Government Spending

Rand Paul: "Bill Clinton should be considered preferable to Bush"

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Please to explain!

It's been four whole days since we've had some Rand Paul porn around here, so let's repair to the opening of chapter 3 in the Kentucky senator's interesting new book, The Tea Party Goes to Washington:

Imagine this—what if there had never been a President George W. Bush, and when Bill Clinton left office he was immediately replaced with Barack Obama. Now imagine Obama had governed from 2000 to 2008 exactly as Bush did–doubling the size of government, doubling the debt, expanding federal entitlements and education, starting the Iraq war–the whole works. To make matters worse, imagine that for a portion of that time, the Democrats actually controlled all three branches of government. Would Republicans have given Obama and his party a free pass in carrying out the exact same agenda as Bush? It's hard to imagine this being the case, given the grief Bill Clinton got from Republicans, even though his big government agenda was less ambitious than Bush's. Yet, the last Republican president got very little criticism from his own party for most of his tenure.

For conservatives, there was no excuse for this.

Paul goes on to say stuff like "any self-described conservative who 'misses' the last president and his version of the Republican Party should probably quit subscribing to that label," and "if judgment is based on spending and the budget, then Bill Clinton should be considered preferable to Bush."

Reason on Rand Paul here. Watch this space tomorrow for a Reason.tv interview of Sen. Paul by Withnail Nick Gillespie and I.

NEXT: U.S. Stung By Latest Undercover Sting

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  1. George the First was always reckoned
    Vile, but viler George the Second.
    And what mortal ever heard
    Any good of George the Third,
    But when from earth the Fourth descended
    God be praised the Georges ended

    Walter Savage Landor

  2. Yet, the last Republican president got very little criticism from his own party for most of his tenure.

    Partisanship, how does it fucking work?

    I’m hoping Rand is just trying to be ironic… but if he is really mystified, he’s a Tony-level moron.

    1. I think he’s chastising.

      In any case, it’s obvious that today’s climate needs divided government.

      1. Me too, I just wish the denominator wasn’t always 2.

        1. I was told there would b….err, I mean, SYSTEM ERROR: DIVIDE BY ZERO.

        2. “Oh, we got both kinds…country and western!”

          1. Gawd, I can recite nearly every line of that entire movie. I must have watched it 50 times when I was a teenager. We had it on VHS and I was addicted to it.

            Come to think of it, I haven’t seen it in years. Maybe I’m due for a refresher – but I doubt it; I can pretty much watch the entire thing in my head any time I want.

            I can barely remember what I did yesterday or am supposed to do tomorrow, but I can remember every scene and every line in that whole damn movie that I haven’t seen in probably close to 20 years.

            1. The greatest musical ever. In fact, the greatest possible musical.

      2. This is a link for Pro Libertate. It is NSFW and no one else should click it.

        Link

        1. I clicked it. Now I’m all woozy.

          1. A cold compress helps.

        2. with reasonable installed it just jiggles to life on its own

          1. Yeah…that was a bit of a surprise.

            1. and it doesn’t stop, i think SF is trying to hypnotize us

        3. With friggin pasties?! You’re kidding, right?

      3. Or honest, non-corrupt gover—-

        Oh, I see what you did there.

      4. I hope you mean the climate over the last 11 years, and not just since Obama came into office. I could have used a healthy dose of divided gov’t during the worst of Bush’s reign, as Rand detailed.

    2. You guys ready for Jeb Bush?

      1. I’ve heard that he’s the smart one.

        1. Sad thing is, he’d be a standout in the field of announced candidates. That’s really sad. As in “McCain for President” sad. As in “Dole for President” sad. As in “Dukakis for President” sad.

          1. That’s depressing as hell.

      2. Might’ve been if his dad and brother hadn’t held high office. He was a very good governor. With some flawed moments, but overall good.

        1. And he is married to a Latina.

          1. A wise one?

            1. She married him – that should be your answer.

    3. He isn’t chastising nor ironic, he is explaining to tea partiers who are now open to listening to him. He is arguing points one tiny, obvious, step at a time.

