Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Clinton Critics Should Give the President More Time

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Clinton Critics Should Give the President More Time

Article excerpt

WE all knew Ronald Reagan; and, certainly, Bill Clinton is no Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan is that amiable actor-president who told good stories but had only a vague idea of what was going on.

That's the way a lot of Clinton supporters portray a man who, as they see it, bamboozled the voters into keeping him in office for two terms.

This is not to be a paean of praise for Reagan, whose detachment from details did get him into trouble in the Iran-contra dust-up and whose privatization of humanitarianism never reached out far enough to the needy.

But Reagan came into the presidency with two clear objectives: to stimulate the economy through tax cuts, and to make sure the United States held the military edge over the Soviets. With single-mindedness he got the job done. iYplosive, 100-day action period" that would be "the most productive period in modern history."

To achieve this goal Clinton aides let it be known that he would use Reagan as his model in his early dealings with Congress.

Well, Clinton is, indeed, stirring things up. There's a health-care program that is supposed to include everyone; there's an aid program for Russia; there's campaign-spending reform; there's a national service program; there's protection for the environment, and on and on - all on Clinton's agenda. And no one can say that he (and the first lady) aren't giving their all to see that they get all of this done.

Yet at the 100-day mark Clinton had set for himself he clearly hadn't delivered.

I don't think the 100-day test should apply. Franklin D. Roosevelt was able to work marvels during that period of time. But the climate was right for marvels; the American people, suffering from the Great Depression, were crying out for help. There's been no period as severe as that since Roosevelt.

Clinton's 100-day pledge may have been what is sometimes called "campaign rhetoric," to be excused by some observers because of being uttered during the heat of political combat when such excesses do sometimes occur. …

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