Expect Progressive Era, Hillary Tells Graduates

By Scully, Sean | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 24, 1996 | Go to article overview

Expect Progressive Era, Hillary Tells Graduates


Scully, Sean, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


The United States may be on the verge of a new era of progressive government, similar to the New Deal era, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton told graduates at the University of Maryland yesterday.

A small group boycotted her keynote speech at the school's commencement ceremony, where Mrs. Clinton compared the country today to the way it was in the late 19th century, when, she said, fear of change produced "reactionaries and extremists."

"It's no surprise that in this time of great changes, many long for simple answers, find it easy to slap on labels and retreat into ideology," Mrs. Clinton said, without noting which groups she meant.

In the early 20th century, she said, presidents such as Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt "won out over hate and intolerance and created a new politics of inclusion."

In the 21st century, she said, the country "should not be debating whether to govern ourselves, but how; not whether we should have government programs, but what kind."

Mrs. Clinton alluded to President Clinton only once during the speech, after calling on the students to reject stereotypes: apathetic youths, self-serving baby boomers, bleeding-heart liberals and heartless conservatives.

"If you're the sitting president, you're all of the above depending on what day it is," Mrs. Clinton said, drawing laughter from the audience. "If you're the wife of a sitting president, well, you just better make sure your hair is in place. …

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