      1. Ah, so then he’s Stosselling them?

        1. That sounds like something that should have been followed by a NSFW link.

            1. ffffffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
              UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU…….

            2. Hey, just follow the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, and soon you too will be great.

      2. Fair enough… though it should be pointed out that heavy criticism of Bush from the right on spending and entitlements began long before the 2008 election.

        1. Agreed. I remember Rush Limbaugh almost having a cow over Medicare prescription drugs. The whole “Compassionate Conservatism” pissed a lot of conservatives off, too.

        2. There was some criticism… but really not that much. Bush Jr. left office with a 34% approval rating overall, a 28% approval rating from independents, and a 75% approval rating from Republicans. (Search for “Bush Presidency Closes With 34% Approval, 61% Disapproval”). While Bush was president, pretty much every right-wing pundit wrote a book extolling his awesomeness.

          Paul is right– the bulk of Republicans don’t have policy views, they have a favorite team.

    4. Bush didn’t just get criticism, he got outright disapproval. How did Bush get to 30% approval without his party also largely abandoning him too?

      1. It became easy for them to jump on the bandwagon when he couldn’t seek another term.

  3. Dear Matt Welch,

    …a Reason.tv interview of Sen. Paul by Nick Gillespie and I.

    should be

    …a Reason.tv interview of Sen. Paul by Nick Gillespie and me.

    Love,
    The Grammar Nazi

    1. Thank you VERY much. That really irritates me, but I hate being the only grammar nazi.

      1. I was going to mention it but I was afraid somebody would call me a douche. Not that I’m not a douche. It’s even in my fake address. The end.

      2. Yeah, grammer is important and all, but I’m still just trying to figure out who this “Rand Paul” is.

        1. I think they make candy bars.

        2. grammer is important and all

          Is this some type of application of RC’z law?

      3. I prefer “grammar stasi”, myself. That way, you get the very best authoritarian nitpickery.

      4. Not to be that “guy who watches movies and then looks stuff up on the internet so he doesn’t look like an idiot” nazi, but because the movie was called Withnail and I, that makes “Nick Gillespie and I” the correct reference.

        1. Oh, c’mon. Let’s just be happy for an obscure “Withnail and I” reference.

          I have a buddy who watched the movie with me once and then refused to see it again. He said it looked too much like our lives.

      5. Not to be that “guy who watches movies and then looks stuff up on the internet so he doesn’t look like an idiot” nazi, but because the movie was called Withnail and I, that makes “Nick Gillespie and I” the correct reference.

    2. Pointing that one out doesn’t really rise to full grammarnaziism. There is just no excuse for it (I say before joez law smacks me up against the head a few post down the road).

      1. before joez law smacks me up against the head a few post down the road

        Too late! And, you get an RC’z Law to go!

        1. Master Satan is infallible! That ‘s’ shall be written in the blood of your Lord!

    3. A true grammar nazi would descant on objective and nominative cases.

  4. Not sure how Alex, Geddy, and Neil will feel about you using the kimono pic in conjunction with Rand Paul.

    Anyone going to the MSG show?

    1. I wish.

    2. fuuuuck rush and their asinine fans with one of rather’s cunt pickles

      1. We’re sorry your musical tastes haven’t progressed beyond The Wiggles.

  5. Would Republicans have given Obama and his party a free pass in carrying out the exact same agenda as Bush?

    But- but- 9/11!!!

    Islamofascismistic terrrrruuuuhporn.

    It’s different this time!!!

  6. I’d honestly like to see Gregory Smith’s take on this article.

    1. I’d honestly like to see Gregory Smith’s take on this article a prostate exam done by Dr. Hook.

      Same thing, pretty much.

      1. LOL, granted.

      2. Did you mean Capt. Hook? Although, I suppose getting a prostate exam by the whole band of Dr. Hook would be almost as unpleasant.

  7. And- existential threats!!

  8. “We didn’t WANT to destroy the village, but, umm….

    well, you know.”

  9. I’d tried to tell you guys. You didn’t listen.

  10. To make matters worse, imagine that for a portion of that time, the Democrats actually controlled all three branches of government.

    I think you meant to say “controlled the presidency and both the House and Senate.” Right?

