If Obama Needs Bill Clinton in 2012, He Is In Trouble

With the Obama campaign slogan of “Forward” solidly placed on the paper, the Democratic Party has joined the Republican Party rank-and-file in asking the electorate to look back on the good old days of Bill Clinton. The announcement that former President Bill Clinton will have the honor of presenting Barack Obama for the top job on behalf of all Democrats at the Democratic National Convention, a number of pundits have weighed in on what this will mean for the national race. While there are some benefits to having a popular former president endorse you, there are certain setbacks. 

Here are three of the biggest benefits and setbacks:

1. Democratic Party as Fiscally Responsible With the looming budget debates and the ugly debates before, it is extremely beneficial to remind the people of a president who was anything but the traditional tax-and-spend Democrat. By associating himself with Clinton, Obama is suggesting to voters that he will follow similar policies and trajectories.

2. The Party of Change President Clinton was the change president. He spoke candidly to voters in dying industries and promised not to get them their old jobs back, but rather to give them the opportunity to reinvent themselves and to be prepared for sustainable jobs of the future. Additional investment in Pell Grants and support for state-by-state tuition assistance programs created greater access for transitional education and higher education. 

3. It’s the Economy Stupid President Clinton inherited an American economy surging out of a slump. Reagan, GHW Bush, and Clinton mastered deregulation of the banking sector that gave them an economic boom. The successes of those days were amplified by the growth and development of the internet as an economic engine. 

Obama needs to look and sound different. Hoping to get the registered voters, most of whom are Independents, to look forward to his new policies is the way of securing them. Looking for a popular surrogate will hurt the president more than help his candidacy. When combined with Obama’s now almost secret trips to New York for fundraisers at the homes of New York’s business elites, the current president will have a very tough time of setting apart his vision and identity. After all, Americans vote with “guy like me” gut feeling and Obama is losing ground on that front as we don't know what and whom he represents and have less of an idea as to his policies or agenda. With Clinton you knew what you were getting and where we were going, and that is a very damaging element to the Obama candidacy.