Ronald Reagan had this test to decide if Presidents were successful or not that the Republican Party used up until 1992. And that test is laid out in a simple question. "Are you better off today then you were four years ago?" Are the Costs of Living better, are you more secure in your job, do you have more Economic Security today then you had four years ago? Etc and he used that question to in his closing moments of the third Presidential Debate with President Jimmy Carter in 1980. Americans by in large clearly didn't feel better off then they were in 1980 then in 1976. Which is why they voted for Ron Reagan overwhelmingly with around 56% of the Popular Vote and giving him 47-49 States in that Landslide Election. And President Reagan used that question again in 1984 and in 1988, because the country was clearly better off as a whole. In 1984 and in 1988 then it was in 1980 but in 1992 America started declining economically especially. Just starting to come out of the recession of 1990-91, High Unemployment, Interest and Inflation Rates. Rising costs in Healthcare. Rising National Debt and Deficit, except for the rising debt and deficit. Similar economic conditions in 1992 then in 1980, which opened the door for a young Liberal Democrat from Arkansas the Governor of that State. To give the Democratic Party the Presidency and to transform the Democratic Party and get us away from the stereotypes. That have kept us out of National Office since 1981. I mention the Reagan Test because thats one way Presidents are judged in whether they were successful or not. Was the country as a whole better off when you left office then when you came into office. And its a test that President Clinton gave in 1996 and in 2000.
American Presidents are judged by how the country did compared with how it was doing before they became President. But also how they dealt with situations as they come up and one more thing I would add. Were they able to transform the country lay down a vision for it that remained in place after they left office. Another words were they able to start a Political Revolution and under those three tests. President Clinton passes overwhelmingly, which is why he is considered not only successful but I would add a great President. At least on those three scores President Clinton had to deal with a lot. A weak economy, huge National Debt and Deficit, American looking like it may be declining as a World Power. Somalia, Haiti, the Balkans, two American Embassy's being blown up in East Africa. And when he left President with a 4.5% Unemployment Rate, Booming Economy, Record Low Poverty Rate. Democracy's emerging in the Balkans. The Democratic Party when President Clinton came into office was seen nationally as a Far Left Socialist Democratic Party. With a lot of negative stereotypes that were holding it back, Tax and Spenders, Fiscally Irresponsible, Soft on Crime, Defense and Welfare. Anti Private Enterprise, Anti Wealth and Success etc. And he moved the party back to Democratic Liberalism of where it was with President Kennedy in the early 1960s. A place that President Obama wants the Democratic Party to be at, despite pressures from the Far Left to move the party farther left.
Anytime Progressive Democrats try to move the party even farther left, they should look at the lesson of President Clinton. How the party was seen before he was President and it was seen after he left President. And then look at how the party did in 1972, 1980, 1984 and 1988. Where they lost four Landslide Presidential Elections out of five Presidential Elections. Including in 1980 losing so badly that it cost them control of the Senate for the first time since 1952. The Democratic Party needs to be a Liberal Party that believes in Liberal Democracy, thats why I'm a Democrat. But we can't be a Pro Government Party that wants the Federal Government to do a lot more at the expense of Individual Liberty. But we have to be a Pro Limited Government Party that believes in Good Government. In order to be successful now and into the future.