    1. That’s just what he said. All three branches.

    2. Hey!

    3. The SCOTUS was right dominant during Bush’s terms so saying all three branches was not wrong.

      1. It’s a not-so-minor quibble, but unless there is considerable turnover during a president’s term and the appointed justices rule along party lines (they often don’t), it’s hard to say that one party or another “controls” the judiciary. It’s not to say that the SCOTUS doesn’t have a bias, but that’s not the same thing.

        It’s like saying that I can control the traffic by driving a really big, beat up truck like an asshole.

        1. Oh come on: Bush v. Gore. Let’s not be simple.

  11. “if judgment is based on spending and the budget, then Bill Clinton should be considered preferable to Bush.”

    Clinton with the Gingrich led Congress was preferable to Bush with the Hastert led Congress. Clinton with the Foley as Speaker, not so much.

    People need to remember that Clinton was politically constrained in the last six years of his presidency. His preferred policies were fiscally loose. The thing about the Bush years is that W did not run as a conservative and the GOP congress did nothing to reign him in. Bush and Hastert were, in many ways, the restoration of the GOP establishment to control of the party and away from the ideological conservatives. Of course, even what Bush was doing was extrem right wing compared to the Dems were offering at the time.

    1. His preferred policies were fiscally loose.

      Well, yes and no.

      Clinton favored a much larger role for government in society than I do, so in that sense he favored “loose” policy.

      But he favored paying-as-you-go for his big government schemes, and not borrowing. At least, not to the extent that W and Super-W favor borrowing.

      1. Clinton favored a balanced budget? Really? Googling ‘clinton balanced budget’ gets a bunch of post-history fact checking but also Wikipedia’s Balanced Budget Act of 1997 page which includes the following in the introduction: “It was an omnibus legislative package enacted using the budget reconciliation process and designed to balance the federal budget by 2002.”

        So it seems even a Clinton tethered by the Republicans to lower spending still supported spending in excess of receipts. In fact, this budget reminds me of the Bush budgets I hated so much. They were also ‘balanced’ in that sometime in the future, roughly around the 7th year of an expansion, they also balanced. Except we never get 7 year expansions, at least it’s not likely anymore. I never previously knew that Clinton was the author of that balanced budget cheat.

      2. Given his way, Clinton would have increased government spending considerably. His solution to budget deficits were tax increases but were combined with spending increases over and above the rosy forecasts of increased tax revenue. That can only be decribed as a tight policy in the wonderland of DC.

  12. Watch this space tomorrow for a Reason.tv interview of Sen. Paul by Withnail Nick Gillespie and I.

    ME AND NICK GILLESPIE

    1. Pssst…scroll up.

      1. The problem has yet to be addressed, and we will not be silenced until it is!

        1. You should be silenced for offering up ME AND NICK GILLESPIE rather than Nick Gillespie and me.

          1. What about “NICK GILLESPIE AND THIS GUY (2 THUMBS POINTING BACK AT MATT WELCH)”?

          2. Errors on top of errors.

            People, people, people, just because your grade school English teacher berated you every time you said “Me and my friend went to the store,” that doesn’t mean the entire construction is heresy. It’s merely using me as the subject which is incorrect.

            http://www.foldedspace.org/web…..and_i.html

  13. Bush’s domestic spending was frequently criticized by members of his party, and of course the TARP bailout famously triggered a revolt by Congressional Republicans that left McCain looking like an idiot.

    Most of Bush’s spending spree came in the form of military spending, which conservatives typically give government a pass on.

    1. No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, Omnibus Spending Bill….

    2. John McCain wasn’t “left looking like an idiot.” He started out looking like an idiot.

  14. Paul pretends that 9-11 never happened. After 9-11 Republicans would have followed a Democratic President right into Afghanistan and probably into Iraq. People convienently forget that Bill Clinton wanted to invade Iraq in 1998 and that Iraq was a Wilsonian war if there ever was one. And the Patriot Act passed with almost no dissent. And Obama has proven in spades that Democratic coutner terrorism policy is no different than it was under Bush.

