Clinton's Legacy?: A New Democrat in Governance by A. Waddan

By A. Waddan

Whilst invoice Clinton left workplace there has been little consensus even between Democrats as to the importance of his political legacy. He used to be desirous to pressure that enduring alterations have been made to American society. Critics, even if, have been much less confident that Clintonism had constructed an built-in imaginative and prescient of governance. This booklet examines even if the Clinton event illustrates the worth of the hot Democrat and 3rd means schedule.

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In some ways this debate does somewhat miss the point, as in truth Clinton probably did what he needed to do to win. In the primaries his pitch as the centrist, non-liberal, candidate was somewhat changed by the manner in which his main challenger, against whom he had to define himself, had staked out the conservative turf – at least on socioeconomic policy. This left Clinton in the unexpected position of being the candidate favoured by many liberals. In the general election campaign Clinton did sometimes use the rhetoric of populist liberalism in his attacks on Bush’s economic policies, but where he did toe the New Democrat line was in his constant emphasis on helping the middleclass rather than talking about the poor.

Moving beyond the New Deal Bush may have turned the 1988 election round, after polls in the spring and early summer suggested that Dukakis might be a real threat, by caricaturing his opponent as a ‘bleeding heart’, but blaming ‘limousine liberals’ for all the party’s presidential level woes was conflating too many problems. Perhaps even more disturbing than the rise of cultural liberalism was the undermining of much of the substance of the New Deal’s socio-economic agenda which brought into question the fundamentals of FDR’s legacy.

The strange death of liberal America In truth it is possible to see that there were always enormous internal contradictions within the New Deal coalition which were likely to combust as the constituent elements became increasingly aware who their bedfellows were. The lynchpin of the electoral alliance had been the coalescing of the economic interests of various social groups who otherwise did not necessarily have a lot in common. Thus the New Deal remained successful so long as it stuck to its core message, but it became increasingly difficult to maintain this one-dimensional approach.

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