BILL CLINTON & THE NEW MILLENNIUMPART 3….1993-2001
LEARNING GOAL CRN BENCHMARK 14.11.3 S- Identify the details and evaluatethe proposed resolutions in the contemporary debate over thecritical social issues of today: Gay rights Government “Safety Net” Programs – health care, welfare
Presidential CampaignDebate, 1992. George Bush,Ross Perot, and Bill Clintonsquared off at the Universityof Richmond [Virginia] onOctober 16th, 1992. Thetelegenic Clinton handilydominated the televiseddebates, especially in the“talk-show” format used onthis occasion.
BILL CLINTON: THE FIRST BABY-BOOMER PRESIDENT For the election of 1992, theDemocrats chose Bill Clinton astheir candidate (despiteaccusations of womanizing anddraft evasion) and Albert Gore,Jr. as his running mate. The Democrats tried a newapproach, promoting growth,strong defense, and anticrimepolicies, while campaigning tostimulate the economy.
CLINTON WINS IN 1992 The Republicans dwelled on"family values" and selectedBush for the presidency and J.Danforth Quayle for the vicepresidency. Third party candidate, RossPerot entered the race andended up winning 19,237,247votes, although he won noElectoral votes. Clinton won the election of1992, by a count of 370 to 168in the Electoral College. Along with the presidency,Democrats also gained controlof both the House and theSenate.
ELECTION OF 1992
WOMEN ON THE RISE Presidency Clinton placed inCongress and hispresidential cabinetminorities and morewomen, including the firstfemale attorney general,Janet Reno, Secretary ofHealth and Human Services,Donna Shalala, and RuthBader Ginsburg in theSupreme Court
DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL Upon entering office, Clintoncalled for acceptinghomosexuals in the armedforces, but he had to settlefor a "dont ask, dont tell"policy that unofficiallyaccepted gays and lesbians.
SEXISM Clinton appointed his wife,Hillary Rodham Clinton, torevamp the nations healthand medical care system. When the plan was revealedin October 1993, criticsblasted it as cumbersome,confusing, and stupid. The previous image of Hillaryas an equal political partnerof her husband changed to aliability.
A FALSE START FOR REFORM In 1993, Clinton passed theBrady Bill, a gun-control lawnamed after presidential aideJames Brady, who had beenwounded in PresidentReagans attemptedassassination. By 1996, Clinton had shrunkthe federal deficit to itslowest levels in ten years. In July 1994, Clintonconvinced Congress to passa $30 billion anticrime bill.
DOMESTIC TERRORISM On February 26, 1993, a radicalMuslim group bombed the WorldTrade Center in New York, killingsix people. On April 19, 1993, a fiery standoffat Waco, Texas between thegovernment and the BranchDavidian cult took place; it endedin a huge fire that killed 82people. On April 19, 1995, TimothyMcVeigh bombed a federalbuilding in Oklahoma, killing 169people. By the time all theseevents had taken place, fewAmericans trusted thegovernment.
Bombing of Federal Building in Oklahoma City, 1995. A Truck bombkilled 168 people in this federal office building in the worst act of terrorismin the United States until September 11th, 2001. Convicted in 2001 for theattack, antigovernment militant Timothy McVeigh became the first personexecuted by the federal government in nearly 40 years.
THE POLITICS OF DISTRUST In 1994, Newt Gingrich led Republicans on a sweeping attack ofClintons liberal failures with a conservative "Contract withAmerica." (promised an all-out assault on budget feficits andradical reductions in welfare programs) That year, Republicans won eight more seats in the Senate and53 more seats in the House, where Gingrich became the newSpeaker of the House. The Republicans, however, went too far, imposing federal lawsthat put new obligations on state and local governments withoutproviding new revenues. Clinton tried to fight back, but the American public gradually grewtired of Republican conservatism; Gingrichs suggestion ofsending children of welfare families to orphanages, and the 1995shut down of Congress due to a lack of a sufficient budgetpackage aided to this public disliking.
WELFARE REFORM BILL 1996- Congress achieved a majorconservative victory when itcompelled a reluctant Clinton tosign the Welfare Reform Bill The legislation made deep cuts inwelfare grants and required ab;le-bodied welfare recipients to findemployment. Part of Clinton’s campaign platformin 1992, the reforms were widelyseen by liberals as anabandonment of key NewDeal/Great Society provisions tocare for the impoverished.
THE ELECTION OF 1996 In the election of 1996,Clinton beat Republican BobDole. Ross Perot, the thirdparty candidate, againfinished third. Senator Bob Dole was adecorated WWII veteran Clinton’s healthy economyand artful trimming to theconservative wind, breezedto an easy win
CLINTON SIGNS DOMA The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) isa United States federal law that restrictsfederal marriage benefits and requiredinter-state marriage recognition to onlyopposite-sex marriages in the UnitedStates. The law passed both houses ofCongress by large majorities and wassigned into law by President Bill Clintonon September 21, 1996. Section 3 of DOMA codifies the non-recognition of same-sex marriages forall federal purposes, includinginsurance benefits for governmentemployees, Social Security survivorsbenefits, immigration, and the filing ofjoint tax returns.
PROBLEMS ABROAD Clinton sent troops to Somalia, but eventually withdrew them. He also got involved with the conflicts in Northern Ireland, but to nopositive effect. Before serving as presidency, Clinton denounced Chinas abuses ofhuman rights and threatened to punish China. However, as president, Clinton discovered that trade with China wasfar too important to "waste" over human rights. Clinton committed American troops to NATO to keep the peace in theformer Yugoslavia and sent 20,000 troops to return Jean-BertrandAristide to power in Haiti. Clinton stood on the sidelines in 1994 when catastrophic ethnicviolence in Rwanda resulted in the deaths of half a million people.
