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Credit Where It’s Due–Clinton on Welfare Reform & NAFTA

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 5:15 pm - August 11, 2006.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,National Politics,War On Terror

In 1996, congressional Republicans helped ensure President Clinton’s reelection by compromising with him on welfare reform. Although that Democrat had intended to veto the initial GOP proposal, he sat down with congressional leaders and got them to modify their plan and come up with a package that Republicans could support and that this Democratic president could sign. The final plan did not mollify some of President Clinton’s critics in his party, but it did allow him to fulfill in 1992 campaign pledge to “end welfare as we know it.”

As a result, Clinton could point to a success while burnishing his moderate credentials in his reelection campaign that fall. And Bob Dole, the 1996 GOP nominee, had a hard time coming up with a domestic-issue agenda to rally support for his candidacy.

While helping Clinton fulfill this campaign promise hurt the GOP’s presidential prospects in that election year, many Republicans worked hard to pass the legislation as it was the right thing for the country. That bill helped bring down the deficit in the 1990s and helped keep our economy strong.

Three years before Congress passed this sweeping welfare reform, a majority of House Republicans (then the minority party) joined a minority of House Democrats in helping Clinton fulfill another campaign promise, passing NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement).

While I’m no fan of Bill Clinton, I give him a lot of credit on these two issues, particularly NAFTA. Had George H.W. Bush won reelection in 1992, he would have faced a Democratic Congress and would not have been able to persuade enough Democratic members to buck the unions (opposed to NAFTA) and vote for the initiative. Clinton used his charm and political skills to rally his fellow Democrats to vote for an agreement about which many were skeptical. That free trade agreement helped strengthen the economic recovery which began in the last quarter of 1992.

Thanks to President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, these two bills, welfare reform and NAFTA, passed Congress and, with his signature, became law. While some Republicans won’t give him credit for these successes, few, at the time of their enactment, used the occasion of this accomplishment to lambaste him on other issues. That saw these bills as examples of bipartisan cooperation in the national interest.

In a subsequent post, I will relate this to President Bush and the War on Terror.

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8 Comments

  1. “In a subsequent post, I will relate this to President Bush and the War on Terror.” Well it better be!! There better not be any praise of a former president unless it is in service of praising the present president even more.

    Clinton, after all, hates gay people and America, and really shouldn’t be praised for anything. But let’s see how this makes George W. Bush look good.

    Comment by sean — August 12, 2006 @ 5:26 am - August 12, 2006

  2. Well no, not thanks to Clinton. Clinton had no intention of ever passing any welfare reform. He didn’t compromise. He had it passed over his veto.

    Comment by rightwingprof — August 12, 2006 @ 11:37 am - August 12, 2006

  3. #2 – Right on, RWP. Just like he claimed he never signed DOMA, but it still became law because he didn’t sign it in 10 days per the Constitution.

    That would be Article I, Section 7 for those of you lower-case types who are tempted to question everything and demand cites or links.

    Of course, this was probably the only part of the Constitution that Slick Willie actually abided by…as far as we know.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — August 12, 2006 @ 6:59 pm - August 12, 2006

  4. #3 Peter Hughes — August 12, 2006 @ 6:59 pm – August 12, 2006

    Just like he (Clinton) claimed he never signed DOMA, but it still became law because he didn’t sign it in 10 days per the Constitution.

    Did he actually claim that? If he did, he must have been in a drug-induced fog when he claimed that. Even HRC admits that Clinton signed DOMA.

    Or, maybe, you….no I won’t go there.

    Comment by raj — August 13, 2006 @ 6:23 am - August 13, 2006

  5. #2 rightwingprof — August 12, 2006 @ 11:37 am – August 12, 2006

    Clinton had no intention of ever passing any welfare reform. He didn’t compromise. He had it passed over his veto.

    Sadly, no, you are incorrect. Clinton did, indeed compromise on welfare reform. And he signed onto it. From your buddies at Volokh.com: President Bill Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, better known as “welfare reform,” on Aug. 22 of that year.

    Facts. They’re terrible things to ignore. They just might come back to haunt you.

    Comment by raj — August 13, 2006 @ 6:24 am - August 13, 2006

  6. After he had vetoed welfare reform. He had no intention of passing it ever. It was nothing more than a lie to get elected. He only signed the bill because he knew he had no choice.

    Get your facts straight.

    Comment by rightwingprof — August 13, 2006 @ 10:07 am - August 13, 2006

  7. clinton was outspoken on the need for welfare reform. you can see all his radio addresses at the whitehouse website. nice spin

    NAFTA, on the other hand, has been a flop. proof: our continuing illegal immigration problem, which republicans all of the sudden don’t care about anymore, as lebanon / israel has caught their fancy.

    Comment by lester — August 13, 2006 @ 11:28 am - August 13, 2006

  8. #6 rightwingprof — August 13, 2006 @ 10:07 am – August 13, 2006

    You aren’t Robert NoFacts in disquise, are you?

    Comment by raj — August 15, 2006 @ 12:10 am - August 15, 2006

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