Cain vs. Clinton, 1993

In a televised townhall-style meeting on President Clinton’s health care plan in 1993-94, Herman Cain, then the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, engaged the president in a cogent, numbers-intensive discussion of the costs to his business that would be caused by the Clinton requirement that businesses pay for their employees’ health insurance.

- end of initial entry -

October 3

Kristor writes:

In watching this video, three things struck me:

1. Bill Clinton is intelligent. But he doesn’t understand the concrete reality of running a business. He thinks that businesses can adapt to new requirements from Washington at no cost. This is the mentality that will keep adding regulations upon regulations, without limit, blithely, all the time thinking, “businesses are organized, they have resources, they can afford it.”

2. Herman Cain is intelligent, and he understands the way the real world works. Plus he can do arithmetic.

3. The Clinton Plan included a mandate that forced businesses to buy a product, just like Obamacare, which forces individuals to buy a product. But no one at the time, so far as I can recall, even noticed the constitutional problem with that mandate. The Clinton plan was defeated because it made no economic sense. The Obama plan may be defeated because it makes no Constitutional sense. Back then, our objection was that a mandate would not work. Now, our objection is that it would be unjust. Perhaps we are making progress.

HS writes:

This video is incredible. Can you imagine that level of substantive discussion in American politics today? Not only are they able to speak to each other without interruption, but the moderator and TV producer actually expect their viewership to understand and remain interested in the exchange, without inane banners flashing on the bottom of the screen, providing a middle-school reading-level summary. By any standard, the societal expectations of the average American have declined precipitously since 1993. However, by the end of the video, you can see the beginnings of the “you have your reality, I have mine”-style of politicking that is so dominant today.

This video needs to be widely disseminated, as a measure of what politicians, even those active today, were capable of in another time, another culture.

LA replies:

It’s funny to hear someone speaking of 1993 as a lost golden age of American culture and politics. However, I agree with you that the extended exchange between Cain and Clinton—containing not a single extraneous word—was extraordinary.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 02, 2011 09:09 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):