The Stump

Bill Clinton: Democrats Need National Plan

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Former President Bill Clinton, the Great Explainer of American politics, was at it again on Thursday on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

Clinton said Democrats should see the unveiling of the Republicans' "Pledge to America" as an opportunity to focus the minds of voters on the choice they have. To do so, Democrats should unveil their own plan, he explained.

An excerpt:

"The Republicans have now given us their plan. And they've been pretty straightforward all along. I'll give it to them. They've said, if you vote for us, we want o repeal healthcare, we want to repeal financial reform oversight, we want to repeal the student loan reform, we want to begin to privatize Social Security and Medicare. And whatever other things they've said.

I think that the Democrats ought to put on one card no more than five and no fewer than three things that will be their priorities. We've still got a chance here. We've got 30 days to have an honest debate. We ought to do it. So far this election has been about stuff that's not going to affect people's lives now, at least not directly.

Secondly, I know how easy it is to lose control of the debate. It happened to me in '93 and '94. But remember the gift Newt Gingrich gave America, political science gift. Newt Gingrich proved with that "Contract For America" that you could nationalize midterm elections. So, I think that the president and the Democrats, even at this late date, should view this as an opportunity and an obligation to say, 'All right, they've organized their national plan. Here's what ours is. If you hire us for 2 more years, here's what we're going to do.'"

Earlier in the interview with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, Clinton suggested some fertile areas Democrats might want to focus on. For instance, he said job openings have created since the end of the recession.

But there's a mismatch between the skills required by the job openings and the skills held by job seekers.

Again, Clinton explanation was compelling.

"The last unemployment report said that for the first time in my lifetime, and I'm  not young, in my lifetime, we are coming out of a recession but job openings are going up twice as fast as new hires. And yet we can all cite cases that we know about where somebody opened a job and 400 people showed up.

How could this be? Because people don't have the job skills for the jobs that are open. So here's the most important thing. If we were hiring since last June when economists said the shrinkage stopped, between then and now, if we had been hiring people  on the jobs where people are trying to hire, that is we could get those jobs this morning after this TV show is over, if we were doing that at the same rate were doing that in 93, 94, 95, there would be five million more people at work. This unemployment rate would be 6.9 (percent) not 9.6 (percent.) We would be in a different world, not just economically but emotionally as as country.

How do we train people quickly, quickly for that? Now, I mean I have my theory. But the point is there's no discussion. These are the ... things that matter. That's what they should be talking about. And in every case there's a more conservative and more liberal position that would be worth hearing from.

Clinton's explanation so excited Scarborough the host suggested that a lot of viewers were probably thinking what he was, that the Constitution should be changed so Clinton could have another term in the White House.

Clinton agreed that the Constitution should be changed so someone who was once president could be a future president. But he said it shouldn't apply to any current ex-presidents. He didn't want to appear to be self-serving.

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