Thursday, June 12, 2008

Survey Results: As time passes, how do you think history will rate Bill Clinton as president?

bill clinton's foreign policyNo matter what you think of Bill Clinton, he will leave a legacy... most (if not all) presidents do. But love him or hate him, Clinton will leave a legacy which will outlast many of his counterparts.

It is clear that under Clinton's watchful eye the economy flourished. Some of this can be attributed to his prowess in foreign policy, most notably the ratification of NAFTA and GATT, which both helped to bolster our trade and in turn our economy.

Yes, a personal scandal did hurt Clinton's true ability to be judged unbiasedly. And unfortunately many will never put that mistake aside. These are the same people that voted him "One of the worst" Presidents in history, which is absolutely ridiculous. A surprising 19% of my readers put Clinton in this category. This is clearly a case of disregarding the facts and simply voting on his sometimes questionable morals. I digress.

Back to the facts... Clinton's foreign policy, though not great, was considered a positive. Along with the aforementioned NAFTA and GATT accomplishments, Clinton also helped to denuclearize several Soviet Republics, like the Ukraine. Though he can't be given all the credit, as many of his predecessors set the table for this to occur.

How about the Chemical Weapons Convention. Signed in 1993 under Clinton's administration, it was basically an extension of the Geneva Convention urging countries not to stockpile chemical weapons. The pact put into effect many verification measures including on-site inspections and compliance guidelines. That's not too bad... but again, not really Clinton's idea, but good for him for signing it. But since 184 of the 195 recognized states or countries signed it (though not all will remain compliant) we can't really give much of hoorah a to Mr. Bill.

1996 brought about a United States led effort to save the Mexican peso and subside any chance for a full fledged Mexican depression. NAFTA would help in the long run, but Mexico needed help now. Clinton's compassion for our southern neighbor staved off what would have been a huge calamity in Mexico, which could have led to an influx of Mexican's flocking to the US for jobs... heck that happens now, but imagine what it could have been.

Through deterrence, diplomacy and some Clinton charm, he reduced the threat of North Korea going postal, by negotiating the Framework Agreement to freeze and dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons fuel production and long range missile testing. (Little good it did, consider where North Korea is now).

This also helped to open a dialogue with South Korea, where Clinton played the "good neighbor" by trying to get two quarrelling neighbors to kiss and make up... a la Jimmy Carter. In doing this, Clinton helped to coordinate the Four Party Talks, which included both Koreas, the US and Japan.

Clinton also negotiated the exit of Russian troops from the Baltics, brought NATO missions into the Balkans and helped Russia to end to the Kosovo war. He then invited Russia to join the G-8, ATEC and into talks with NATO. He convinced Russia to dismantle thousands nuclear warheads, lessening the threat of nuclear danger, and finally helped to build Russia's economy by offering more than 250,000 Russian entrepreneurs training, consulting services and US backed loans to welcome them into the world of Free enterprise/market economy... It's about time, right?

He strengthened our relationship with China, helping to bring them into the World Trade Organization (which most likely helped to plant the seed of what China's economy is today... which is rather large and getting larger...)

With Bono's help (yep.. that Bono from U2) he helped broker the Good Friday Peace Accord, which ended decades of bloodshed, and finally allowed the people of Northern Ireland to live in relative peace and decide their own destiny.

He's done similar revitalizations with countries in Africa and Vietnam... and all of it was in the best interest of our country... a lot of win/win situations.

I could go on and on... and this is just foreign policy... this is not our Economy... I'll save that for another entry...

So here are the results of the poll... (with 52 votes)

As time passes, how do you think history will rate Bill Clinton as president?

Better than most - 36% (19 votes)
Not as good as most - 26% (14 votes)
One of the worst - 19% (10 votes)
One of the Best - 13% (7 votes)
Worse than Most - 3% (2 votes)

Would anyone care to vote again? Can he really be considered one of the worst?

I'd like to hear your thoughts on Clinton's legacy... and how he can be considered one of the worst.

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Anonymous said...

three words "Lied under oath"

Anonymous said...

to anonymous - re: your comment

George Bush lied to the entire country... for years, and years.

Hercules Mulligan said...

Hi Kevin. I haven't stopped by your blog in a while; it looks like I've got some catching up to do!

This post on Bill Clinton got my attention as I scanned over the new posts here since I'd last visited.

I don't have time to remark on all that was said here, but I take issue with the fact of Bill Clinton's (im)morality.

Since when is a "personal scandal" an insignificant matter in judging someone's character? If one is immoral (and Clinton has shown himself to be habitually immoral), than how can that person be a great person at all? YUK! If a man cannot keep his own marriage vow (made before God and man), than how can he be expected to keep his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution? Answer: he can't be expected, because the man is dishonest. And Clinton didn't protect the Constitution; he destroyed our national sovereignty (he was one in a long line of Presidents who have been doing this), and he clearly has shown disrespect for the laws of the land (for example, lying under oath).

A surprising 19% voted him to worst President indeed -- more voters should have thought the same! A man didn't control his own perverse tendencies to save the honor of the high office he held! This is an outrage.

