May 26, 2011

I don't think Bill Clinton and Paul Ryan were caught in a secret conversation that they didn't want overheard.

Here's the tete-a-tete, beautifully filmed, by ABC News, with excellent sound quality.
"So anyway, I told them before you got here, I said I’m glad we won this race in New York," Clinton told Ryan, when the two met backstage at a forum on the national debt held by the Pete Peterson Foundation. But he added, “I hope Democrats don't use this as an excuse to do nothing.”

Ryan told Clinton he fears that now nothing will get done in Washington.

“My guess is it’s going to sink into paralysis is what’s going to happen. And you know the math. It’s just, I mean, we knew we were putting ourselves out there. You gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving,” Ryan said.

Clinton told Ryan that if he ever wanted to talk about it, he should “give me a call.” Ryan said he would.
Watching that clip, I felt that was staged for the camera. They're savvy enough to know where the media are. It was ABC News, backstage with them. So my question is, why did each of the 2 men decide that was what they wanted people to overhear? I'd say, first, that both men see themselves as the serious thinkers, trying to face and solve a real problem. The setting frames the message as: This is what the most serious and knowledgeable men from the 2 political parties say to each other when they are not playing politics for the camera.

Now, Bill Clinton has chosen to criticize the Democrats for falling into complacency, coasting into the next election. He's displaying himself as the real man of action, who would rise above politics and work hard to forge solutions. (Of course, this display is politics.)

Ryan makes a corresponding display: He too is a man of action, rising above politics, putting himself out there. But he's also purporting to speak for his whole party. The Republicans are acting. The Democrats are digging in and resisting. Clinton then says "give me a call."

So, is Clinton selling out the Democrats, making them look bad and giving Ryan a boost? If he is, why would he do that? Does he somehow seem to represent the Democrats, saying, for them, that they don't or shouldn't want the paralysis, lighting a fire under them to act or at least giving them some cover, making it seem as though they do care about action?

Or is Clinton out there on his own, peeling away from some or all of the Democrats, perhaps creating some kind of opening for Hillary?

76 comments:

Original Mike said...

"So, is Clinton selling out the Democrats, making them look bad and giving Ryan a boost? If he is, why would he do that?"

Maybe he actually cares about the country.

Dad29 said...

It was also reported that Clinton's formal comments were NOT a kiss-and-hug for Ryan's plan.

AprilApple said...

Maybe Clinton realizes that the left's ongoing "MediScare" tactics won't actually solve anything.

The left are very good at political vilification. Problem is that vilification never solves a damn thing. Meanwhile, this nation is swirling down a Keynesian toilet.

Lincolntf said...

I suppose they might've wanted to be overheard, but unless they are real schemers then neither could know what the other would say. A bit risky when the stakes are so high.
Anyway, I'm hoping for an Althousian take on the Geithner/IMF/Culture of harassment clip that's circulating. I believe it's originally from Politico, but it's definitely up at Ace of Spades. Timmy knew but didn't know. Because he's a man. Or something. It's a sad 45 seconds of a man struggling to not make a point.

Shouting Thomas said...

I think they were caught in a secret conversation that they wanted to be overheard.

The problem here is that everybody is in favor of fiscal responsibility until it comes to their entitlement.

And, the struggle is finding a way to break the logjam.

So far, nobody has a clue.

So, we're stuck with the over-spending, borrowing beyond our means, and spending like drunken sailors. Because nobody wants to hear the truth or act on it.

Skyler said...

Definitely a maneuver for Hillary. She has to distance herself from B. Hussein and she can campaign as a responsible quasi moderate on fiscal matters. Very obvious.

Peano said...

I think Althorse is projecting.

Original Mike said...

"I suppose they might've wanted to be overheard, but unless they are real schemers then neither could know what the other would say. A bit risky when the stakes are so high."

Where's the risk? The worst that could have happened is that they each stayed on their respective party's talking points.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Every ex-President wants to be seen as a Statesman. I'd guess that the more shameless their political calculating while in office, the more they want it.

