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'WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN' -BILL CLINTON AND AMERICAN POLITICAL POWER

DAVID PALMER
Australasian Journal of American Studies
Vol. 24, No. 1 (July 2005), pp. 38-58
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41416024
Page Count: 21
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'WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN' -BILL CLINTON AND AMERICAN POLITICAL POWER
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Abstract

Bill Clinton represented great promise when he entered the presidency in 1992. He admits, in his recent memoirs, that he could not accomplish all that he set out to do but is optimistic that much was gained despite the fierce opposition from the Republican Congressional majority, a negative mainstream media, and a series of scandals. The best accounts of Clinton and his politics present a more mixed assessment. Looking back on the 1990s, it now is apparent that Clinton's 'New Democrats' neoliberalism did not make headway against the Republicans' extreme rightwing agenda, but instead either held existing ground or made substantial concessions. Clinton's personal popularity did not match the erosion of traditional New Deal era values that had guided the Democrats before his ascendancy and helped them retain power. Furthermore, this transition decade at the end of the Cold War became time wasted in foreign policy that dealt with developing nations most graphically in Afghanistan, which became the opening stage in George W. Bush's long global War on Terror.'

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