Former president Bill Clinton- who had the governing skills and good fortune to preside over a period of peace and prosperity in the United States during his two terms- has retracted initial criticism of the Obama administration’s maneuvering during the contentious debt ceiling debate.
After a tense period of back and forth fighting between right and left, America saw one credit rating agency cut the US debt rating from AAA to AA- in part due to the legislative branches’ inability to rationally discuss such matters. At the time, Bill Clinton said that Dems didn’t try hard enough to raise the debt ceiling before the dispute reached crisis level.
Now, Clinton says, he was misinformed about a few aspects his assertions, including the one about Democrat efforts:
The Democrats’ efforts, according to Clinton’s account of what Sperling told him, were thwarted by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who threatened to filibuster the entire package if an increase in the debt limit was included. Clinton said he incorrectly believed that Senate rules would not have allowed a filibuster of this type of fiscal measure.
Clinton also spoke to a growing tendency among politicians to not admit errors in speech or judgement, and said he has resolved to reflect upon and admit his mistakes more readily:
Former president Bill Clinton announced Tuesday night that he is trying once daily to say out loud “either ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I was wrong… I think it would be therapeutic for everyone in Washington” to do the same, Clinton advised, as a corrective to the self-righteousness and misplaced certitude he believes contributes to the overzealous partisanship afflicting the capital.
At the time, news outlets like the New York Times noted that Clinton expressed “incredulity” that the Democrats couldn’t prevent the showdown.