Posted on March 22, 1993 in Washington Watch
While President Bill Clinton’s all-important budget proposal seems to be moving easily through the Congress, dark clouds are gathering which may foreshadow future problems for the President.
When the budget issue is the dominant policy question, as it has been for most of the past three weeks, Clinton and his team have been adept in their management of the story and shaping the press coverage. But, of course, there have been a few “little problems.”
On two occasions the Administration has been caught presenting inaccurate budget-related statistics to the press. These instances were well short of outright lying, and were...Read more
Posted on March 15, 1993 in Washington Watch
During the 1992 Presidential campaign Bill Clinton spoke of his intention to set and meet major goals during his first 100 days in office. With that target period one-half over, the President seems confident that many of his important initiatives will be realized.
The first few weeks of the Administration were difficult, as the it was forced to respond to constant questions about this or that controversy, but the President’s team now seems to be clearly in control and setting the media agenda. In keeping with this aggressive press strategy, Clinton has elected to eschew the cautious approach to policy...Read more
Posted on March 08, 1993 in Washington Watch
Three recent developments have brought cause for serious concern among the Arab and Muslim American communities. There is a fear that if these three issues are not properly addressed, they could genuinely threaten the political and civil rights of Arab Americans and American Muslims. At the same time, mishandling of these cases could lead to even further distortions of the Middle East policy debate in the United States.
San Francisco Spying
The first story came to light one month ago when San Francisco police investigators uncovered evidence that a former San Francisco police officer had conducted illegal surveillance of the...Read more
Posted on March 01, 1993 in Washington Watch
I am taking a brief detour from the type of articles I have been writing, in order to reflect for a moment on political developments in the Arab American community.
Consideration of these events is important because they help to shed light not only on the problems my community is facing, but also help to reveal the nature of the American political process and the nature of the political work that must be done to bring about real shifts in U.S. policy. There are those who focus primarily on the relative weakness of Arab American organizations and/or on some divisions...Read more
Posted on February 22, 1993 in Washington Watch
Secretary of State Warren Christopher is the only member of President Clinton’s cabinet not traveling around the U.S. building support for the President’s economic program.
As Christopher and his aides visit five Arab states and Israel in an effort to restart the Middle East peace talks, the President, Vice President Gore and the rest of the cabinet will be utilizing most of the resources of the Administration on the home front. This is not a sign that Middle East peace and international affairs are not important to the President, but that—true to his campaign pledge—Clinton has committed his resources to...Read more
Posted on February 15, 1993 in Washington Watch
President Clinton is personally involved in the details of his domestic economic program, which he plans to introduce in his February 17th State of the Union address to the Congress.
While there are numerous press accounts (so many that there can be no doubt they come with White House prompting) reporting that the President is being true to his campaign promise and focusing only on economic issues, his foreign policy team is launching a number of critical new initiatives. In fact, in the span of one week the Clinton Administration, without direct involvement of the President, will take dramatic steps...Read more
Posted on February 08, 1993 in Washington Watch
This period, the weeks and months immediately following a Presidential election, is a time of great ferment in both political parties in the United States. In many ways the 1992 elections shocked the Republicans and Democrats, and they are now attempting to learn and apply the lessons of that election. It will take some time, but as they assimilate all the lessons of ‘92 they will redirect their organizations in accordance with what they learn.
In the past two weeks the national committees of both parties met to elect their new officers and set their national agendas.
The Democratic National...Read more
Posted on February 01, 1993 in Washington Watch
The Israeli Supreme Court decision to uphold Prime Minister Rabin’s expulsion of 415 Palestinian to Lebanon has put President Bill Clinton in a very difficult situation.
The difficulty arises from two pledges made by the President during his campaign. On the one hand, he has repeatedly committed his Administration to be an “honest broker” in the continuing Middle East Peace process, a process he supports and wants to see succeed. On the other hand and especially during his campaign, he assured the American Jewish community that, unlike George Bush, he would avoid public confrontations with Israel. Clinton said that when...Read more
Posted on January 25, 1993 in Washington Watch
In recent weeks considerable press attention has been devoted to the world of problems that Bill Clinton inherits from his predecessor George Bush.
Bush’s parting shots at Saddam Hussein have served only to highlight the critical foreign policy issues that await Clinton’s attention during his first week in the White House. In this context it was somewhat puzzling to hear the comments made by Richard Haas, the outgoing Deputy National Security Advisor for Middle East Affairs. Speaking on the television program Nightline just a few minutes before midnight on his last day in office, Haas was asked what final words...Read more
Posted on January 18, 1993 in Washington Watch
Inaugural week comes at a perfect time for President-elect Bill Clinton. The week-long, carefully scripted inaugural activities should help Clinton retake the initiative from critics who have been especially harsh in the past few weeks.
In fact, the attacks in the press have been so sharp that many analysts are wondering whether Clinton will have any honeymoon at all after his swearing-in.
Clinton’s communications team was masterful in its management of the press and ability to focus coverage on a single positive theme, but they have recently lost control. Issues that might ordinarily have been ignored, or mistakes that could...Read more