EDH said...

Maybe Clinton thinks Ryan has a purty mouth?

Lincolntf said...

Do you think they actually planned/ wrote a script? Obviously it wasn't daring, per se, but whenever you're playing with both open mics and a leader of the opposition, things can happen.

Shouting Thomas said...

What would be the Hillary angle here? No way in hell she's running in 2012, because Obama is a lock. This oped piece is a pretty good explanation of why Obama is a lock.

I don't think the Republicans can find a candidate to run a serious campaign against Obama. The media will crucify any Republican candidate as a "racist" if he/she seriously criticizes Obama.

In other words, Obama is going to be re-elected. Not what I want, but it's going to happen.

So, I think that Clinton and Ryan, while they are playing politics, are serious about facing the underlying issues of fiscal responsibility. There is no such thing as not playing politics.

AllenS said...

Never trust a Clinton. That goes for obama as well as Ryan.

Roger J. said...

the conspiracy theorist in me goes with what Skyler said--bubba loves the limelight and would even accept a new role as first husband.

Most politicians, I believe, are narciccists first and foremest (Harry Truman may be an exception).

Bubba dont do nothin unless it benefits him--remember he had monica suck his cock because he could.

J said...

Ryan is not some political Einstein. He simply realized he can get the yokels two-stepping with his irresponsible, racist, and immoral plan to gut Medicare. That's it.

Roger J. said...

OK I dont do preview so assume I really spelled all the words I screwed up were really spelled correctly

Ken said...

I cannot believe I am saying this: Maybe he believes in it.

He DID believe in Free Trade for instance.

The Pagan Temple said...

Clinton just wants to be the center of attention. He can't stand not being in the middle of things. I don't doubt that he would like to create an opening for Hillary, but he's too much of a pragmatist to want her to run against Obama in the primaries and risk splitting the party. On the other hand, maybe he doesn't give a crap about the party. Clinton is so much of an egomaniac he's arguably a sociopath. Some might say there's no argument to it.

There's always a chance he might be wanting Hillary to be Obama's VP the next time, but I don't see how this accomplishes that either.

traditionalguy said...

The Bill Clinton that I remember was not dedicated to the destruction of the United States and Israel. So Bill would like to see the runaway Obama Train to Hell stopped before it is too late.

AFG said...

"Some kind of opening for Hillary" - to do what, exactly?

Rialby said...

Garage appears to talk about the upcoming impeachment of Scott Walker in 3...2...1...

Roger J. said...

Traditional guy--you may be right, and I hope you are. I am just not so sure. I appreciate ex presidents who manage to keep their mouths shut--For some reason Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton seem incapable of doing that.

madAsHell said...

Obama is a lock

Does anyone remember voting for Obama??

Obama's Teach for America is turning out teachers after 12 weeks of instruction. These 12 week teachers are now competing with newly minted BA Education majors....yes, 12 weeks vs. 4 years.

The state of Washington is cutting teachers pay....cuz the money is gone.

A. Shmendrik said...

If Paul Ryan is as smart as I think he is - he never makes the call. Clinton is a snake. Do not fall for it. They are reading much more into that NY House race than is merited. The proportion of the population that understands that Medicare as currently constructed will fall of its own weight, and soon, is considerable. Young people get this. Even middle aged people get this. The Democrats will use scare tactics which feature imagery of the presently elderly, when it exactly that group which has little to fear (the financials do not crash that soon). The implied case for doing nothing (the Democrat's position) is not a winner. Ryan and the GOP have to get out and defend the idea that change has to happen, and that his plan has merit.

Rialby said...

I don't think they expected it to be caught by the media anymore than any other conversation powerful men have. They talk this way to each other because they ran into each other and it's good diplomacy.

J said...

