OPEN LETTER TO BARACK OBAMA ON HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY “A PROMISED LAND” Part 77 “In fact, shortly after the impromptu press conference began, I realized I had another commitment to get to, but Clinton was clearly enjoying himself so much that I didn’t want to cut him off. Instead, I leaned into the microphone to say that I had to leave but that President Clinton could stick around”


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February 6, 2021

Office of Barack and Michelle Obama
P.O. Box 91000
Washington, DC 20066

Dear President Obama,

I wrote you over 700 letters while you were President and I mailed them to the White House and also published them on my blog http://www.thedailyhatch.org .I received several letters back from your staff and I wanted to thank you for those letters. 

I have been reading your autobiography A PROMISED LAND and I have been enjoying it. 

Let me make a few comments on it, and here is the first quote of yours I want to comment on:

The realignment Johnson foresaw ended up taking longer than he had expected. But steadily, year by year—through Vietnam, riots… and Nixon’s southern strategy; through busing, Roe v. Wade, urban crime, and white flight; through affirmative action, the Moral Majority, union busting, and Robert Bork; through assault weapons bans and the rise of NEWT GINGRICH …and the Clinton impeachment—America’s voters and their representatives became more and more polarized.

Page 607

As it so happened, the same mid-December week we announced the deal with McConnell, Bill Clinton joined me in the Oval Office dining room for a visit. Whatever tensions had existed between us during the campaign had largely dissipated by then, and I found it useful to hear the lessons he’d learned after suffering a similar midterm shellacking at the hands of Newt Gingrich in 1994. At some point, we got into the nitty-gritty of the tax agreement I’d just made, and Clinton couldn’t have been more enthusiastic.
     “You need to tell that to some of our friends,” I said, noting the blowback we were getting from certain Democratic circles.
     “If I have the chance, I will,” Clinton said.
     That gave me an idea. “How about you get the chance right now?” Before he could answer, I walked over to Katie’s desk and asked her to have the press team rustle up any correspondents who were in the building. Fifteen minutes later, Bill Clinton and I stepped into the White House briefing room.
     Explaining to the startled reporters that they might like to get some perspective on our tax deal from the person who’d overseen just about the best U.S. economy we’d experienced in recent history, I turned the podium over to Clinton. It didn’t take long for the former president to own the room, mustering all of his raspy-voiced, lip-biting Arkansas charm to make the case for our deal with McConnell. In fact, shortly after the impromptu press conference began, I realized I had another commitment to get to, but Clinton was clearly enjoying himself so much that I didn’t want to cut him off. Instead, I leaned into the microphone to say that I had to leave but that President Clinton could stick around. Later, I asked Gibbs how the whole thing had played.
     “The coverage was great,” Gibbs said. “Though a few of the talking heads said that you diminished yourself by giving Clinton the platform.”
     I wasn’t too worried about that. I knew that Clinton’s poll numbers were a whole lot higher than mine at the time, partly because the conservative press that had once vilified him now found it useful to offer him up as a contrast to me, the kind of reasonable, centrist Democrat, they said, that Republicans could work with. His endorsement would help us sell the deal to the broader public and tamp down any potential rebellion among congressional Democrats. It was an irony that I—like many modern leaders—eventually learned to live with: You never looked as smart as the ex-president did on the sidelines.

There are two main things that Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton teamed up on and accomplished and they were a balanced budget and welfare reform!

Below Newt talks about moving welfare to workfare!

.

