Obama vs. Clinton: The 21st Century vs. the 1990s
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Mon, 05/05/2008 – 9:12am
both pictures courtesy of me. I took these pictures.
I wondered as I wandered Indiana whether I was in a time warp. No, not because the heartland is at a slower pace than the big cities. But I felt like I was going back in time to the 1990s.
I attended events for Clinton and Obama, and talked to many Hoosiers on both side of the Democratic Party fence. When I talked to Clinton supporters, asking them why they liked the senator from New York, they eagerly spoke of going back to the 1990s. “Things were great in the ’90s” was a popular saying this past weekend. When I talked to Obama supporters, asking them why they liked the senator from Illinois, they spoke of the future.
Bill Clinton spoke in Plymouth, Indiana on Saturday about bringing back tax rates from the 1990s on the wealthy. One of the buttons I saw asked, “Do you Miss Clinton? Vote for Mrs. Clinton ’08.”
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, a fervent supporter of Obama, spoke in Mishawaka, Indiana on Sunday about how you reinvent the economy and reform education for the workforce of the future. Napolitano also spoke at the end about finding the best candidate to move the country forward in a new direction.
It’s easy when you travel to places such as Plymouth to see why the 1990s might be an inviting time. The economy for a lot of these people was much better during that decade. I talked to a middle-aged couple who lives between Warsaw and Fort Wayne. She drives an hour to work, and he drives about that distance as well. She talked about spending $10 a day on gas, plus wear and tear on her car. Spending at least $200/month on traveling expenses for work eats in your budget. Their vacation, which they were on when I talked to them, was setting up a tent and camping out on a friend’s property.
Especially among Democrats, the era from 1993-2001 was the best in anyone’s recent memory. But the solutions of the 1990s aren’t going to necessarily fit into the problems of 2008. Certainly, borrowing a few can work, but the vision needs to be straight ahead.
When Bill Clinton did speak of renewable energy, the mentality from Obama and his supporters is incorporating those solutions into the overall package of future growth.
The education reform of 1993 was helpful, but our public school system still runs in a farming/9-month mentality when the countries we compete against are on a different plane. Napolitano spoke about education reform being “more than improving schools.” She spoke of workplace competency and keeping intellectual capital here in the United States.
This is not a vision of the 1990s, this is a 2008 focus. In the 1990s, the question was jobs going to Mexico. In 2008, that is still an issue, but so are jobs going to India.
For what Bill Clinton spoke of in 1992 and John F. Kennedy spoke of in 1960 was going forward and what the future holds for our country if we work together. Yes, the 1990s were a good time and the meat of the Reagan/Bush bread of 1981-1993 and the bread of George W. Bush in an economic sandwich. But going forward will give us a real chance to compete in the technological reality where we live.