President Bill Clinton and Themes that defined his Presidency
Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III in 1964 in a small town in Arkansas. During his childhood, his grandparents equipped him with strong beliefs and values on the importance of equality despite the presence of segregation laws in the country. He graduated from law school in 1973 and returned to focus on his goals of running for political office. Bill Clinton was elected as the Arkansas Attorney General in 1976, and two years later, he became the youngest governor in the country at thirty-two years. As the Democratic Presidential candidate, he was elected as the United States' 42nd president in 1992. The campaign was characterized by aspects related to preserving the American Dream, reinstating the middle class's aspirations, and reclaiming the future of subsequent generations. Hence, an analysis of the themes that defined his administration will be crucial.
President Clinton was a passionate leader who believed in his vision for the country. The direct interaction with the citizens allowed him to acknowledge the benefits of strengthening the healthcare system, education system, and the economy (Holloway, Denton & Togman, 2003). Throughout his presidency, President Clinton used the opportunity to ensure the American people can fulfill their dreams and desires. He was the first baby boomer who would help build the 21st-century bridge via continued leadership. As the first Democratic President in six decades to be elected twice, he led the United States through the most successful economic expansion in the nation's history by creating over 22 million jobs.
Themes that defined President Clinton's administration
The United States, during Clinton's term, enjoyed economic security and peace than any other administration in history. Based on Holloway et al. (2003), this period was symbolized by low unemployment rates, the lowest inflation in 30 years, reduced welfare polls, a drop in crime rates, and the nation's highest homeownership rates. The 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act focused on raising taxes for wealthy individuals by 1.2% while reducing the taxes for small businesses and low-income earners (Nsoedo, 2016). This policy consisted of a precondition to balance the federal budget and set the precedence for economic renewal.
On the other hand, President Clinton was not successful in implementing the healthcare reforms in the United States. During the 1992 presidential campaign, Clinton identified the health reform policy as his main agenda. Once he was inaugurated as President, he promised to present a health plan in the next hundred days. According to Schier (2000), the appointed task force failed to meet the stipulated deadline. Further, the Clinton administration faced criticism and opposition from the Republicans, the health insurance industry, and the American Medical Association, contributing significantly to health reforms' failure. President Clinton's term was characterized by the passage of bills associated with crime elimination, education, women and family issues, and environmental conservation.
President Clinton's first term allowed him to focus on foreign policy initiatives crucial in advocating peace and unity. The first term in office was defined by the successful effort to reinstate Haitian President Jean-Bertrand in September-October 1994. He also took part in the peace talks and the 1995 Dayton Accords to stop ethnic disagreements in Herzegovina and Bosnia (Mitchell, 2005). Moreover, Clinton authorized the American troops to bomb Iraq when Saddam Hussein interfered with the United Nations probe for evidence of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. The peace initiatives increased his public support as he traveled through Europe, South America, Russia, Africa, and China.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law in 1994 to eliminate the barriers to investment and trade in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Despite the criticism, NAFTA contributed significantly to economic growth in all three countries. Based on Hyland (1999), the Gross Domestic Product in Canada, Mexico, and the United States grew due to the North American Free Trade Agreement. He also became an influential member of NATO and initiated the "Partnership for Peace" plan, which enforced the ties between NATO and former Warsaw Pact nations. Hence, due to Clinton's diplomatic initiatives, investments expanded, and industries thrived during his tenure.
President Clinton's second term was characterized by cases of corruption and public scandals. He became the second president in United States history to be impeached after lying to Congress and the American citizens about his extramarital affairs with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Although he faced criticism for his conduct, racial reconciliation stood out as a dominant theme during his second term.
Clinton's administration advocated for "One America" that remained united regardless of peoples' color, gender, or race. According to Holloway (2003), President Clinton highlighted that responsibility, opportunity, and community were the primary objectives for his government. The vision and dream for a better America were possible if the government created opportunities for all Americans, demanded responsibility from the citizens, and developed a robust American community. The President emphasized that their shared allegiance unites Americans to the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, privileges, and responsibilities of citizenship and Bill of Rights. The Clinton Administration efforts encouraged unity with the One America race project.
In conclusion, Clinton's primary goals were to promote democracy, prosperity, and enhance security. Although scandals defined his tenure, he received the highest approval rating in the post-World War II period. As a politician, he stood for issues that affected his nation and global peace. In this case, the themes on the domestic agenda, foreign affairs, and racial reconciliation were critical components in his administration. Presently, he remains as an influential leader in United States politics.
Hyland, W. G. (1999). Clinton's world: Remaking American foreign policy. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Holloway, R. L., Denton, R. E., & Togman, J. M. (2003). Images, scandal, and communication strategies of the Clinton presidency. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Mitchell, D. (2005). Making foreign policy: Presidential management of the decision-making process. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..
Nsoedo, E. E. (2016). Effective Leadership in the 21st Century: Bill Clinton and the New Way to Philanthropy. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 4(2), 186-198.
Schier, S. E. (Ed.). (2000). The postmodern presidency: Bill Clinton's legacy in US politics. University of Pittsburgh Press.