Former President Bill Clinton has written a soon-to-be-released book titled “Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy.”
He discusses many thing in the book but probably most notable (because it is relatively unexpected), he criticizes President Obama’s approach to job creation.
While he generally praises Obama for "taking steps to mitigate the financial crisis and deep recession," Clinton also also makes sure to criticize the president for "poor communication and strategic misfires."
At one point in the book, Clinton writes that the political fight over raising the U.S. debt ceiling made the nation look "weak and confused" overseas and he doesn't understand why President Barack Obama didn't seek a hike in the limit when Democrats still controlled both houses of Congress.
He says the final deal did little to create jobs or solve the longer-term debt crisis.
He also describes the current state of the country as "a mess" and largely blames the anti-government sentiment embodied in the tea party movement that has held sway since the 1980s.
However, perhaps in an effort to seem "fair," he also criticizes Obama and other Democratic lawmakers for not making a stronger case for the steps they took to "stabilize" the U.S. economy in 2009, such as the bank and auto company bailouts and the $787 billion economic stimulus program.
Much like the Obama administration, Clinton believes that it’s not government policies themselves that Americans have reacted negatively to, it's because they just don't understand them.
In the book he also talks about how he tried to campaign for the Democrats during the 2010 mideterm elections but claims that his efforts were fruitless because Democrats had no national message to counter the anti-government headwinds they were facing.
Bill Clinton says he and Vice President Joe Biden urged the Democratic National Committee to distribute a clear set of talking points to activists so they would know how to discuss what the party had accomplished.
"We couldn't persuade the decision makers to do so," Clinton said.
As many know, Democrats suffered a severe “shellacking” that November. But it’s not because of their policies, it’s because the Obama administration didn’t know how to convey their ideas.
Well, that’s what Clinton believes.
Obama now has "a tough hand to play" in negotiating with Congress, Clinton writes.
Clinton recalls his own eight years in the White House in glowing terms, and writes at length about what he believes he did correctly. Distinguishing his approach from the current administration’s towards taxes and job creation, Clinton writes that he was able to persuade many wealthy people to accept higher taxes because "I didn't attack them for their success."
Obama, by contrast, has positioned himself as a class warrior for the middle class — even aligning himself with the Occupy Wall Street movement to beef up his populist credentials writes Business Insider.
Of course, as one would expect, Clinton also strongly criticizes Republicans for taking the country deeply into debt under George W. Bush's presidency. He says both major parties must agree to investments that will strengthen the U.S. going forward, such as green energy and infrastructure improvements.
He also advocates reforming the tax code, cutting some corporate taxes and giving businesses greater incentives to hire.
But would something like investments in green energy really get America back to work? Recent events (Solyndra, SunPower, First Solar) might indicate otherwise.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(h/t Business Insider)