    The Republican Congress passed NCLB and Medicare Part B. And all Congress critters love to steal. It defies credulity to believe that the 02 to 06 Congress would have stopped stealing or the alliance of big government Republicans and Democrats who passed the spending increases of the 00s would have somehow restrained themselves if there had been a Democrat in the Whitehouse. The Republicans only discovered restraint after they had been kicked out of office and a new generation elected. The generation before was hopeless.

    I am not really sure what Paul’s point here is. But I hope he wiped himself off because he is most assuredly pissing in the wind.

    1. The point is ” America, stay out da Bushes”

    2. The point is and will remain,

      “Fuck you, Republicans who held offices prior to 2010. If you think we forgot, we didn’t.”

      No matter how many times you complain, John, some of us just aren’t going to forget.

      1. You have to admit his spelling has improved dramatically over the last year to where now I think John’s misspellings are just typos.

      2. There is nothing in that post that is not true. If you don’t like reality, tough shit. Fuck you to Fluffy. I am sorry you can’t get over your PTSD from the 00s. You sound like an old hippie still raving about that bastard Nixon in 1987.

        1. I miss Nixon.

          *click*BAM!*kathump*

        2. Since you brought up Nixon, what the hell: have the best political eulogy evar.

          1. Hey at least Nixon didn’t kill himself. In the end Nixon was a better man than that idiot Hunter Thompson. Most of us grow up and stop reading such gibberish. For his crimes and magnificent misdemeanors Nixon ended the draft which took the sails out of the anti-war movement.

            Fuck U Dr. Thompson. may you rot with angel dust in your veins.

        3. “Robert Redford says he’ll be running for president in ’88. We could run a piece on?”

        4. Is there something Rand Paul said that wasn’t true?

      3. “The Republican Congress passed NCLB and Medicare Part B. And all Congress critters love to steal. It defies credulity to believe that the 02 to 06 Congress would have stopped stealing or the alliance of big government Republicans and Democrats who passed the spending increases of the 00s would have somehow restrained themselves if there had been a Democrat in the Whitehouse.”

        What about that statement defends Republicans? You are so screwed in the head on this topic, that you can’t even read anymore. All you can do is rant and rave.

        1. You think the Republicans would have gone along so easily with No Child Left Behind, Medicare expansion, etc. if the President had been a Democrat?

          I agree with you on the civil liberties & foreign policy points, John, but on domestic policy Paul is spot on about the hypocrisy.

          1. NCLB had two basic elements, one for Bush and the Republicans and one for Kennedy and the Dems. Those deals can be made in any political environment.

            Bush wanted testing, Kennedy wanted more federal money for education. So Bush opened with testing plus, from memory, roughly $5 billion for the cost of testing plus $5 billion for remediation. I think Kennedy ended up getting something around 10 times that for remediation in the final bill.

            On Medicare expansion you find a similar path. Bush proposes a token amount and in order to get Dems on board (because he didn’t have the support of so many Republicans in Congress) has to more than double the cost of the bill.

            Ultimately, Bush signed these bills and is responsible. He ‘owns’ this spending as much as spending on Iraq and Afghanistan. But is it really that hard to see that Team Blue will always be worse on spending. Always.

            For a 3rd example where Bush capitulated on spending vs led increases on spending look at the creation of DHS. After the 9/11 Commission recommended this new department Bush said no for, again from memory, 3 or 4 months during which the media and the Dems flailed him with questions about why he wouldn’t go along with a bi-partisan commission’s recommendations (it seems to me a more recent commission came out with recommendations that a President ignored, do you think the media is trying to browbeat this President to accept these recommendations?). Eventually Bush succumbed to the pressure and went along with this new department, to his discredit.

          2. You think the Republicans would have gone along so easily with No Child Left Behind, Medicare expansion, etc. if the President had been a Democrat?

            Considering the polls, the makeup of Congress, and everything else, if the President had been a Democrat we would have gotten a more expensive NCLB and a more expensive Medicare Part D.

    3. The Republicans have discovered restraint?

      1. Some of them have. Democrats are all still in kick-that-can-down-the-road-a-little-farther mode and they show no signs of changing.

        1. Some of them have.

          By “some”, you mean two, right?

