Like last year, I had the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with former President Bill Clinton, along with a handful of journalists and bloggers, on the sidelines of the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York. A variety of topics were discussed during this meeting and Tom Watson at Cause Wired has some overall commentary. Some of the other attendees of the Q&A have published articles based on the discussion and I'll mention some excerpts here.
1) Amanda Terkel at The Huffington Post: Bill Clinton weighs in on Troy Davis execution
2) Josh Rogin at The Cable, one of the foreign policy blogs at Foreign Policy Magazine, initially posted this - Bill Clinton: Netanyahu Killed the Peace Process; Rogin then wrote about the initial response of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu here and another response here. I don't have time to get into parsing the he-said she said, but I'll make one quick comment. One of President Netanyahu's comments was the following:
You know, I regretfully and respectfully disagree with former President Clinton. He should know, more than anyone else, that in the peace conference he presided in at Camp David in 2000 with [Yasir] Arafat and former Prime Minister [Ehud] Barak, it was the Palestinian side who walked away from his own parameters...
In fact, during the Q&A, President Clinton did blame Yasser Arafat for the failure of the 2000 peace conference.
3) Brian Merchant at Treehugger: Creating 1 Million Energy Efficiency Jobs is a No Brainer - Bill Clinton
4) Penelope Chester at UN Dispatch: President Clinton: "We've Got a Shot in Haiti"
5) Eli Clifton at Think Progress: Clinton: ‘There Is Not A Single Solitary Example’ Of A Country That Has Succeeded With A Tea Party Philosophy
[Clinton] responded to a question from ThinkProgress about Texas Gov., and GOP presidential frontrunner, Rick Perry’s position that Social Security is unconstitutional, and about the Tea Party’s anti-social spending sentiment more generally. Clinton blamed the “continuing dominance of non-fact based political debate,” saying:
You can stand up and say anything and nobody rings a bell if the facts are wrong. There’s no bell ringing. It’s crazy, we’re living in a time when it’s more important than ever to know things. And not just to know facts but to put them in a coherent. sensible pattern. And we live in a time, if you just want to talk about the economy, where the model that works for economic growth and prosperity is cooperation. But the model that works in politics is conflict.
Clinton went on to challenge the emerging GOP consensus that government size and spending require dramatic cuts, observing that the most prosperous parts of the U.S. “look nothing like the anti-government ideal of the Tea Party crowd”:
You know, there’s not a single solitary example on the planet, not one, of a country that is succesful [sic] because the economy has triumphed over the government and choked it off and driven the tax rates to zero, driven the regulations to nonexistent and abolished all government programs, except for defense, so people in my income group never have to pay a nickel to see a cow jump over the moon. There is no example of a succesful [sic] country that looks like that.
6) Brad Johnson at Think Progress: Bill Clinton On Claims That Solyndra Means All Green Energy Is Bad: ‘Don’t Insult My Intelligence’
Asked by ThinkProgress Green about how to fight the corrupting influence of climate deniers, Clinton said that people need to defend the facts about the green economy as vigorously as the opponents of the clean economy promote lies:
They can take nothing like Solyndra and say that proves all green energy is bad. Why? Because those of us on the other side don’t say: Whatever the truth is, here’s the mega truth. We can’t burn up the planet. We’ve got to find an economically sustainable way to save it. Green energy jobs have grown at twice the rate of overall economy jobs in the last decade, they pay 20 to 30 percent more, they’re directly responsible for a $60 billion trade surplus.
Do whatever you want about Solyndra, but do not insult my intelligence by trying to say that the big oil [companies] are right and the green tech people are wrong.
Clinton was citing the analysis by the Brookings Institution of the clean energy economy, which found that employment in the clean-tech sector, which includes companies like Solyndra, grew at 8.3 percent from 2003 to 2010, twice as fast the overall economy.
Later in the roundtable, Clinton offered some thoughtful analysis of why the government is “picking winners and losers,” as some have described the loan guarantee program that supported Solyndra. He explained that the understanding that corporations have a responsibility to all stakeholders has been lost to the idea that they only answer to shareholders. The role of government in setting market fundamentals has been attacked relentlessly. So government policies that define the market — like clean energy standards, cap and trade, or carbon taxes — can’t get passed, even though those are the most efficient at supporting economic innovation.
People need to understand that the government should play a role in making markets, Clinton said, and “part of the market making should be designed be create a mentality of shared value rather than just shareholder value.”
Note: The last bit on shared value was in response to a question I asked and I'll write about that in a separate post.
7) Morra Aarons Mele at BlogHer: What President Clinton, Maternal Health and Blogging Have in Common