Krayewski:”The 1994 Crime Bill Was A Liberal Policy”

Bill Clinton has become part of the 2016 election news cycle once again. He confronted protesters associated with Black Lives Matter who were denouncing the 1994 crime bill, a major piece of legislation that instituted a lot of the policies that drove over-criminalization and hyper-incarceration in the last twenty years.

“You’re defending the people who kill the lives you say matter,” Clinton told the protesters, attempting to link tough on crime policies (which are popular in urban area and among urban Democratic politicians despite the mainstream rhetoric) to crime reduction.

Twenty years ago the 1994 crime bill passed with broad support. It has become an issue this election cycle given increased interest in issues of police and criminal justice reform. Yet arguments over the crime bill have avoided engaging the uncomfortable truth about the role of bigger government in promoting police violence in favor of rhetorical acrobatics.

further down, the post continues:
It matters. One revisionist tact taken with the 1994 crime bill is that it was never supported by liberals. Salon, for example, insists Bill Clinton’s “right-leaning New Democrat policy record is a bad fit for today’s liberal politics.” Clinton blames Republicans for forcing him to add tougher provisions to the bill. Yet the 1994 crime bill went through Congress when Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. It was supported by Democrats across the political spectrum, from center-left to hard left. Every member of the leadership of the progressive-leaning Congressional Black Caucus voted for the 1994 crime bill, even as their chairman at the time has now tried to deny he voted in favor of it. 75 percent of House Democrats voted for the bill. They were joined by 46 Republicans and one Independent, the democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.

Full post by Ed Krayewski @ Reason Hit & Run

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