Granted, Paul Ryan does do a wicked Ayn Rand imitation--though needs a bit of work--the long filtered cig., eastern euro accent, hat, bulky dress, eyelash flicks. A is indeed A, dah-leeengk

Henry said...

Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning used to sit drunk outside of the Cedar Tavern. Pollock would say, "Bill, you're the best painter in the world." "No, Jack, you're the best painter in the world."

They really hated each other.

Patrick said...

I believe it has been a very long time since Bill Clinton has done anything without a political calculation as to how it would help himself. That includes how it would help his wife, which would help bring him closer to the seat of power.

realwest said...

Or maybe, just maybe, they both see the direction this country is headed (unemployment up again, first time filers this week up another 424,000 people)and felt this was one way to get the message across.
I don't think Ryan is grandstanding and I think Clinton, who passed the last balanced Federal Budget, is also concerned for America.
Sometimes cynacism is healthy; sometimes it simply clouds our view of reality. Sorta like "J"'s view of the world. Hey J, have you even read the GOP House budget? Read about the tax increases proposed by Ryan? Folks like YOU are the problem in this country now.

Patrick said...

OK, J, I'll bite. How is it that the Ryan plan is racist? This ought to be good. And no, it's not acceptable to say that anything bad is also racist, because I've seen many of your "arguments" which are nearly all bad, but not racist in the least.

Roger J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger J. said...

realwest--you may well be right--I freely admit my cynicism colors my judgment--but given the caliber of our political leadership on both sides of the aisle, I may be on a bit firmer ground.

Joanna said...

Perhaps Clinton resents that the MSM won't touch Obama.

Jim said...

This is pure Bill Clinton. Remember the dance on the beach with Hilary?

The man is a god. I last voted for a Dem in 1976, but Clinton is so damned good it hurts.

Of course, he knows where the cameras are. Of course he didn't have to plan it.

He's Bill F'ing Clinton and we're not and it hurts.

Patrick said...

Henry: The "EIGHT" greatest pranks in art history? Are artists so devoid of humor that they've only got 8?!

Brennan said...

Ryan's plan is essentially an updated version of a Brookings proposal. Clinton would sign it into law.

I'm curious if President Clinton thinks the Democrats and Obama are going to take it on the chin in Nov12. If so, it would be best if they acted now, rather than wait for a GOP legislature and executive try to pass something.

Mitch H. said...

The thing you gotta remember about big Bill is that he isn't a "my party right or wrong" guy, or else he couldn't have pulled off his '95 trapeze act. He saved his presidency by ruthlessly throwing the congressional Democrats to the wolves, and then savaging the Republicans whenever they got a little complacent in the face of his triangulation make-nice routine.

Bill was the last of the true TVA-style Southern Democrats - populist, not wedded to the Rustbelt coalitions which are the spine of the modern party. This doesn't make him a conservative - he isn't. But he isn't in the same place as the pale privileged little web-worms who are the proverbial "wave of the future", or "sewage flowing downhill" if you like.

Carol said...

"first time filers this week up another 424,000 people"

What? Uh, no.

Anyway, Clinton's just triangulatin' again. Good on 'em, maybe his overweening ego will be of some use to us for a change.

Browndog said...

Slick Willy says "hey, I hope the dems get serious about Medi-care"

Insert into liberal spin machine....

New, shiney talking point emerges:

Dems, the only adults in the room, serious about medi-care program that the evil republicans want to destroy.

If I had a nickel for every time Clinton seized a good republican idea, claiming it was his all along...."why don't the republicans have any good ideas?"

edutcher said...

Never forget Willie is the sociopath's sociopath; he will say whatever he thinks his audience at the particular moment wants to hear.

He has since denounced the Ryan plan.

Original Mike said...

"So, is Clinton selling out the Democrats, making them look bad and giving Ryan a boost? If he is, why would he do that?"

Maybe he actually cares about the country.


Don't count on it. He looked the other way during DotCom and Enron, gave us subprime mortgages, and refused bin Laden when offered on a silver platter.

