Known as one of the best and most popular American Presidents of the present time, President William (Bill) Clinton was decidedly so because of the his success in managing several key issues during each of his two administrations. Clinton was a new kind of Democrat who exercised a new kind of governance in that he was more of a centrist, according to most political theorists. His stand on policies such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Welfare reform show a preference for different methods that was different from the hard-line ways of Former President Bush.
One of the keys to the popularity and approval for President Clinton came from the fact that it was only during his term that the United States experienced unprecedented economic prosperity and growth. The Peace Time economic expansion program that he enacted included a balanced budget and a large federal surplus that amounted to over US$ 559 billion. While he was certainly able to bring a lot of progress to the United States during his term, an objective view of the term of President Clinton also reveals several plans that were not totally successful.
In fact, it has been argued that were it not for the robust economic growth that occurred during his term, many would have considered his presidency a failure. As such, this brief discussion shall cover a few of the programs that Clinton spearheaded during his career. One of the first programs that Clinton signed into law upon assumption of office was the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 which was aimed at initiating his program on welfare reform in the United States. Under this plan, large employers were required to provide their employees with unpaid leave in cases of pregnancy or serious medical operations.
This was a largely successful medical program but its success was perhaps overshadowed by a related campaign promise reform of allowing openly homosexual men and women to be allowed to serve in the armed forces. Again this shows how the tentative efforts and centrists political style of President Bill Clinton oftentimes derailed the success of his otherwise well conceived plans. This led to the implementation of the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy which was a compromise to the original plan and allowed homosexuals to serve in the military as long as they did not reveal their sexual preferences.
This was much criticized due the perception that most felt of President Clinton as not taking a strong enough stand on the issue. This was on top of the allegations that the weak policies of Clinton were aimed at garnering more votes and contributions. Instead, many advocates felt that an executive order might have been more effective and definite, in line with his powers as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Regardless of this, this law was only the first of many plans that were conceivably good in theory but decidedly poor in execution.
Another example of the reforms that Clinton wanted to implement but fell short of the original plan was the educational reform movement. This movement in the reauthorization was in 1994 under President Clinton’s administration titled “Goals 2000” and “Improving America’s Schools Act” (IASA). Goals 2000, which was passed in 1993, and IASA, which was passed in 1994, required all states to develop standards for all students in reading and math. This reauthorization proposal specifically named a focus interest in reducing class size, improving and modernizing school facilities, and after school programming.
One of the problems of this plan, however, was the fact that all of these initiatives have significant implementation costs. It also required all schools to develop school report cards that would inform the public on how well and how many of the students the school serves meets the standards. This implies that the federal funding provided is expected to yield measurable academic gains in student achievement. This did not become successful, however, because it was not able to adequately bring about the much expected reforms. One of the main platforms of President Bill Clinton when he first ran for office was healthcare reform.
The 37 million uninsured Americans applauded his planned reforms loudly as President Clinton introduced his daunting healthcare reform proposal soon after he was elected (Matthews 2000). As history reveals, this proposal was not welcomed with the same open arms that elected President Bill Clinton to office. The much vaunted Healthcare Reform that he promised had failed. The failure of the Clinton Administration with regard to its Healthcare Reform Program was due to the failure of President Clinton to communicate his vision and the lack of support from the majority groups (Matthews 2000).
It did not take long for the plan to fail as even during the discussions in congress the President’s plan was already rejected for being too costly and inefficient. The reforms that President Bill Clinton wanted implemented had an adverse effect as shown in the various states that had implemented the Clinton healthcare plan (Cihak, Williams and Ferrera 1997). The healthcare plan caused increased costs instead of reducing the number of uninsured Americans. It also led to the increase in the number of uninsured Americans.
As mentioned earlier, another of the causes of the failure of the Clinton Healthcare plan was the lack of viable sources of funding. While most agreed that a universal healthcare plan was well suited for the general public, there was no consensus with regard to how it was going to be funded (Cihak, Williams and Ferrera 1997). There was no support from major business groups and trade administrations. Instead, a number of these groups lobbied heavily against the universal healthcare plan of President Clinton (Matthews 2000).
These factors thus ensured that instead of having a universal healthcare plan as originally envisioned by President Clinton what remains is a universal headache for this generation and the next. In sum, while the Presidential term of President Bill Clinton can be considered as a success, much of this was brought about by the relative peace that ensued during this era as well as the economic reform that occurred. There may have been several notable failures but these were miniscule compared to the benefits that his presidency brought to the American public.
Arguably he was President at a right time in American history but such does not diminish the fact that he was also the right President at that right time. References: Matthews, Merril (2000) Lesson’s From Tennessee’s Failed Healthcare Reform. The Heritage Foundation Leadership for America. Healthcare Issue April 7, 2000 Cihak, Robert M. D. , Williams, Bob and Ferrara, Peter (1997) “The Rise and Repeal of the Washington State Health Plan: Lessons for America’s State Legislators,” Heritage Foundation State Backgrounder No. 1121/S, June 11, 1997Sample Essay of PaperDon.com