Clinton's Leadership in Question

Posted on June 07, 1993 in Washington Watch

May was a terrible month for President Bill Clinton. Even with the narrow victory of his economic program in the House of Representatives, the events of the last two weeks of the month left the new Clinton presidency in disarray.

The abrupt change of policy in Bosnia, the revolt of moderate Democrats against the President’s proposed BTU tax, the mishandled firings of the White House Travel Office, the embarrassing $200 haircut at the Los Angeles airport, and the relentless hounding of his Justice Department nominee Lani Guinier —all these things combined to produce a constant stream of negative stories across...

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Ohio Arab Americans Fight Israel Bond Legislation

Posted on May 31, 1993 in Washington Watch

With lightning speed and no debate, the Ohio State Senate (a Midwestern state with a population of 11 million) passed a bill that would permit the State Treasurer to use Ohio tax dollars to purchase Israel Bonds. As in nearly all of the other forty-nine states, Ohio law currently does not allow treasury funds to be invested overseas.

The bill’s sponsor is the powerful President of the Republican-controlled Senate, Stanley Aronoff. Because Aronoff personally wanted this bill to succeed, the word passed quickly to other legislators that “this is for Stanley—pass it.” Senators with whom I spoke hadn’t considered the...

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The Clinton Administration and the Crisis in Bosnia

Posted on May 24, 1993 in Washington Watch

Political analysts in Washington have become highly critical of President Clinton’s inaction on the ongoing tragedy in Bosnia. But of even greater concern to these analysts is a growing sense that Clinton’s handling of the situation in Bosnia is following a pattern common to the Administration’s treatment of several other important issues of public policy.

During the 1992 campaign Clinton strongly criticized President Bush’s failure to act decisively on Bosnia. It was at a critical moment in the fall campaign when Clinton seized on the issue of Bosnia in order to establish his credentials as a foreign policy leader and...

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Republicans Rebound

Posted on May 17, 1993 in Washington Watch

The fight over Clinton’s economic plan served to give a new sense of unity to the Republican Party and to elevate Senator Robert Dole of Kansas to the position of the party’s recognized national leader.

Back during the campaign Clinton’s slogan—“It’s the economy, stupid”—had focused the national debate on George Bush’s poor record on the economy. The Republicans never quite managed to find a counter-message that would work. During the last three elections they had run successful campaigns by defining their Democratic opponent in a negative way, but that strategy didn’t work in 1992.

The Republicans began by opposing “tax...

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Beginning the Second 100 Days

Posted on May 10, 1993 in Washington Watch

By any realistic standard, 100 days is an insufficient amount of time to judge the success or failure of a President. But it has become a great American game played all too vigorously by press and politicians alike.

This presents many problems for President Clinton. His first 100 days were mixed: he experienced some successes and some failures. There is some disarray at the White House. And maybe most serious for the President is the fact that he, himself, raised the expectation that he would bring about sweeping changes within the first 100 days of his Administration.

President Clinton was...

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Rabin's Blunder, Palestinians' Resolve and U.S. Diplomacy

Posted on May 03, 1993 in Washington Watch

Israel’s illegal expulsion of 400 Palestinians to Lebanon may have been a turning-point in the search for a comprehensive Middle East peace—but not for the reasons claimed by Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in December of 1992.

Back then Israel felt threatened by violence which it asserted was being orchestrated by Hamas activists in the Occupied Territories. Rabin claimed that, in an effort to both stop the violence and to free the Palestinian negotiators from the threat of Hamas “the opponents of peace”, it was necessary to expel 400 arbitrarily chosen Palestinians without any due process of law.

The results...

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Rebellion in the Senate: Two Democrats Hurt Clinton

Posted on April 19, 1993 in Washington Watch

During votes in the Senate on President Clinton’s budget proposal and economic stimulus program, two Democratic Senators opposed the President. In different ways, they indicate trouble for Clinton.

The most outspoken of Clinton’s two Democratic critics is Richard Shelby, a conservative Senator from Alabama. As a fellow Southerner, he might have appeared to be a natural ally for a President from Arkansas. After winning a close election in 1986, Shelby won reelection in 1992 by a substantial margin. He is, therefore, secure in the beginning of his second term in the Senate. Many observers thought that this security might enable...

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Senate Stalemate Spells Trouble for President Clinton

Posted on April 12, 1993 in Washington Watch

President Clinton’s budget proposal passed through both the House and the Senate in record time; however, this was probably the last of Clinton’s easy victories.

This week the President ran into unexpected trouble in the Senate, and it is big trouble. At issue was the President’s proposed $16.3 billion stimulus package, the purpose of which is to provide a short-term boost to the economy by creating jobs in a number of sectors. While the slow but steady recovery of the nation’s economy has caused some to question the wisdom and necessity of this stimulus package (fearing that it might deepen...

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The Middle East Remains a U.S. Foreign Policy Priority

Posted on April 02, 1993 in Washington Watch

With the ugly and dangerous war in Bosnia threatening to become even uglier and more dangerous, and with post-Cold War Russia in turmoil, it is fascinating to see the extent to which the Middle East remains a number one foreign policy priority for the Clinton Administration.

While other world issues continue to receive their fair share of attention, the record of this Administration’s first two months in office is filled with Middle East related activity.

·· The first foreign trip made by the Secretary of State was to the Middle East to visit five Arab countries and Israel, in Secretary...

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Arab Americans As We Really Are, American Politics As It Really Is

Posted on March 29, 1993 in Washington Watch

On Wednesday, March 31, a group of Arab American leaders is scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of state Warren Christopher at the White House. The group, drawn from across the United States, includes leaders of most major Arab American organizations, elected officials, and community and business leaders.

The meeting is significant not only because it is the first such meeting with this new Administration and comes at such a critical time in U.S.-Arab relations. It is also significant for its reflection of the continuing evolution and maturation of Arab Americans as a national political constituency.

The World Trade Center...

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