Do the math.

Shouting Thomas said...

What would be the Hillary angle here?

What he wants is to make Zero pay for keeping him out of the White House (and the spotlight) for another eight years.

traditionalguy said...

The Bill Clinton that I remember was not dedicated to the destruction of the United States and Israel. So Bill would like to see the runaway Obama Train to Hell stopped before it is too late.

You may need to upgrade your RAM, sir.

J said...

The ad populus, ad nauseum.

"What Mericans want". Polls suggest most Mericans want to keep Medicare, anyway.


Teabuggers also routinely forget (or just lie about it) that tax rates are at historic lows. BO recently extended BushCo tax slashes.

The reasonable solution to medicare, SS, DoD spending would be bringin in mo' shekels via slight tax increases--especially on the executive class who have raked it in over the last few years. But Reason--that's asking a great deal of Teabug Co, or Ann's Gumphouse.

Roger J. said...

J: lets assume tax rates are increased on people like the current sec treasury, Tom Daschle et al--how do we assure those increased tax revenues actually go the the ends you seem to prefer?

What would the legislation look like?

Titus said...

Bill Clinton did some good things while getting his cock sucked by another woman. So did Tiger.

Moral of the story: women, let your men get their cock sucked by other women.

If you can't or don't do a good job sucking a cock it is the man's obligation to find a whore that suck the entire thing down.

Now get on your knees bitches.

Henry said...

@Patrick -- Check the date on the article.

My anecdote, however, is well sourced. If Amazon had search-inside-this-book for remaindered art history biographies I would offer a footnote.

edutcher said...

Someone tell J Medicare is unsustainable and all sides understand that; the only issue is the fix.

Death panels or vouchers.

PS Nobody buys the tax rate thing. Go back to Kos and tell them you've been a dull boy again.

Chuck66 said...

Bill may be a slick politician and loves a camera, but he and Hillary are very smart people. You don't go from fatherless white trash in Arksansaw to President by being an idiot.

And the Medicare (and Medicaid and Social Security) deficit is real and could bring this country down. Even Bill may not want to score short term political points if it results in the US defaulting on loans.

Chuck66 said...

Also remember, it's always about the Clintons. Bill and Hill don't care about Obama and the current Demcorats in Congress. They will put themselves first, the country second, and the Democrats somewhere down the list quite a ways.

DADvocate said...

Clinton did institute welfare reform and put the budget in good order.

He probably despises Obama whom he considers his intellectual and moral inferior. But, no, Clinton is not to be trusted either.

Methadras said...

Clinton was if anything pragmatic. 1996 taught us that.

Shouting Thomas said...

If you can't or don't do a good job sucking a cock it is the man's obligation to find a whore that suck the entire thing down.

Now get on your knees bitches.

Tight Ass, you are a sage!

I fear you will be a prophet without honor in your own time. Western women will not learn how to give a good blowjob. It's beneath their dignity.

J said...

Why is that problematic, R-J? I don't have time to go through the various bills to raise taxes/save programs which the GOP/TP has nixed--. Sen. Reid's current proposal to end tax credits/write-offs on big oil corporations also has the TP/GOP whining and yelling. Why? Merely because it means the top execs (ie, GOP shotcallers) will lose some profits. Has nothing to do with ...what's good for the country.

The cynicism and short-sighted-ness of the GOP power brokers is what should astound
the average American, that is, those who have not been bamboozled by FoxCo, Limbaugh, NYT, etc.

Brennan said...

The reasonable solution to medicare, SS, DoD spending would be bringin in mo' shekels via slight tax increases--especially on the executive class who have raked it in over the last few years. But Reason--that's asking a great deal of Teabug Co, or Ann's Gumphouse.

That "reasonable" solution isn't enough to fund the Medicare guarantees. That makes it silly posturing for the reality based community to check themselves into rehab. You don't have the population, economic, and capital growth rates you need to perpetuate boomer politics in the present.

Titus said...