DIANE SCHANZENBACH: I want to start with a couple of ques- tions about the history of welfare reform. Mr. Speaker, the basic question for you is: How did we get there? What sort of intel- lectual and political groundwork was done prior to the signing of the 1996 law?
NEWT GINGRICH: From our side, welfare reform started dur- ing Ronald Reagan’s first campaign for governor of California, and with his efforts to get an Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) waiver and to move toward a workfare model. Under a workfare model, welfare recipients have to meet certain participation requirements to continue to receive welfare ben- efits. For me personally, welfare reform took off in two stages. The first stage was in the mid-1980s, when Charles Murray wrote Losing Ground. I think that book is still the most decisive explanation of the fact that the real cost of welfare is not borne by the taxpayers who pay for it, but by the people who receive it because it’s so devastating in its cultural and social impact. That book moved a lot of us toward a replacement model of thinking. Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, former Michi- gan Governor John Engler, and several others started trying to figure out how to rethink welfare and move back toward a focus on work. The second stage for me was Marvin Olasky’s book, The Tragedy of American Compassion, which is still the most tren- chant analysis of what happened to thinking about the poor over the last century or so.
When we all came in, Bill Clinton had run on ending wel- fare as we know it. Now, being Clinton-esque, one didn’t know exactly what he meant by that, but it’s a great phrase. Everybody who was conservative assumed he meant work. Everybody who was liberal assumed he meant a lot more money. And he was having to say, “Yes, I’m with both of you.” But he had set a stan- dard that was way, way to the right of the Democratic Party at the time. So we were in a position to have a common dialogue around welfare reform. Ron Haskins was one of the key players on the House side, and the governors played a big role in help- ing us shape the legislation because we wanted it to be doable. And then we had a fairly significant fight internally between people who wanted to marginally change the system and people who believed you had to make a real break, and ultimately that’s the fraction that won.
We passed it twice after attaching it to Medicaid reform, and the president cheerfully vetoed it, hiding behind Medicaid. We faced a real decision: Do we continue to pass a welfare reform bill that we know Clinton will veto? If we do that, then we’ll have welfare reform as an issue in the midterm elections. Wel-fare reform was very popular among voters, including among people on welfare. But others—including Louisiana Rep. Jim McCrery—argued for passing welfare reform as a freestanding bill. This strategy would make it much harder for Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole to win but would almost guar- antee that House Republicans would be reelected. We had not been reelected since 1928. We had held the House twice in 1946 and 1952, but we had never been reelected. We made the deci- sion to pass welfare as a freestanding bill, and I was the guy who got to call Dole’s campaign manager, Scott Reed, and say: “We hate to tell you this, but we just bailed out on you.” I think they took it as a very serious blow to their campaign.

SCHANZENBACH: How have the politics around poverty, work, and welfare reform changed over the last 20 years?
GINGRICH: We tend to forget that we were reforming only one small piece of the enormous entitlement system. I think there were 187 different entitlement programs and bureaucracies, and many of them now dwarf the traditional welfare program. Look at the size of disability, look at the size of EITC—the system has now become so cumbersome and so screwed up. I’ll give you an example. Journalist Sam Quinones wrote a book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. It’s a mind-blowing book, and one of the things that he does in the book is explore this chain that connects disability benefits, Medicaid, Walmart theft, and OxyContin and heroin abuse. He describes this entire ecosystem that virtually no one in D.C. knows anything about. My point is that we haven’t even begun to identify the ecosystems that we have to fix. We don’t understand all these relationships. If you come rushing in and say, I want to take care of Entitle- ment No. 17, you have no idea about the consequences because we haven’t made the initial investment to understand the system that we need to reform.
SCHANZENBACH: If we were to commission a new Moynihan report today, what would it cover?
GINGRICH: If you want to do a commission, get people out of D.C. and send them to about 25 different places. Tell them to imagine they are detectives in a detective story and just listen to everybody. When you’re done, put it in a mound and try to figure out what the hell it means. Nobody in public office today has any clue how dense and complex the system is. People in the bottom fifth of American life have adjusted to the governmental infra- structures in which they operate. My mother-in-law has a friend in a very small town in Wisconsin who has figured out every angle of getting on and off disability, unemployment, and two or three other programs. She has developed a model to optimize her capacity to live off the taxpayer.
REED: I’m having this amazing flashback. During the second government shutdown, right after Christmas, we were all gath- ered in the Cabinet room, and the president and the speaker were sitting on the same side of the table with Bob Dole in between. We started talking about welfare reform, and the president and the speaker started bouncing ideas off each other: “What will you do to reduce poverty?” “Have you read this book?” “Have you read that book?” It went on for what seemed like hours. And Bob Dole sat there thinking, “Haven’t I suffered for my country enough?”
SCHANZENBACH: I want to ask a series of questions about what we’ve learned over the last 20 years about what it means to have a social contract built around work. Under the 1996 law, the federal-state matching grant for welfare spending was replaced by a fixed block grant. The block grant has eroded in real terms and the population has shifted, so places that received relatively

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher III, 13900 Cottontail Lane, Alexander, AR 72002, ph 501-920-5733 everettehatcher@gmail.com

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June 29, 2011 – 3:58 pm

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Article from Adrian Rogers, “Bring back the glory”

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“Schaeffer Sundays” Francis Schaeffer’s own words concerning the possibility that minorities may be mistreated under 51% rule

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