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The Irony that is Bill Clinton - November 8, 1996

Richard Brian McCarty

Some of you will think I have lost my mind as you read this column. Some of my more conservative readers will think I have fallen ill. But, read carefully, and you will see where I am going.

First, congratulations are in order to President Bill Clinton. He has made history by becoming the first Democrat since Franklin Roosevelt to be re-elected. His story is an American one, and a conservative one.

" What the ....." some of you are thinking. Simply put, what the American people can draw from Bill Clinton's win Tuesday night is that conservative principles do work in America. Clinton's own life shows them.

Conservatives believe that an individual must adapt to change and bounce back from setbacks, without whining and depending on others to help. From his defeats in Arkansas, to his failed first two years as President, Bill Clinton has adapted the political environment around him to survive his next challenge. He did not sit and moan, he went out and changed. Of course we call it slick, but in business he would be hailed as an innovator. Like Reagan, Clinton bounces back from hardship--one of the core principles of conservatism.

Another conservative principle is that the individual can fare better on his own than when he depends upon the group to get him a better life. Clinton campaigned against his fellow Democrats, and stayed away from most of them. Had the President depended on the Democratic party to make his life better, as he would have laborers depend upon unions, then he would be on a plane to Little Rock come the afternoon of January 20th. Instead, he chose the path of the conservative, and went out on his own.

Indeed, Bill Clinton owes his political success to making conservative decisions when it came to his career moves. He bounced back. He depended on no one but himself and his staff. Yet, the irony of Bill Clinton is that he can not see that those moves that made him successful work for everyone else. Thus, we get a candidate Clinton who makes career choices in a conservative manner, and a President Clinton who embraces socialistic and valueless policies.

Many conservatives cry out that the election was Bob Dole's fault. They are wrong. Others cry out cynically that Americans are addicted to checks from the federal government. They are wrong. Bill Clinton won because of Bill Clinton. And, we must accept it and show others just how his success came to be.

As for the voters, they apparently could not see through the irony. Dole and Kemp campaigned hard, and showed the liberal side of the President. However, the President's conservative and American way of dealing with his own career clouds the picture. And, with the clouded picture, Clinton won.

The arrogance of Bill Clinton in thinking that others are not capable of living their lives as he lives his, will be his downfall. His ethical lapses breed from that arrogance. And, his second term will indeed be dogged by it.

In addition, conservatives should not listen to the pundits who claim that the election was a repudiation of conservatism. Far from it, Speaker Newt was returned to power, along with Trent Lott. If anything, the election, when you couple the Republican congress with Bill Clinton's handling of his own career, affirms conservative principles.

So, conservatives, take heart. Let's hold the President's feet to the fire. And, let's hope, when Bill Clinton is off to Hilton Head, SC over the holidays to find himself, he will. Perhaps he will then see that conservative principles got him where he is today, and he will apply those to his policy decisions. I will not hold my breath waiting for it. But, I guess, I too, can believe in hope as much as the President. If not, you can bet this commentator will take the President on, every chance I get.

Richard Brian McCarty has worked on several political campaigns of conservatives. He holds a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree from Lander University. An experienced writer, McCarty's columns are written from a distinctly Southern point of view. He is sometimes Southern, sometimes conservative, sometimes humorous, and sometimes all three.

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