Former President Bill Clinton is giving his advice to Democrats for the midterm elections: Come out with a coherent national agenda to counter the Republicans.
During an interview on Morning Joe, Clinton discussed the House Republicans’ “Pledge to America” that was released today, modeled after Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract With America” that helped steamroll the Democrats during Clinton’s first midterm election in 1994.
Clinton said that Gingrich had provided the country with a “political science gift”: “Newt Gingrich proved with that Contract for America that you could nationalize the midterm elections. So, I think that the president and the Democrats — even at this late date should do this as an opportunity and an obligation to say, alright, they’ve organized their national plan. Here’s what ours is. If you hire us for two more years, here’s what we’re going to do.”
The key moment comes at the 9:40 mark:
CLINTON: Well, I told you I think that — well, first of all, the Republicans have now given us their plan. And they’ve been pretty straightforward all along. They said if you vote for us, we want to repeal health care, we want to repeal financial 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 and other things they said here.
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 still got a chance here. We 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 very much. At least directly.
BRZEZINSKI: Not now.
CLINTON: Secondly, look, I know how easy it is to lose control of the debate. It happened to me in 1993 and 1994, but remember the gift Newt Gingrich gave America?
CLINTON: Political science gift. Newt Gingrich proved with that contract for America that you could nationalize the midterm elections. So, I think that the president and the Democrats — even at this late date should do 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 two more years, here’s what we’re going to do.
In addition, Clinton told Bloomberg Television his view of the major flaws of the GOP’s platform. “They don’t know that the model for success in the 21st century is a vigorous private sector, an effective government, a partnership, not these hysterical tirades against government,” the former president said.
“Their objective for 30 years has been to dismantle the federal government,” he also added. “They have a model for the future that none of our competitors have embraced.”