The thing about the Clinton administration is that Jimmy Carter’s administration ended in 1980. So if you’re going to create an economic policy team for Barack Obama your main choices are (1) “folks who worked on economic policy in the Clinton administration,” (2) “folks who worked on economic policy in the Bush administration,” and (3) “folks with little economic policy experience.” Now forced to choose between (1) and (2), I think (1) is clearly the better choice. Option (3) isn’t the worst thing in the world, lots of intelligent knowledgeable right-thinking people don’t happen to have experience in government. But it seems to me that it’s extremely prudent for a president to desire that the majority of his economic policy team be composed of people with previous executive branch economic policy experience.In 1993, Bill Clinton demonstrated the problems with choice (3) -- not for economic policy, but for the White House staff. Clinton was (quite logically) afraid of turning out like Jimmy Carter, and he wisely avoided the kind of Washington-bashing that Carter, and to some extent Ronald Reagan, had indulged in only to find that they actually had to work with Washingtonians. But Clinton avoided anyone who had experience in Carter's White House. At that point, the most recent Democrat other than Carter had been out of office for 24 years, so Clinton was left with a White House full of people who had never worked there before.
It worked badly.
In fact, it worked so badly that Clinton wound up having the consensus Worst Transition, and most likely the Worst First Few Months ever, at least for a modern president (I suppose William Henry Harrison retires the trophy for worst first few months, all-time). By all accounts, the White House just worked terribly. Eventually, they wound up bringing in someone who didn't have the taint of the Carter Administration -- but did have experience in the Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I Administrations, and eventually they shuffled everyone around and wound up with a very well-regarded operation, but by then they were in a deep hole, and wound up a lot closer to a Carter level of first-two-years productivity than to an Obama level.
Now, one can make too much of this...there are other reasons for Clinton's poor start, and Obama's strong one. And one can never prove that if Clinton had put, say, (Carter-WH vet) Stuart Eizenstat in the White House and maybe one or two others that everything would have worked out better. I can't prove it, but I do believe it's true.