The Clinton Presidency: First Appraisals


Colin Campbell and Bert A. Rockman lead a distinguished panel of political observers in analyzing the significant events of the Clinton administration's first two years and defining its catalog of successes and failures. The Clinton Presidency brings together trenchant commentary by these experts in areas including governing, management, and leadership styles; dealing with Congress, the legal system, and the federal executive; the influence of parties, interest groups, and polls; developments in domestic and foreign policy; and the outlook for the future. Recognizing the discrepancy between Clinton's policy ambitions and the constraints of his political environment, the Campbell and Rockman team generally agree that the Clinton White House has failed to meet the high expectations that many people shared upon its inauguration. As the experts provide a complex portrait of the considerable assets and equally weighty liabilities this unique politician has displayed in the early years of his presidency, their separate and occasionally contradictory appraisals do cohere to offer some more significant consensual judgments: the Clinton presidency has suffered most from lack of definition, inconsistency in decision-making processes, and wavering fidelity to the New Democrat identity established in the 1992 campaign; the lack of a strong electoral mandate, resistance by a frequently adversarial Congress, and persistent reminders of Clinton's personal character flaws have thus far thwarted his bright political potential; and the problems Clinton has incurred in managing his political resources may carry deeper implications for the American political system itself, perhaps even suggesting thatfrustration and divisiveness have become the norm in a climate of domestic policy polarization and global uncertainty.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Bert A. Rockman
  • Charles O. Jones
  • Colin Campbell
  • Barbara Sinclair
  • David M. O'Brien
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Chatham, NJ
Publication year:
  • 1996


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