Hot on HuffPost:

See More Stories

Bill Clinton 'Gets' Why Tea Party is Popular, but Worries About Its Goals

4 years ago
  0 Comments Say Something  »
Text Size
Former President Bill Clinton said Sunday that the Tea Party movement reflected a feeling among Americans that "they're getting the shaft" and he gets why they're popular, but expressed concern about the difficulty in identifying their stands on specific issues and where they are getting the money for their events and campaigns.

"I think that, first of all, the tea party insurrection ... that you see in these Republican primaries, reflects the feeling of a lot of Americans that they're getting the shaft," Clinton said on CBS' Face the Nation. "That the people who caused these problems ...the banks that were responsible for the financial meltdown, they've gotten well again. And everybody has got money again who is in that business, but ordinary people don't."

"So there is a general revolt against bigness Which in the case of the Republicans is always directed more against the government than the private sector," Clinton said. "It's totally understandable."

However, Clinton said he was concerned that the movement is "being bankrolled by people who want to weaken the government so that there will be even more unaccounted for private concentration of power. And that's what got it us in the mess we're in the first place."
Bill Clinton Clinton did not provide any specifics. The New York Times on Sunday profiled longtime Republican operative Sal Russo who it described as the chief strategist behind the Tea Party Express and said his California-based group was the single biggest independent supporter of the movement's candidates, raising more than $5.2 million since January 2009.

Clinton also said "it's hard to know where they stand on these specific issues." "Do they really want to repeal the student loan reform bill at a time when we've fallen from first to 12th in the world in the percentage of our people with college degrees and it's really important to the economy? And this student loan reform for the first time allows every young person to pay their loans back as a percentage of their income ... I don't know where they stand, but I get why they're popular."

Asked whether the divisions the Tea Party movement has caused within the GOP would help Democrats in the elections, Clinton said, "I'm not sure it's going to be a good thing for Democrats yet."

Speaking of President Obama's difficulties and falling poll numbers, Clinton said, "I think he was shocked at the intensity of the Republican opposition. But they learned from my first two years that, if you just say no, even though people hate it, you get rewarded for it because it discourages the Democrats and it inflames your base. So they're doing just what they did in '93 and '94. And so far it appears that they're being rewarded for it."

"I also think he believed that, if he accomplished a lot on the legislative front, that would be reflected in a better political climate," Clinton said. "But the problem is there's a huge lag time once you get in a deep economic hole between digging out of it and having people feel it."

Our New Approach to Comments

In an effort to encourage the same level of civil dialogue among Politics Daily’s readers that we expect of our writers – a “civilogue,” to use the term coined by PD’s Jeffrey Weiss – we are requiring commenters to use their AOL or AIM screen names to submit a comment, and we are reading all comments before publishing them. Personal attacks (on writers, other readers, Nancy Pelosi, George W. Bush, or anyone at all) and comments that are not productive additions to the conversation will not be published, period, to make room for a discussion among those with ideas to kick around. Please read our Help and Feedback section for more info.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum Comment Moderation Enabled. Your comment will appear after it is cleared by an editor.


Filter by:

I dont think people care what an ex president like Clinton thinks

September 20 2010 at 8:15 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Rob & Kathy

Clinton should worry more about his own party...

September 20 2010 at 11:18 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Memo to Bill Clinton: In the private sector, employees continue to do their best job over the years for several reasons: Most of us were raised to do a good days work for a days’ pay, we work toward earning merit raises, we hope for promotions, and we work toward being vested and receiving a larger pension when we retire. Conversly, the Legislators, both State and Federal, have guaranteed themselves automatic pay increases, huge pensions, and lifetime guaranteed healthcare benefits up front. They do not have to work to earn anything. They get it after one term in Congress. They seem to quickly lose the integrity they advocated on the campaign trail, and their vows that they are servants of the people, if they ever believed that in the first place. The benefits they have given themselves, by laws that THEY wrote, have relieved them of the need to do a good job for the people, and simply concentrate on increasing their own wealth and power. They have even managed to exempt themselves from many of the laws they burden the citizens with, and if they do find themselves in “hot water,” the taxpayer often has to pay for their legal representation. Is this why so many candidates will lie, cheat, and steal, to gain/keep positions in public office?

September 20 2010 at 10:56 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

What goals? Lower my taxes? Everyone wants that. Throw the bums out? Everyone wants that. But how about some specifics? What about: student loans? social security? medicare? federal spending for federal deposit insurance, securities exchange commission, banking regulations for derivatives, national park system funding, improvements to the interstate highway system? How about those; got any policy statements there?

