Former US president Bill Clinton told Virginia Democrats on Saturday that the party has won the US’ long-running culture war, but has to make sure not to squander it with partisanship.
Clinton told more than 3,000 people at a party fund raiser that the nation’s natural political base shifted back to Democrats for the first time since 1968, thanks to protracted Republican mistakes and the belief that US President Barack Obama represented the solution.
He said Obama’s election shows Americans at last are welcoming diversity and accepting differences, the opposite of the political dynamic he said former president Richard Nixon first used in 1968 to lock in a white, conservative voting bloc that kept Virginia and the South reliably Republican for two generations.
“We have won the great culture war that has divided America for 40 years,” Clinton said at Virginia’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. “But before we celebrate too much, we have to realize that people hired us to lead.”
He warned the state’s party activists not to become so blinded by ideology that they abandon prudent governance. He also counseled caution among Democrats, particularly as the economic stimulus package heads toward a Senate vote today, urging the party to focus more on how to solve the problem rather than asking only how much it costs.
His message brought the partisan crowd — still reveling in the first Democratic presidential victory in Virginia since 1964 — to its feet.
Party activists, lobbyists and corporations paid at least US$175 per seat at the annual gala, generating what state party spokesman Jared Leopold estimated was US$700,000.