A True Third Way? Domestic Policy and the Presidency of William Jefferson Clinton


Rosanna Perotti, Ph.D. and Richard Himelfarb (Editors)
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY, US

Open Access

Series: Presidency in the United States
BISAC: HIS036060

During the 1992 campaign, Bill Clinton repeatedly sought to distance himself from the liberal orthodoxy that had come to define the Democratic Party’s national image. Labeling himself a “New Democrat,” Clinton supported the death penalty, criticized racially incendiary remarks by black political activist Sister Souljah and promised to “end welfare as we know it.” These pronouncements enabled Clinton to position himself as a moderate. In 1992, independent voters who had supported Republicans in previous elections returned to support the Democratic presidential candidate.
As President, Clinton pledged to pursue “third way” policies that would synthesize the best of liberal and conservative ideas for the benefit of the nation. This volume, assessing the domestic policies of the Clinton administration, addresses two broad though closely related questions. First, was the New Democrat approach substantively significant or merely rhetorical? Second, did the policies themselves succeed in furthering the national interest?

This collection features papers and commentaries initially presented at the 2005 Hofstra University Conference, “William Jefferson Clinton: The ‘New Democrat’ from Hope,” in which dozens of top scholars, journalists and Clinton Administration officials evaluated the Clinton Administration’s legacy. In this volume, political scientist Stephen K. Medvic and former White House senior staffer Elaine C. Kamarck examine the meaning of Clinton’s New Democrat philosophy. Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and economist Dean Baker offer commentary on economic policy. Clinton Trade Representative Mickey Kantor and Pepperdine University business law professor Larry Bumgardner offer evaluations of the administration’s trade policies. Hofstra University information technology professor Laura Lally discusses the Clinton Administration’s technology policy, and political scientist Robert J. Spitzer examines gun control policy.
Historian Peter B. Levy and Clinton Presidential Adviser Ben Johnson examine the reasons for Clinton’s popularity among African Americans. Welfare reform, a signature legislative accomplishment of the Clinton administration, is explored by policy scholars Alex Waddan and Daniel Beland, along with law professor Peter Edelman, political scientist Lawrence M. Mead and Clinton Domestic Policy Adviser Bruce Reed. Political scientists Richard Himelfarb and Theodore R. Marmor discuss the Clinton Administration’s health care reform efforts, along with two former Clinton administration officials: Bruce C. Vladeck, former administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, and Chris Jennings, President Clinton’s senior health care advisor at the Domestic Policy and National Economic Policy councils. Richard W. Riley, Secretary of Education during the Clinton Administration, defends the administration’s moderate approach to education policy. Finally, political scientist Graham G. Dodds studies the significance of President Clinton’s use of environmental executive orders. (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Richard Himelfarb

I. The New Democrat Perspective

Chapter 1 – A New Democratic Party? Bill Clinton As a Public Philosopher and Party Leader (pp. 3-18)
Stephen K. Medvic (Franklin & Marshall College, Department of Government, Lancaster, PA, US)

Chapter 2 – Complex Man, Complex Legacy (pp. 19-20)
Elaine C. Kamarck (Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, US)

II. Domestic Economic Policy

Chapter 3 – President Clinton‘s Economic Policy and Approach to Decision-Making (pp. 23-30)
Robert E. Rubin (Council on Foreign Relations, New York, NY, US)

III. Trade Policy

Chapter 4 – Adapting to a Changing Global Economy (pp. 33-38)
Mickey Kantor (Partner, Mayer Brown, Washington, D.C., US)

IV. Antitrust and Business Regulation

Chapter 5 – Antitrust and Business Regulation: The Clinton Administration‘s ―New Democrat Approach to Antitrust Policy (pp. 41-52)
Larry Bumgardner (Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management, Weslake Village, CA, US)

V. Science and Technology Policy

Chapter 6 – Information Technology and the Clinton Administration: Proactive Leadership in Turbulent Times (pp. 53-62)
Laura Lally (Department of Information Technology, Hofstra University, NY, US)

VI. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Chapter 7 – The First Black President‖? Bill Clinton and Civil Rights (pp. 65-74)
Peter B. Levy (Department of History and Political Science, York College, York, PA, US)

Chapter 8 – President Clinton‘s Outreach to African Americans (pp. 75-78)
Ben Johnson (Assistant to the President, and Director of The President’s Initiative on One America)

VII. Gun Control

Chapter 9 – Clinton and Gun Control: Boon or Bane? (pp. 81-92)
Robert J. Spitzer (Department of Political Science, SUNY Cortland, NY, US)

VIII. Welfare Reform

Chapter 10 – Welfare Reform: Is the Past Prologue? (pp. 95-100)
Peter Edelman (Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C., US)

Chapter 11 – What Third Way? Clinton, New Democrats and Social Policy Reform (pp. 101-112)
Daniel Béland and Alex Waddan (Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan Campus, Saskatoon, SK, Canada)

Chapter 12 – What Clinton Actually Did in Welfare Reform (pp. 113-116)
Lawrence M. Mead (Department of Politics, New York University, NY, US)

Chapter 13 – Ending Welfare As We Know It Was Clinton‘s Idea (pp. 117-120)
Bruce Reed (Office of the Vice President, The White House, Washington, DC, US)

IX. Health Care Reform

Chapter 14 – False Promises: Lessons from Three Health Care Reform Catastrophes (pp. 123-140)
Richard Himelfarb (Department of Political Science, Hofstra University, NY, US)

Chapter 15 – The Politics of Universal Health Insurance: Understanding the Clinton Administration‘s Troubled Effort at Comprehensive Reform (pp. 141-154)
Theodore R. Marmor (Department of Public Policy and Management & Department of Political Science, Yale University, CT, US)

Chapter 16 – The New Democrats ―Got It Wrong (pp. 155-158)
Bruce C. Vladeck (Senior Adviser, Nexera Inc., New York, NY, US)

Chapter 17 – Clinton Made Health Care a Presidential Issue (pp. 159-162)
Chris Jennings (Jennings Policy Strategies, Washington, D.C., US)

X. Education Policy

Chapter 18 – Clinton‘s Leadership Role in Education (pp. 165-170)
Richard W. Riley (Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Washington, DC, US)

XI. The Environment

Chapter 19 – President William Jefferson Clinton‘s Environmental Executive Orders (pp. 173-184)
Graham G. Dodds (Political Science Department, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

About the Contributors


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