Bill Clinton's conservative legacy?

Ronald Reagan presents Bill Clinton with a jar of jelly beans in 1992. Image copyright Getty Images

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The Federalist's David Harsanyi takes a look at the recent Quinnipiac poll, which asked respondents to rate the post-World War Two US presidents.

The top two vote-getters were Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of modern conservatism, and Bill Clinton - the first two-term Democratic president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

While Harsanyi is not surprised by Reagan's high ranking - his "conservative message changed American politics for decades", he writes - he's interested in what Mr Clinton's high ranking says about the US political climate.

Although he is a Democrat, he contends, Mr Clinton was one of the most conservative modern presidents.

"Despite bringing some big liberal ideas, earthy debauchery and all manner of corruption to the Oval Office," Harsanyi writes, Mr Clinton "presided over a thriving economy, declared the era of big government over and signed more consequential conservative legislative than any president since - and perhaps, anyone before him".

He offers a list of the 42nd president's "conservative" legislative achievements to bolster his case - the Defense of Marriage Act, welfare reform, massive trade deals like Nafta and Gatt, financial and telecommunications deregulation, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which served as the basis for last week's Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision.

Harsanyi contends that those who are arguing that the Republican Party has veered to the far right politically are misguided. They are, in fact, defending Mr Clinton's legacy.

"This isn't particularly constructive for the GOP, but it's certainly not as radical as you've been led to believe," he says. "We love Bill Clinton, right?"

Everyone, it seems, loves Bill Clinton these days. The question is - is some of this love misplaced?


Coalition government is wishful thinking - the Obama administration is pinning much of its hope for stability in Iraq on the prospect of a coalition government that will be able to overcome sectarian conflict, writes the Washington Post's Jackson Diehl. He says prospects for the success of such a government are dim, however.

After speaking with several leaders of Iraq's Kurdish population, Diehl writes, he has come to the conclusion that there are few circumstances where the Kurdish people can be coaxed back into a unity government - and even if such a government were formed, it would be incapable of defeating the militant Islamic uprising overtake portions of the region.

"If the Kurds are right, the Middle East will be coping with an aggressive al-Qaeda state in its midst for the foreseeable future," he says. "Kurdistan will consolidate its position as a de facto, if not de jure, independent state."


Don't send your tired, your poor, your huddled masses - As the debate heats up over the fate of thousands of undocumented minors stuck in limbo at the US-Mexico border, advocates and politicians both question what motivated the recent rise in youth migrants.

"Escaping violence is a motivation," writes Paul Willcocks for Honduras Weekly. "The gangs in the cities - imports from the US - kill casually. But mostly, the young migrants are looking for a chance."

Although the stories behind these children's journeys are often heartbreaking, Willcocks says these narratives also demonstrate an inspiring hopefulness that the US should embrace.

"We should welcome new citizens, not people brought here to be cheap labour and then sent home," he concludes. "The kids flooding the US border are risking everything for a chance at a new life. And we're locking them up and sending them back where they came from."


In the midst of Saba Saba - Thousands of Kenyans gathered in Nairobi on Monday to mark the historic Saba Saba day (or 7/7 for 7 July) to protest about the current government and domestic insecurity, sparking fear within the government, writes Patrick Gathara for Al Jazeera.

"Why would something as mundane in a democracy as an opposition political rally cause such uproar and fear?" he asks. "The problem is not with the rally, but with the shaky democracy."

Neither the government nor the opposition have worked toward solving the current domestic problems, including the rise of domestic terror attacks, he views. Instead, the "ruling elite is rather determined to hype ethnic differences as a cover for its thieving ways".

"The truth is the shenanigans and fear-mongering surrounding the Saba Saba rally have nothing to do with improving the welfare of Kenyans," he concludes. "On the contrary, they are about distracting us from the farmhouse window and from seeing that the Liberation has been stolen."


A constitution, reinterpreted - The administration of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently decided to "reinterpret" its nation's constitution to allow use of military force to support an ally if under domestic threat.

Although Mr Abe's decision is far off from Japan's historical pacifism, it does not represent a resurgence in militarism, but rather protectionism, writes Bard College Prof Ian Buruma for Project Syndicate.

"In fact, what appears to be driving Abe's endeavors even more than the desire to revise the postwar order in Japan is a widely shared fear of China's increasing regional dominance," Buruma says.

China's increasing aggression in the South China Sea appears to be at the heart of this decision.

"Japan's main worry is that the US may not wish to risk a war with China over territorial disputes," he says. "What is feared most, in addition to the rise of China, is the possible decline of the US."

BBC Monitoring's quotes of the day

The killing of three Israeli youths by Palestinians and the subsequent brutal death of a Palestinian teenager - thought to be a revenge killing - has stirred up anger in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, which has been reflected in Israeli and Palestinian press commentary.

"While what we have here are the contaminated margins of society, which denounces its criminals and wishes them all the nasty things in the world, at our neighbours the murderers of Jewish babies win admiration, squares are named after them, school books glorify their mission and there is no denunciation, barring the vague: 'We denounce every murder of innocent people'." - Dror Eydar in Israel's Yisrael Hayom

"True, Israel does not go in for the celebration of the commemoration of despicable murderers as national heroes, but this does not say that it itself equally relates to terrorists from both sides. Last week the house of the Hamas man suspected of murdering police officer Baruch Mizrahi was demolished. No one will demolish the houses of the families of the suspects of murdering Abu Khadir, before or after their trial, and no one will suggest closing the religious institutions in which they were educated." - Amos Harel in Israel's Ha'aretz.

"The fanatics who committed the murder were the direct perpetrators. But the question remains: What about the flagrant instigation atmosphere and the frank calls for revenge and killing that were made by Israeli ministers and Knesset members that preceded the murder?" - Editorial in Palestinian Al-Quds.

"The West Bank and its young people are rising up in response to the martyrdom of child Muhammad Abu-Khudayr, who was burnt by settlers while still alive. Had it not been for the security coordination that allowed the settlers to wreak havoc in the land with the PNA's permit, this crime would never have happened." - Isma'il Muhammad Amir in Palestinian Filastin.‎

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