Posts Tagged ‘Bill Clinton’

There are no good outcomes: Thoughts on Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and impeachment

January 31, 2020

By Matthew E. Milliken
Jan. 31, 2020

Author’s note: This post contains brief references to sexual assault and suicide. MEM

Over the years, I’ve come to believe something that I suspected but tried to suppress at the time: That Bill Clinton disgraced and endangered his office of the presidency by conducting an extramarital affair in the White House and then lying about it under oath.

The affair displayed bad judgment on a number of levels, not least because it potentially exposed him to blackmail. The perjury ultimately cost Clinton his ability to serve as a lawyer (although he hadn’t practiced in years). Shortly before Clinton left office, Robert Ray, the special counsel who succeeded Kenneth Starr, announced that the president has surrendered his Arkansas law license for five years and accepted a $25,000 fine.

As Starr’s investigation and impeachment effort proceeded throughout 1998 and into 1999, I generally scoffed at the Republican endeavor to remove Clinton from office. The Grand Old Party had always despised “Slick Willie,” a hatred that prompted Hillary Clinton to coin the infamous phrase “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Right-wing nuts and grifters — it was hard to think of them in any other way — had spent years accusing Clinton of committing sexual assault, exploiting a savings and loan association to salvage what turned out to be a bad investment in the Whitewater Development Corp., facilitating international arms and drug smuggling through an airport in Mena, Ark.; and killing a high-level White House attorney.

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Cheeps and Chirps for Nov. 28, 2018

November 28, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 28, 2018

The finest hand-crafted autumnal tweets.

• Politics

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Cheeps and Chirps for April 2017 (more catch-up)

June 23, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
June 23, 2017

You got it: Yet more catching up from my Twitter feed!

• ZOMG Donald Trump!

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Cheeps and Chirps — belated July 2016 Democratic National Convention edition!

August 12, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
Aug. 12, 2016

Yep — have some more Twitter!

• Comedy!

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Dynamic scoring, sobering results: More on the Tax Foundation’s analysis of GOP candidates’ tax plans

November 14, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 14, 2015

Recently, I performed some sophisticated data crunching on a Tax Foundation analysis of the tax-reform plans of seven Republican presidential candidates. (Which is to say, I typed the data from this Tax Foundation table into a spreadsheet and divided certain numbers by 10.) After comparing the results to historic U.S. budget deficits, I concluded that:

[A]ll of these tax proposals would be budget busters, creating some of the largest annual deficits in U.S. history. If enacted, and if they worked as projected, either government services would have to be cut dramatically or tax rates would have to be increased in order to prevent the national debt from ballooning. And given the political scene, the former option would be far more likely to be enacted.

However, there’s a catch.

The catch is that the Tax Foundation projected potential budget surpluses or deficits for the Republican proposals using two different methods. The numbers I relayed in my previous post were produced using static revenue estimates, a technique that has long been employed by government budget analysts.

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U.S. budget deficits: Numbers past, present and future

November 12, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
Nov. 12, 2015

Earlier this week, I wrote about an analysis from the Tax Foundation that indicated that the tax-reform plans of seven Republican candidates each might increase the deficit by more than a trillion of dollars over a 10-year period. I want to explore the details a little further.

Allow me to set the stage with a brief history of federal budget deficits. The first time the U.S. budget was in the red for more than $75 billion was in fiscal year 1981, when it hit $79 billion under a plan enacted in what turned out to be the last year of Jimmy Carter’s presidency. The first time the federal deficit exceeded $100 billion was the very next year, under Ronald Reagan, when it reached $128 billion. Between 1983 and 1995, the budgetary gap ranged from a low of roughly $150 billion to a high of $290 billion.

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Not necessarily ready for Hillary: Thoughts on Mrs. Clinton’s controversies, past and present

May 9, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
May 9, 2015

Let’s acknowledge Hillary Clinton’s historic accomplishments up front. She was the the most politically engaged First Spouse since Eleanor Roosevelt. She was the first serious female presidential candidate of either major American political party. And she was the third woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state.

There are reasons to admire to Hillary Clinton. (Henceforth Clinton, in this post; I’ll use “Bill” to refer to the former president.) If one doesn’t think much of her tenure as First Lady, or of her work as secretary of state, even her enemies must at least grudgingly admit that her 2008 presidential candidacy was a historic milestone for these United States.

But it’s equally true — perhaps more true — that there are reasons to think that Clinton may not be an ideal president or presidential candidate. A number of those have been on display recently.

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Begging the question: Obama and Libya

December 6, 2012

Last night I finished reading “Obama’s Way,” a lengthy feature on Barack Obama, the Libyan military intervention and the president’s decision-making process. Michael Lewis’ article has a publication date of Oct. 5 of this year, so I am definitely behind the curve on this; Vanity Fair’s nearly 14,000-word opus was meant to make a big pre-election splash.

I don’t think Lewis breaks any major news in his story. Rather, he fills in some details. Based on news accounts as well as Mark Bowden’s book The Finish (which ironically was published after Lewis’ piece), I’ve always considered Obama to be a very deliberate, cool and calculating decision-maker, despite the many forces that frequently put competing claims on the president.

That’s just what Lewis portrays. And he adds numerous colorful details, some pulled from one or more flights aboard Air Force One, others from at least one visit to Obama’s favored work and living spaces at the White House, and still more from one of the president’s nigh-legendary hard-fought, sharp-elbowed recreational basketball games.

One of the most fascinating things in the article comes around the two-thirds point, as Lewis gives a comprehensive (and incredibly divergent) account of two March 15, 2011, meetings between Obama and his security team. Both gatherings concerned the Libyan civil war and how, if at all, the United States should respond to it.

Early on, the first meeting went off track. The two options on the table were establishing a no-fly zone over Libya and doing nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

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