    4. People convienently forget that Bill Clinton wanted to invade Iraq in 1998

      Should we blame the hypothetical presidents who would have taken us to war and blew up the budget and put more regulations on us then any other president ever?

      Or should we blame the one that actually did those things?

      Anyway the only thing more tiresome then left wingers blaming Bush for Obama mistakes is right wingers trying to convince us not to blame Bush for Bush’s mistakes.

      How hard is it to simply say “Bush Sucked shit and now he is gone” and move on.

    5. No, we didn’t forget that Iraq was a Wilsonian war. That’s kinda the point actually.

    6. I highly doubt that they would have pinch hit for Clinton or Gore or whoever during 2000-08 for ratcheting up spending while we were at war. Indeed, the talking point would have been, “how can we spend money on NCLB/Medicare Pt D/etc when we have a war?”

  15. My moment of clarity in realizing we were totally fucked is when I started missing Bill Clinton.

    1. Mine was right about when Brownie was doing a heckuva job.
      Was it the total travesty of hiring Brownie as director of FEMA? No it was the fact that in the middle of all that devastation W still couldn’t muster enough nuts to say “hell”.

  16. You know who also misses Bill? Hint: she’ll usually take a cigar unusually.

  17. Only one thing to be said about that graphic: Oh my!

  18. A fucking spitwad is preferable to Rand Paul. What an asshole.

    1. You’re just horny for George Bush…

      1. His smile gives me a throbbing hard-on.

        1. You and 48% of the popular vote.

    2. Where I swap Max’s and Rand Paul’s name. Funny things happen, and the universe is more balanced.

      1. I consider that the Tao of Selective Dyslexia.

  19. Who are those three dudes in the picture?

    1. The Cult of the Aqua Buddha

      1. “”The Cult of the Aqua Buddha””

        Didn’t Michael Phelps lose endorsements over using one of those?

    2. That’s “Rush” the Canadian Rock band.

      1. About 35 years ago.

  20. “if judgment is based on spending and the budget, then Bill Clinton should be considered preferable to Bush.”

    His larger points are valid, but that statement is a little simplistic.

    Clinton was more reigned in because of gridlock. He had to compromise with the Republicans to pass a budget at all.

    Still he is a lot more moderate than Obama and it is at least debatable that he wouldn’t have been as profligate a spender as Bush if he had a Democrat congress.

    1. Why would you type this on a Libertarian Website? It’s like going to some church website and saying Jesus Christ is Lord.

      1. lol That was meant for Tony’s Remarks about how Republicans don’t actually stop spending.

  21. To be fair, spending is really only the world’s biggest crisis to be addressed RIGHT NOW when Democrats are in the White House. Otherwise, in the words of Dick Cheney, deficits don’t matter (as Ronald Reagan proved).

    The first people to give a shit about GWB’s unprecedented reckless spending were liberals who thought that his body count wasn’t convincing enough, so they noted the multiple trillions of dollars his pet war was projected to cost. That’s how I remember it anyway.

    But let’s get something clear. With a couple of exceptions like the Pauls, Republicans don’t care about spending. They DO NOT CARE about spending. They care about using spending as a catch-all excuse to deny Democrats the ability to pass any new policy, and as a convenient way to attack them politically.

    1. You’re right.

      But where did all those liberals go, seeing as Obama is continuing both of those wars?

  22. That’s how I remember it anyway.

    I’m sure you do. Funny that I don’t hear a lot of noise about bringing the troops home to save money these days.

    I recall a movement arising elsewhere on the political spectrum that was pissed about spending. Google up “Porkbusters” sometime.

    1. The Porkbusters were formed out of concern for the extra spending it would take to address the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.

      Why do Republicans always insist we offset costs for helping needy people, but blowing them up in a foreign country–or giving tax cuts to the non-needy–can be put on the credit card?

      1. When did the government become a fucking insurance company, Tony? If I don’t have car insurance, and a meteor lands directly on my car, should the government have to buy me a new one? I mean, I need my car to get back and forth to work and all, so it’s vital to my economic well-being, right?

