and the Fringe Neoleft

The Moderate Donkey travels the political off ramps of the information superhighway on a daily basis. I have for several years now. What I find on the backroads in the tourist traps are fringe political revisionists who create “facts” to fill in the holes in their political theories.

Now, I could raise a few eyebrows at least and at most have you rolling in fits of laughter at some of the things posted at Free Republic, the far right Christian Taliban’s favorite stop on the net. But many blogs do that (and do it better) and since the goal of The Moderate Donkey is to reveal the fringe elements attempting to hijack the Democratic party, I’d rather point out examples of this at our greasy truckstop – Democratic Underground.

Democratic Underground, to be fair, isn’t really the antithesis of Free Republic. It’s a big tent full of people with varying degrees of leftness. But sometimes (well, often) the neoleft dispenses some of the “facts” I mentioned above and reminds the rest of us why we can’t allow them to hijack the Democratic Party.

Let’s examine one thread there and some of the claims made in it.

Almost any Democratic candidate would have won the Presidency (in 1992), because of the spoiler effect of the Ross Perot candidacy. Although he became President, Bill Clinton only took 43 percent of the vote in 1992, 3 percent less than much more left-wing Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis had taken in 1988.

Here, the poster attempts to downplay Bill Clinton’s popularity. His purpose is to show that a further left candidate would have done as well or better than Clinton. His entire premise is based on his belief that Ross Perot played spoiler for George H.W. Bush in the ’92 election. The fact is he didn’t.

Check out these two incredibly researched articles on the ’92 election and Perot’s effect on it:

Clinton didn’t run as a “new democrat”….They have kept a low profile for many years and really didn’t stick their neck out until Gore told them to take a hike in 2000.

This is some of the political revisionism I mentioned above. This poster tries to downplay the importance of the DLC in Clinton’s politics and in general by claiming he didn’t run as a ‘new democrat.’ Further, he claims that Al Gore broke with the DLC during the 2000 election. The former is completely untrue. There is no evidence to support the latter.

Here are some sources that “disagree” with the poster’s first assertion:

After losing a re-election bid in 1980, he came to win four more terms as governor gaining a reputation as a centrist, pragmatic New Democrat. In October 1991, Clinton announced that he was a candidate for the democratic nomination for president. source

He insisted on pragmatism and moderation in government programs, a centrist platform that emphasized opportunity, jobs, law and order, and responsibility. This meant that the government should provide opportunities for all citizens when the free market failed, but individuals had to accept the responsibility to work and to contribute to the common civil order.
This linking of the time-honored American enshrinement of work and individualism to a progressive view of the role of government became for Clinton a “New Covenant” – the philosophical perspective behind his reference to himself as a “New Democrat.” source

As for the Al Gore claim, I’ve never seen any evidence of it through my research or in asking those who make the claim. In fact, just as with the far right Christian Taliban, asking the neoleft McGovernites to prove their claims ignites an unending array of spinning, dodging, and flat out refusal to “divulge sources.” I imagine the Gore “rumor” began when Gore ran away from Clinton during his campaign and the neoleft’s belief that the moderate Gore is actually one of them.

The DLC literally wrote the 2004 Democratic Platform…

No, they did not.

… and, well, you get my point. The fear the neoleft McGovernites have of the DLC is quite irrational and often forces them to, a Al Franken would say, pull facts out of their asses to fill in the holes in their theories.


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