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
Posted on January 11, 1993 in Washington Watch
During the campaign President-elect Bill Clinton’s advisors continually reminded themselves of their candidate’s central political theme by hanging a sign in the Little Rock headquarters that read: “It’s the economy, stupid!”
The point, of course, was simple. Dissatisfaction with George Bush’s economic performance was a driving force which helped push the Democrats and Clinton over the top in the November election.
Clinton made extensive promises on economic reform and pledged to make the economy the central focus of his Administration. Among his many promises were: a short-term economic stimulus package to spur economic growth; tax relief for the middle class;...Read more
Posted on December 28, 1992 in Washington Watch
President-elect Bill Clinton has almost completed his first round of cabinet and sub-cabinet appointments. The process has been a fascinating one to watch, and by watching there is a great deal to learn about Clinton’s style of governing.
The most fascinating aspect of the process has been to observe Clinton’s balancing act between a genuine and obvious sensitivity to constituent and special interest groups on the one hand, and his earnest and equally obvious desire to not be seen as bowing to these groups. The very need for the balancing act, of course, is a consequence of the campaign and...Read more
Posted on December 21, 1992 in Washington Watch
A steady stream of major political interest groups and constituent organizations have paraded in and out of the Clinton Presidential Transition offices in downtown Washington in the past three weeks. They go in with positions papers, hoping to influence future policy; or with stacks of resumes, hoping to secure important positions for their members and supporters.
This is how the transition process works. On one level it’s functions are threefold: to prepare for the incoming Administration the detailed technical information it will need to fulfill the manifold responsibilities of government; to select the personnel who will staff this new Democratic...Read more
Posted on February 24, 1992 in Washington Watch
As the dust settles from the explosive New Hampshire primary elections, both the Democratic and Republican parties and their leaders have been forced to take a fresh look at their political campaign strategies.
In this first round of the 1992 elections President Bush beat his conservative challenger, T.V. personality Pat Buchanan, by a margin of 53% to 37%. The surprisingly large Buchanan vote was a clear protest aimed at the White House. New Hampshire’s weakening economic situation (its unemployment rate has more than doubled since 1988), gave Buchanan a perfect platform from which to launch his angry attack on Bush’s...Read more
Posted on February 16, 1992 in Washington Watch
Six months ago it appeared certain that the 1992 elections would be a non-event. Buoyed by high ratings in the polls, George Bush seemed unbeatable. Democrats were in disarray. Paul Tsongas, a little-known former one-term Senator from Massachusetts was the only announced Democratic candidate. Other bigger name Democrats seemed unwilling and afraid to enter the race.
What is certain today, however, as the first rounds of the primary election season begin, is that the 1992 elections will be a real contest. Most experts still predict a Bush reelection, but so much has changed in the past few months that no...Read more