I do not mean to pick on you personally, sir, but I think your nonchalant way of treating this serious subject explains why this disgusting character is more frequent in our public officials! They know that we really don't care if they act sick and perverse -- even during their public tenure -- so they do it, and then pretend to be remorseful and sorry when they get in front of the camera after exposure. Hypocrites are not great men.

I could go on to disagree with you on matters of his "accomplishments" on the economy and foreign policy, but I think I have said enough here.

I ask you please, not to take my remarks personally, but to take them seriously. In vindication of my principles, I would like to post a quote from John Adams. He was speaking in reference to women, as those most involved in the raising of children, but I think the same can be said for men, too:

"The foundation of national morality must be laid in private families.... How is it possible that Children can have any just Sense of the sacred Obligations of Morality or Religion if, from their earliest Infancy, they learn their Mothers live in habitual Infidelity to their fathers, and their fathers in as constant Infidelity to their Mothers?"

The Founders believed that for a free republic to survive, society must be made up of moral and religious individuals. This means that the grossest immorality, including fornication, must be shunned and forbidden. To find that this immorality should be a more frequently-exposed habit in our public officials is a shocking indicator of the crumbling foundations of our free republic.

klkatz said...

Hey Herc,
thanks for coming back.. haven't heard from you in a while.

trust me, i can't take any of this personally.. it's not my character you're defiling, but i do feel i should state a few rebuttles.

i will preface this, with risk of alienating myself from some of my readers... by saying that everybody has their own views on what is perverse, and what parameters are used to rate a good leader. I'm not saying one is right and one is wrong, but that there will always be different levels of acceptance, no matter what the issue.

That said, I stated that Clinton had "questionable morals", I'm not defending what he did. As a married man, I don't agree with it. But I will say that, his "personal scandal" is in no way related to his leadership capability. He had a lapse in judgement. And he made a very, very bad decision.

I do understand your thoughts on his never being considered a great person, but I must say again, that everyone measures greatness with different parameters. I for one, think that his "personal scandal" is a personal issue, that was made a public issue, and I still stand behind my statement that (in my opinion) it didn't effect his ability to lead. I'd like to think that he is truly remorseful for his actions.

It appears like you and I are men of great principles, who may have to agree to disagree on this matter.

My bottom line is that we should keep personal vices and political accomplishments seperate. And base our thoughts on the latter, not the former.

Thanks for posting Herc...I'm a big fan of open dialogue.

Anonymous said...

Clinton's "distractions" in the white house were initially not a big deal to me, as there was plenty of precedent.....see John Kennedy. However, they just seemed to come out of the woodwork, and the fact that these women were summarily dismissed as fame seekers got a little old. I really felt sorry for Kathy Willey (sp?).

His finger wagging and twinkling of the eyes was more of his arrogance and posturing...the best defense is a good offense... and more annoying than W's smirk.

All in all, I believe these distractions and desire to continue to live the BMOC lifestyle really hurt the county. The bombings of the buildings in Africa, the USS Cole, and all the resulting empty speeches about how those responsible will be brought to justice, must have made us seem laughable. Those responsible, or their allies, took this as weakness and subsequently flew planes into our buildings. This, along with the weakening of our intellegence gathering, from using live assets to relying on technology, contributed greatly (but not all) of where we are today.

And don't get me started on the other half.

Hercules Mulligan said...

Hi Kevin. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond to you; I have been very busy, and have not even updated my own blogs.

I am glad that you are not personally offended at my comments. Thanks for welcoming my voice; I like good discussion too, so long as it is geared toward discovering truth.

I would like to respond to a few things you said in your comment. While it is true that people have variable standards about what is right and wrong, that does not change the fact that there is one; people can either take it or leave it and face consequences. And no matter what anyone thinks, being unfaithful to your wife, and abusing others, is wrong. Bill Clinton proved that even he knew that deep down inside, when he went to the extent of lying under oath before a grand jury to save his hide.

His decision (or rather, lifestyle), cannot be attributed to a lapse in judgment. People can know that what they are doing is wrong, but they will still do it if they do not have the will to resist it. Such is the case here. People who do those things are doing something worse than stupid; they are hurting themselves and other people for a moment's gratification.

We cannot make the mistake of separating one's personal character and morals with their public character. The Founders repeatedly warned us of making this mistake, and their reasons were steeped in common sense: if you can't trust a man to be honest and moral and to respect other people in their private lives, than how can you trust them to conduct themselves likewise while serving the public?

And what is leadership? Is it just being a good manager, organizer, and motivator? One who can unite, or tell other people what to do well? Or does it also involve setting an example that others should aspire to attain? Were not the great leaders of our past great because of their great personal character (Washington, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, etc)?

If Clinton could not keep his own marriage vow, or his vow to "tell the truth" in court, how can we know that he kept the Constitution? That was his whole job as president.

"I'd like to think that he is truly remorseful for his actions."

So would I. But I don't think that his character as it stands now gives much food for that hope.

Thanks again for inviting me to participate.

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