Posted on June 28, 1993 in Washington Watch
In testimony this week before a Congressional Committee, Arab Americans will take a dramatic step in the direction of achieving official recognition as a minority group in the United States.
Such recognition would be important for Arab Americans, because it may result in a more accurate (and higher) count of Arab Americans in the next census. An increased count would translate into greater recognition as a political force and an increase in funding for social agencies which serve Arab American needs. Most importantly, reclassification as a minority can help Arab Americans better secure their civil rights and protect themselves against...Read more
Posted on June 20, 1993 in Washington Watch
After the President’s popularity reached its low point two weeks ago, the White House made a determined effort to discipline itself and improve its relations with the powerful Washington press corps. Now, Clinton’s efforts to regain his political strength in Washington are beginning to show some signs of success.
However, because not all of the problems now facing him are of his own creation, success will be neither easy nor complete. The U.S. public’s opinion about politics and government as a whole will not be easy to fix. And with demagogues like Ross Perot preaching a message of populist alienation,...Read more
Posted on June 13, 1993 in Washington Watch
With the tenth session of Middle East peace talks now beginning, hopes are not as high as they were 20 months ago after the Madrid Conference, but nor are they as low as they were six months ago after Israel’s expulsion of 415 Palestinians to Lebanon.
A review of developments leading up to this tenth session establishes two contradictory trends. On the one hand, there have been real changes in the relationships between the parties and indications of progress on some fronts, while on the other hand, there remain troubling signs of stagnation and unresolved issues not being addressed by...Read more
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...Read more
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...Read more
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...Read more
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...Read more
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...Read more
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...Read more
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...Read more