I sincerely believe that ST.

Sometimes a woman need to know her place and show some respect.

If women would be able and willing and accepting there would be few divorces.

J said...

10-25. You don't and your Randian-log cabin palsies may not, Edu. but the American public does, Mr Glibertarian --they want Medicare and most want tax increases.. And even a few of the dissenters at the Gumphouse may.

For that matter, Miss A. voted for BO--rightly or wrongly. This isn't yr TP site, Edu the Jefferson Davis fan. Maybe go back to Breitbart, fratboys.

Roger J. said...

J: its problematic because for a long time there were trust funds that were earmarked to social security--congresses of both parties realized these were cash cows ripe for the milking--once the tax revenues go into the general fund (unless specific earmarks are in place) the scurrilous bastards in congress--again of both parties--will raid them.

Your take may be different, of course, but history seems to bear my take pretty accurately.

Pastafarian said...

How's a Ryan/Hillary ticket look in 2012?

Any takers?

I'd vote for it. Of course, I'd also vote for my cat/my dog in 2012. And my dog is one stupid son-of-a-bitch. (That's why he's at the bottom of the ticket.) Still, they'd be preferable to another 4 years of Obamanation, unfettered by re-election concerns.

But if they did run a mixed ticket of Ryan/Hillary and won, I wouldn't want to be the insurance salesman selling Ryan a life insurance policy.

edutcher said...

DADvocate said...

Clinton did institute welfare reform and put the budget in good order.

No, Gingrich did, with majorities capable of overriding Willie's veto.

Willie just took the credit after the fact.

Chuck66 said...

Bill may be a slick politician and loves a camera, but he and Hillary are very smart people. You don't go from fatherless white trash in Arksansaw to President by being an idiot.

No, he's a sociopath; they often succeed. If he was smart, he'd have kept his skirt-chasing better under wraps.

Also remember, it's always about the Clintons. Bill and Hill don't care about Obama and the current Demcorats in Congress. They will put themselves first, the country second, and the Democrats somewhere down the list quite a ways.

No, the Democrat Party, which is the vehicle of power for him is somewhere down the list, as you say.

The country doesn't even count.

Methadras said...

Clinton was if anything pragmatic. 1996 taught us that.

No, Dick Morris was. Willie just wanted to stay in office and out of jail.

Brennan said...

want Medicare and most want tax increases

Complete the rest of that claim. There is more. A lot more. And it doesn't support your truncation.

Mutnodjmet said...

I am a Democrat. Frankly, I hope it is Bill Clinton creating an opening for Hillary. Right now, my only option is writing in a name during the primary. I am thinking about writing Joe Biden's name down -- at least he is a dumba$$ who actually loves his county. But to have a motivated Clinton team with a record of economic success go against the Once would bring me joy. I hope this exchange is setting the stage for a primary challenge for the Democrats.

Roger J. said...

ALGORE raised the issue of sequestering fund with his concept of the "lock box." Of course thats what we had before congress raided it in the 1970s.

Presumably the answer would be to do a demographic analysis of the funds required to sustain SS and Medicare and those funds are taxed at a rate sufficient to keep the funds solvent--those funds go into ALGORES lockboxes.

Now does anyone have any confidence our political class of either strip has the willingness to do that?

Fred4Pres said...

spot on.

This is spot on too.

Hagar said...

Obama does not have a lock on being nominated, much less on being re-elected.

Obamania is a fragile thing. Something happens, and the media does a 180 on him. It does not even have to be anything that he had anything to do with or that was any kind of important to start with.

And if something like that happens, Hillary will be there.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Figures they'd both be at a meeting of the Peterson foundation, the mouthpiece of investment banker interests. People should remember the equation modern monetary theorists emphasize: government deficits = net private savings - net trade surplus. Why should people care about deficits now? Our financial crisis was caused by private citizens having too much debt and there being too much bogus investment, leading to decreased demand among other things when the excess-credit bubble began to collapse. Eliminating government deficits will disallow decreases in private debt, keeping Americans poor if not making them poorer (as the economy collapses from continued effects of the demand shock), and will not help trade. The danger of deficits is inflation rising from excess demand, which can largely be assessed by interest rates, which are ridiculously low, just like bankers want them so their toxic assets will be more valuable.

