President Bill Clinton remembers the 1990s fondly. The economy was booming, he was still eating cheeseburgers and he was living in the White House.

And, or so he recalls, political discourse was loftier, and far more substantial. Wasn’t it?

“I was shocked — you know, campaigns I used to be a part of, you’d see these negative ads or positive ads. But they were usually like reasonable ads subject to fact-checking, like, “My opponent wants to vaccinate cows against mad cow disease, and I think it’s a terrible waste of money,” Clinton said last week in a speech at the New Republic’s 100-year anniversary gala.

“In other words, they would hit each other over something real. This was, ‘My opponent voted with the president 93 percent of the time.’ Well, what did they vote on? Would that include all the budgets? What is it? There’s all this sort of dark labeling business going on,” Clinton continued. “And I think the differences are healthy, but not if they’re meaningless, designed to shut people’s brains down instead of fire them up, because unfortunately if you want to return to the kind of broad-based prosperity we had in the 1990s, it will require some really clever thought.”

Yes, the Republican missive this campaign cycle was to link Democrats to President Obama. But is that really so much different than the Republicans’ successful effort in the 1994 midterms?

We’re reminded of an attack ad against Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) that year, which said she “voted with President Clinton over 80 percent of the time.”

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Notably, voting 80 percent with the president these days wouldn’t be an attack, it’d be a sign of independence. And, perhaps to Clinton’s broader point, at least the Republicans in 1994 also laid out a plan — the Contract With America — while also of course bashing Democrats for voting with their president.