        Most rational human beings would say it’s not the government’s problem, right? It ain’t the government’s job to cover my poor decision making skills, is it? So why is a hurricane any different? Because it’s real property that gets destroyed? Well, too goddamned bad. I keep house insurance so if my house gets leveled by a hurricane, I’ll get paid. If the government would GTFO out of the flood insurance business, we could see some rational pricing develop and maybe there wouldn’t be so much shit built on barrier islands and below sea level in a swamp.

        The only thing the feds should have paid for in Katrina was rebuilding federal property that got flooded.

        1. In a way, government is a form of insurance. We pay taxes so that it’s there in case we need it. This must be perfectly clear to you in the case of foreign invasion. Traditionally, national governments (and international bodies) other primary roles is responding to natural disasters. Because what else will?

          1. *one of their other primary roles

          2. Wal Mart, The Red Cross, The Salvation Army

      2. The Porkbusters were formed out of concern for the extra spending it would take to address the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.

        So tendentious, yet unhelpful to the point you strain at making.

        1. I don’t have a point other than that Republicans are cynical opportunistic Machiavellian power-hungry whores.

          1. “I don’t have a point…”

            Refreshing!

            “…Republicans are cynical opportunistic Machiavellian power-hungry whores.”

            Well, yes many of them are. In fact I’d say most. I’d also say the same thing about Democrats. What say you?

            1. I say Democrats aren’t nearly as good at it.

              1. Oh don’t go all holy-than-thou on me. The first thing a Democrat is is a politician, just like the Republicans. They are both stealing from the same people while busy kissing the asses of those that pay the bills. All you need to do is switch the labels, and they are pretty much the same.

                1. So does a republic become an empire.

                  I’m with the ones we elect over the ones we don’t (the bureaucrats currently marching on our capitols). The latter have done a pretty good job of convincing us to hate on the former via their allies in the corporate media.

                  Time for a little cui bono?

              2. I say Democrats aren’t nearly as good at [being cynical opportunistic Machiavellian power-hungry whores].

                Debatable. WJ Clinton was a master at it. In any event, even if you’re right, it’s not for lack of trying.

          2. Sounds like a good reason to take away the power of the state so when Republicans get into power they can’t fuck shit up.

            Why again did Obama/Democrats do the exact opposite?

  23. I don’t have a point other than that Republicans are cynical opportunistic Machiavellian power-hungry whores.

    Pointing out that the Porkbusters were formed after Katrina, is, as I said, tendentious and unhelpful to making the point that “Republicans are cynical opportunistic Machiavellian power-hungry whores”.

    1. Perhaps it’s not the best example. That speaks more to their institutional hypocrisy.

  24. It is absolutely hilarious to imagine Obama vetoing SCHIP and the Farm Bill.
    If Obama was POTUS in 2008 TARP may not have passed.An Obama SCOTUS would have definitely found the 2nd Amendment to be a “collective right”. Congress would have had the power to make all kinds of laws restricting “unfair” speech, or something. Alternate history is fun!

  25. interview of Sen. Paul by Withnail Nick Gillespie and I.

    Nick Gillespie and me. An interview by Nick Gillespie and me.

  26. So far I like Rand Paul. I don’t pretend I can read his mind yet, like I can with Ron*, but he is still doing fine.

    Good for him for saying that shit, it needed sayin.

    *only when the tin foil hat is off, you know, blocking the mind control rays and such.

  27. Ah, the good old days, when the government was considered too big for spending a mere 1.8 trillion dollars…..

  28. Sounds like he’s right as rain to me. What’s the problem, exactly?

  29. Not good. He shouldn’t go around calling people like Rush and most of our guys not conservatives. Those of us who support the wars and a strong national defense.
    I didn’t mind him having his own opinions about things.

  30. Not good. He shouldn’t go around calling people like Rush and most of our guys not conservatives. Those of us who support the wars and a strong national defense.
    I didn’t mind him having his own opinions about things.

  31. Not good. He shouldn’t go around calling people like Rush and most of our guys not conservatives. Those of us who support the wars and a strong national defense.
    I didn’t mind him having his own opinions about things.

  32. I liked him, as a matter of fact.

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