Nowadays money is created by debt. Either money is backed by government debt or private debt. The former situation is preferable to all but the bankers who want to have the power to create money as a result of people being in debt to them. Sure, healthcare in this country is ridiculously overpriced, and that's bad, but the whole hysteria about the danger right now of government debt is largely an evil manufactured by elitist bankers and their associations, and most flagrantly by the Pete Peterson foundation.

I know some people say that quantitative easing is artificially deflating interest rates, but from what? The already excessively low levels? It's might be a plausible explanation for why deficits are unnecessary, except there doesn't seem to be rampant inflation, and what little inflation there has been lately has largely been in stocks and commodities that are more valuable not because they are paying better dividends or are more useful, but because alternative investments like government securities aren't paying diddly. And besides, there is still way too much private debt, which can only be eliminated by restricting lending and causing a decrease in the amount of money that banks have created, which will produce inflation unless the government runs deficits.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"...He probably despises Obama whom he considers his intellectual and moral inferior..."

Bill did say he would have been fetching him coffee a few years prior.

Seven Machos said...

Maybe it's time we Republicans admit that Bill Clinton is a pretty good guy who wants to help people and deal with political realities.

windbag said...

Or is Clinton out there on his own, peeling away from some or all of the Democrats, perhaps creating some kind of opening for Hillary?

First rule of Clintonian politics: everything is about me. Very likely reason, imho.

Ryan needs bipartisan support. That's a given. He simply went to the source.

Kansas City said...

They did not know they were being recorded. You can tell by watching them. And, if they knew they were being recorded, they (particularly Ryan) would have said something far different than his stammering about paralysis - which ws exactly how I envision politicians talking in private.

I give Clinton the benefit of the doubt here, and consider him sincere. Ryan should jump at the chance to talk to him more and get something that can be used politically and perhaps even can be used to help solve the problem.

ricpic said...

I don't think the Republicans can find a candidate to run a serious campaign against Obama. The media will crucify any Republican candidate as a "racist" if he/she seriously criticizes Obama.

Wow, what a low opinion you have of the intelligence of the average voter. For one thing the racist charge, through sheer repetition, has lost its ability to terrify all but the pointy heads. For another what's real is the cost of gas and groceries and my cousins'/childrens'/friends' long term unemployment. Compared to those realities the racist charge rolls right off my average back. A warm Republican body will beat Obama like a rented mule.

mccullough said...

If only W. were as conservative as Clinton. Clinton thinks W. and Obama are reckless fools. He's trying to help. That's it. Ryan needs Clinton's political skills, so I'd make that call if I were him.

Joanna said...

they want Medicare and most want tax increases...
...paid by other people.

John Lynch said...

Or Bill Clinton really is serious and really does think it's a problem and really does want to solve it.

Revenant said...

Intelligent members of both parties know that Medicare and Social Security are, in their current form, doomed. Current retirees will probably see benefit cuts; future retirees absolutely will. Everybody will see significant tax increases.

Both parties know this, but *neither* party can resist using "Mediscare" tactics to win votes. Republicans did it during the Obamacare debate, Democrats are doing it now.

Kudos to Ryan for having the balls to take the first steps towards a fix -- but, realistically, nothing's going to get done until after disaster strikes.

Patrick said...

Henry:

Leave it to me to fall for an April Fools prank two months late. Ha!

Henry said...

@Patrick -- It wasn't really fair on my part. I was actually looking for a supporting link for my quote when I stumbled across the "yo mama" parody. Ah what the hell. Link.

Unemployment said...

Yeah, I'm sure there's a great conspiracy taking place here.

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