As the world’s economic foundation appears to be collapsing on every street corner, one cannot help but sit and reflect upon the past 16 years of government, primarily in the once super power, that is the U.S. of A. Where did the failings begin and who has the most smoke surrounding them? Does overall failed policy – domestic, foreign, economic – translate into the collapse of the house of cards?
While Bill Clinton’s tenure did have its shady spots, his initiatives and enacted bills were ones that not many could fault. Toward the beginning of his first term, the Democratic Congress and Senate (258:176 and 57:43 respectively – http://www.senate.gov) helped with many of these initiatives, yet some will argue that it wasn’t until his second term, supported by a Republican Congress and Senate (223:211 and 55:45) whereby he was able to fully broker collaboration between the two parties. Among some of the more notable initiatives enacted, were the Brady Bill (waiting period of 5 days when purchasing a handgun), the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell act (pushing to actively allow openly gay people into the military – he lost), Executive Order 13011 – ordering all Federal Agencies to make use of all technology available thus allowing more information to be disseminated to the general populous and enabling the World Wide Web to flourish, NAFTA Ratification and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. His ideals were of an open and inclusive America, and he fought hard to attain them, remaining loyal to his prized ideal of the separation of church and state.
In 1995, the Republican Congress and Senate tried to push for a diversion of funds into private sector schools, as well as decrease women’s rights with regards to abortions (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1374/is_/ai_72274417 ) and Clinton defended the separation staunchly, enacting several vetoes in order to keep the religious right out of the law making process. By all accounts, Clinton can quote scripture, yet in a rather unique vain, he decided to keep its influence out of his government. His ability to work across party lines was uncanny, and he was able to get a lot done in the process, even if he did have to veto the odd initiative (the bill can still pass with a 2/3 rd majority in the house).
President George W. Bush is another story though. His continual disregard for the separation of church and state may have been his biggest detriment, and one in which the entire Republican party must now meet its maker. While he had one of the longest running House and Senate majorities in tune with his own Republican party, he was unable to effectively reach out to anyone in order to enact new and fresh initiatives. His cowboy tendencies, coupled with his born again jesus-dom, placed him more as a leader of a southern church congregation than the all mighty powerful leader of the free world. His continual focus on the church allowed religious beliefs to pervade the educational, military and healthcare systems, threatening everything in its wake if those there-in were not of the same beliefs.
In a time, between 2001 and 2007, where the government should have been getting bills passed and working on new legislation, little was accomplished, and the country slipped further and further into debt, amassing more than 11.3 trillion dollars, a 100% increase from early 2000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_w._bush ). On July 19, 2006, Bush exercised his first power of veto – within a Republican Senate – when he vetoed a bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:S5 ). The scientific community became incensed. Time after scientific time, Bush’s policies attempted to silence science as he tried to mask Intelligent Design in order to weigh-in on Evolution, misplaced the definition of birds, rats and mice (laboratory animals) as animals worthy of protection (http://discovermagazine.com/2003/jan/politics/?searchterm=bush ) , and failed to buy in to Kyoto or Global Warming, stating that there was not enough proof within the scientific community as yet. A fact that the scientists vigorously oppose (http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/02/02/climate.change.report/ ) .
While Bush junior was trying to stifle the rights of the individual, he was sending thousands of young men and women to the Middle East to fight a unjust and illegal war, resulting in the deaths of 5000 plus Americans and tens of thousands of civilians, whilst targeting a regime that had little to do with the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. While a few frozen embryos were not allowed to die, thousands of soldiers were. Another policy in his ‘act like Jesus’ plan.
Just as the wide receiver fails who takes his eye off the ball, the Bush Administration has failed miserably and led to the downturn on the key economic fronts. Had they kept their eye on the policies and initiatives that matter most to the average American, such as Healthcare and the Economy, they may have had a better report card at the end of their 8 years. To say that Clinton had anything to do with this current economic climate is ludicrous. While he may have had his own personal issues to deal with, he came nowhere close to forcing us all to swallow what Bush did.