In an attempt to cast the former-president as a poll-obsessed politician and (it seems) a racist, Mr. Pierce brings up the fourteen-year-old execution of Rickey Ray Rector, while conveniently omitting discussion of Rector's crimes or his mental capacity at the time he committed them. Rector murdered two individuals, including a police officer, before attempting to commit suicide. Rector did not succeed in killing himself, but the shot caused him significant brain damage, and left him with an IQ of 70. Mr. Clinton, who was then governor of Arkansas, presided over his execution, where Rector allegedly said he wanted to save the dessert from his last meal for later. As tragic as the situation was, Rector was in full mental capacity at the time he murdered two people, and Mr. Clinton's position in favor of the death penalty had been established for a long time.
Mr. Pierce also mentions the well-known Sister Soulja episode, in which Mr. Clinton had the temerity to criticize the African-American rap artist for suggesting there should be "a week [to] kill white people[.]" Mr. Clinton also took issue with Sister Soulja's statement that "[i]f there are any good white people, I haven't met them."
Finally, President Clinton is criticized for "turn[ing] the screws further on an already punitive welfare-reform bill two months before the 1996 election[.]" Yet Mr. Pierce doesn't bother to mention that President Clinton was a champion of the impoverished throughout his presidency. Consider the actual facts presented by Sidney Blumenthal in his fine book The Clinton Wars:
Welfare rolls dropped by 60 percent, to the lowest level in a generation, and that decrease was almost all accounted for in increased employment. In addition, Clinton fought for and won a doubling of funding for federal child care, a doubling for the Head Start preschool program, an increase in the minimum wage, and tax cuts for 15 million working poor, lifting them above the poverty level. He also launched the Welfare to Work Partnership, with twenty thousand companies involved resulting in the hiring of 1.1 million former welfare recipients. According to the Census Bureau, poverty fell by 25 percent and child poverty by 30 percent under Clinton. This was the greatest decline in poverty since the Great Society had essentially wiped out poverty among elderly Americans. It was concentrated among blacks, Hispanics, and female-headed houses - the truly poor. (Clinton also doubled the amount of child support money collected from wayward fathers.) The number of poor dropped by 8.1 million. When the expanded government benefits were added in, the rate of poverty as measured by the Census Bureau dropped another 25 percent.
As usual, unabashed defenders of President Clinton (Mr. From and Mr. Reed in this case) receive the same amount of unwarranted and misleading criticism from the far left as they do from the right. Members of this out-of-touch bubble continue to attack Clinton for daring to try new means to achieve progressive ends. These liberals seem happy to wallow in their self-concocted misery, which has them believe that no president since FDR has done anything to help the poor. Mr. Pierce and these liberals will never give President Clinton credit for giving progressivism some mainstream credentials by abandoning the old failed methods that had produced twelve straight years of Republican rule. It seems as though they can't stop shading the truth about him either.