NAFTA AND THE WTO He fully supported the NorthAmerican Free TradeAgreement (NAFTA) that madea free-trade zone surroundingMexico, Canada, and the U.S. He then helped to form theWorld Trade Organization, thesuccessor to the GeneralAgreement on Tariffs andTrade (GATT). He also provided $20 billion toMexico in 1995 to help itsfaltering economy.
Protesting NAFTA, 1993. These members of the Teamsters, Union feared that theadoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement would mean the replacementof high-paying American jobs with low-wage, nonunion Mexican labor. More than adecade later, the treaty still rankled. Policymakers disagreed about whether NAFTAhad been damaging to American workers. In the 2008 election, the Republicansendorsed it, while the Democrats attacked it.
PROBLEMS IN BOSNIA As vicious ethnic cleansing occurred inBosnia, Washington committedAmerican troops to a NATOpeacekeeping contingent in late 1995 The events in Srebrenica in 1995included the killing of more than 8,000Bosnian Muslim men and boys, as wellas the mass expulsion of another25,000–30,000 Bosnian Muslimcivilians, in and around the town ofSrebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina,committed by units of the Army of theRepublika Srpska (VRS) under thecommand of General Ratko Mladić. NATO’s expansion to include Poland,Hungary and the Czech Republic in1997 + the events in Bosnia failed topacify the Balkans
PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST? Clinton presided over the 1993 reconciliation meeting between IsraelsYitzhak Rabin and Palestinian Yasir Arafat at the White House. The OSLO I Accords was an attempt in 1993 to set up a framework thatwould lead to the resolution of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Itwas the first face-to-face agreement between the government of Israeland the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Two years later, though, Rabin was assassinated, ending hopes forpeace in the Middle East. The assassin, a religious Zionist named Yigal Amir, strenuously opposedRabins peace initiative and particularly the signing of the Oslo Accords.
Intifada Against Israeli Control, 1994. Beginning in 1987, Palestinians living inthe Israeli-controlled territories of the West Bank and Gaza rose up in protest. Asthe stalemate dragged on, the likelihood of Middle East peace receded, despiterepeated international diplomatic efforts to reach a settlement. These youngPalestinians in East Jerusalem wave Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags
A SEA OF TROUBLES The end of the Cold War left the U.S. probing for a diplomaticformula to replace anti-Communism, revealing misconduct by theCIA and the FBI. Political reporter Joe Klein wrote Primary Colors, mirroring someof Clintons personal life/womanizing. Clinton ran into trouble with his failed real estate investment in theWhitewater Land Corporation. In 1993, White House councilman, Vincent Foster, Jr. apparentlycommitted suicide, perhaps overstressed at having to (possiblyimmorally) manage Clintons legal and financial affairs. As Clinton began his second term, the first by a Democraticpresident since FDR, there were Republican majorities in bothhouses of Congress.
SCANDAL- WHITEWATER From the beginning of hispresidency, critics broughtcharges of philandering toillegal financial transactions toClinton Allegations of corruptionstemmed from Whitewater- afailed real estate investmentfrom which the Clintons [whilehe was gov. of Arkansas] werealleged to have illicitly profited. The accusations prompted theappointment of a specialfederal prosecutor, though noindictments
MONICA LEWINSKY- 1998 January 1998- revelation thatClinton had engaged in asexual affair with a youngWhite House intern, MonicaLewinsky, and then blatantlylied about it while testifyingunder oath in anotherwoman’s [Paula Jones] civilsuit accusing him of sexualharassment Caught in a bold lie, thepresident made a humiliatingconfession, but politicalopponents smelled blood.
SEXUAL POLITICS September 1998- the specialprosecutor investigatingWhitewater who had broadpowers to investigate anyevidence of presidentialmalfeasance, presented astinging report, including luridsexual details, to theRepublican-controlled Houseof Representatives. The report presented elevenpossible grounds forimpeachment, all related tolying about the LewinskyAffair.
PRESIDENTIAL IMPEACHMENT For his “little white lie,” Clinton wasimpeached by the House (only the2nd president to be impeached,behind Andrew Johnson right afterthe Civil War). However, Republicans wereunable to get the necessary 2/3super-majority vote in the Senateto kick Clinton from the WhiteHouse. Clinton fulfilled his final years aspresident, but did so with atarnished image and his place inhistory assured. His actions saw Americans leantoward the realization thatcharacter indeed must really matterafter all.
The Legacy ofImpeachment. Timemagazine’s cartoonistasked how futuregenerations would judgethe Clinton impeachmentepisode- and how it mightbe treated in historytextbooks.
CLINTON’S LEGACY Clinton’s legacy is mixed, beyond theobvious stain of impeachment Sound economic policies encouragedgrowth and trade in a rapidlyglobalizing post-Cold War world Yet, as a “New Democrat”, Clinton didmore to consolidate than to reversethe Reagan-Bush revolution againstNew Deal liberalism that for ½ acentury had provided the Democraticparty a compass He replenished the sad reservoir ofpublic cynicism about politics thatVietnam and Watergate hadgenerated before
LEARNING GOAL: What event or trend during the Clinton administration do you thinkwill have the most lasting impact on the United States? Why?