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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Losing to Win, 2010

In Losing to Win (1997), Jim Ceaser and Andy Busch argued that American voters tend to prefer divided government. Each side can win votes by portraying itself as a check on the other. Accordingly, President Bush's defeat in 1992 enabled the GOP to take the House in 1994. Conversely, that takeover helped President Clinton win reelection in 1996. On "Face the Nation," President Clinton acknowledged that something similar may be playing out during the Obama years. Apparently, though, he realized that he had blurted out an inconvenient truth that the press would seize upon, so he filibustered.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Let me just ask you, because you mentioned 1994. That is, of course, when the Republicans took the House and Newt Gingrich came to power in the House. A lot of people said that that’s also when your administration finally began to focus and get some things done. You were having your problems going into that election. You lost a bunch of seats in the House. But after that, you did things like welfare and NAFTA. You got some tax cuts in. You balanced the budget. Would it be good for him in-- in a way if he-- if he lost the House and the Republicans came to power and had to share some of the responsibility here?

PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Well, I think it would increase his chances of being re-elected. Whether it would be good for the country or not, I don’t know. But see-- you just said that’s part of the-- the narrative. But, yeah, we passed a Balanced Budget Bill. But it was easy to pass the Balanced Budget Bill, because ninety percent of the deficit was reduced by the budget that only Democrats voted for in 1993, that the Republicans beat them for.


PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Because the-- because that’s what reversed trickledown economics. That’s what put the country on a whole new course. It was that budget and the people who got beat were the people who voted for it. I’m worried that we’re going to beat lot of people now who voted for a lot of the policies that will bring this country into the 21st Century. And then we’ll have a Congress that won’t support building a green economy anymore.


PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: I mean-- I-- that-- that’s the thing that really bothers me. I think that, yeah, we got a lot done. And I like working with Newt Gingrich. And I could deal with all the shenanigans they pull, but I-- but I hate to see the people who are more likely to generate manufacturing and small business opportunities and more likely to train the American people to do the jobs that are open and more likely to deal with the remainder of the mortgage crisis
thrown out of office.


PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: And I don’t know how it’ll play out.