September 20 2010 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Richard's comment

Richard, Fannie Mae and Freddie MAC are still making the same bad loans they did for years. We can start there and change who qualifies for a home loan. What dried up student loans was the fact that they were not being paid back. Garnishing future wages would make them more accessible. There are plenty of solutions to our issues that doesnt take Congress voting for legislation without reading it.

September 20 2010 at 8:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Most Americans are wondering this too! LOL! As of lately there has been a rash of strange candidates, or at least a number of Repub candidates that have a few odd ideas about how to fix what they think is wrong with our country. Their qualifications are either sketchy or minimal and most are perfect targets for comedy! Americans should be looking very closely at what these people bring to the table! Palin keeps running down Obama, but refuses to stand and deliver when it comes to an open media questioning! She hides behind Foxtrash media and thinks she's being unbiased? Obama, on the other hand takes the insults, smears, lies, and whatever and moves on! She's not even in the ballpark when it comes to capabilities of dealing with the American people! Anyone can stand there(and does everyday!) and run down Obama, but her taking the hits like he does? She can't handle it, pure and simple! LOL!

September 20 2010 at 10:19 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply

Bill, It must be hard to be out of the limelight. You know you had one thing going for you that Obama doesn' could tell which way the wind was blowing. You had two things in you favor ..the dot com bubble and the 19994 take over of congress...You wrongly took credit for the good work of Mr Newt and John Kasick. But Ok were smart enough to go with the flow....if you could have controlled yourself...and paid attention to Osama instead of what is ,is you could have been at the top of the heap in history.....but you didn't and now people wish you would just fade away.

September 20 2010 at 8:39 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sysaphus71's comment

I don't wish he would fade away. I think he's brilliant and more people should listen to him.

September 20 2010 at 7:52 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Micath- google Acorn law suit, you will see the suit brought against citibank citing what was termed `redline loans` the lawyer of record, or is hould say lawyers Barack H. Obama is listed there. he was at the base of the mortgage meltdown

September 20 2010 at 7:56 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rcjackson6h's comment

For once will the American people take responsibility for themselves. We are to blame for this crisis. No one told you to buy a house that you could not afford. No one told you to run up your credit cards so high there has never been a way you could ever pay it off. No one told you to buy that new expaensive vehicle just because your neighbor did. what happened to the old America when "When the going gets tough the tough get going" instead now it is "When the going gets tough blame someone" was the way Americans lived. Instead of playing the blame game go out and do somethign to help. Writing garbage all day on these boards is counter productive but I am sure it makes some of you feel better to blame someone as God forbid we should put the blame where it really belongs...directly on ourselves.

September 20 2010 at 1:23 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Steve Hlava

Government watched and did nothing as the crisis they created came to a head. It's obvious that nobody broke the law, because there was no much-hyped trial. Therefore, the laws and the enforcement of laws are what's wrong. I cann't recall a time when the Government was acting before a crisis. Congress with their ineffective laws and the agencies that monitor, regulate and enforce them is the problem. GOVERNMENT must be cut down to size in order to be effective and efficient. Where's the accountability? Every agencies needs overhauled. Take the FDA for example. Many drugs are killing people every day and nothing is done about it. However, if 1 person takes a supplement improperly and dies, then the FDA is all up in arms about it. It's all about politics and agenda instead of the people. Send the message by voting out all the Democrats. Republicans should get the message that they must work for the people who put them there or be fired.

September 20 2010 at 7:51 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

There ar numerous reasons the right doesn't want the government envolved in student loans. The most obvious of course is that the Feds don't do anything well. The second most obvious is they then will have strings attached to lean people ( especially medical ) into the directions THEY ( not us) want education to go. Wake up people " Government is the problem "

September 20 2010 at 7:39 AM Report abuse +15 rate up rate down Reply

Where their money is from is not a cause for worry for me. I worry more that certain governmental activities will disappear in the name of de-regulation and freedom. If foods are not subject to inspection, will tainted meats and other products lead to a lower population? Will our highway bridges fall into rivers or ravines? will our education system be defunded leaving the nation with uneducated people? Will the newly deregulated businesses act in ways not benefitting the majority of the population? These potential results are worrisome.

September 20 2010 at 7:36 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


View All »

Discover inspiring videos on TEDWomen where people are reshaping our future with ideas.

View the Video »

Follow Politics Daily

Politics Home Page : Roll Call