Politics in Recent Years 1992-2000
The Candidates President George H. W. Bush, a Republican, sought a second term. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, a Democrat, pledged to address the nation’s economic problems. Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot, an independent candidate, entered the race out of frustration over government economic policies. The 1992 Election
How did the campaigns of the three candidates during the 1992 presidential election differ? • Republican George H. W. Bush focused on: • Family values • President Bush’s past success in foreign policy (Persian Gulf War victory) • Independent H. Ross Perot promised: • Consider the country’s needs • A Washington “outsider” (like Jimmy Carter) • Democrat Bill Clinton promised: • To end the economic recession • Deal with economic problems • Address problems in the healthcare system
Economic Reform Clinton tried to follow a middle course in dealing with the economy. To reduce the deficit, Clinton proposed a budget including both spending cuts and tax increases. Congress passed the budget, but just barely. Neither the spending cuts nor the tax increases were well received by the public. Clinton’s First Term
The Republicans’ Contract with America • During the 1994 midterm elections, Georgia Representative Newt Gingrich called on Republican candidates to endorse a Contract with America: • a pledge to scale back the role of the federal government • eliminate some regulations • cut taxes • balance the budget.
Congress Versus the President • During the 1994 election, Republicans won majorities in both houses of Congress. • They proposed cuts in many social services to balance the budget. • The debate turned from whether or not to balance the budget to how to balance it.
The Government Is Shut Down • At the end of 1995, Clinton and Gingrich were unable to compromise on budget issues. • As a result, budget allocations expired without reauthorization, leading to: • the temporary closure of government offices • disruption of services to many Americans.
Welfare Reform • In August 1996, Congress and Clinton agreed on a sweeping reform of the nation’s welfare system. • The new law: • eliminated federal guarantees of cash assistance • gave more authority to states • placed limits on the length of time Americans could receive welfare.
Clinton’s Second Term • Clinton won reelection in 1996, defeating Republican Bob Dole and Ross Perot of the newly created Reform Party.
Clinton Popular: 1998 Budget Surplus • A strong economy improved Clinton’s popularity. In 1998, the government achieved its first budget surplus since 1969.
Whitewater • Charges of scandal continued during Clinton’s second term. In what came to be known as the Whitewater affair, Clinton was accused of having taken part in fraudulent loans and land deals in Arkansas years earlier.
The Impeachment of Bill Clinton: 1998 • A further scandal arose when Clinton denied a sexual relationship with a White House intern - Monica Lewinsky • In December 1998, the House voted to impeach Clinton on charges of • Perjury • obstruction of justice. • In the Senate trial which followed, Clinton was acquitted
The 2000 Election • The mixture of a strong economy and a scandal-ridden presidency promised a close presidential election in 2000. Vice President Al Gore ran for the Democrats, while the Republicans nominated Texas Governor George W. Bush. • Pre-election polls showed Gore and Bush virtually tied. On election night, votes in several states were too close to call. • One undecided state, Florida, could give either candidate enough electoral votes to win the presidency. Lawyers, politicians, and the media swarmed to Florida to monitor a recount of votes there. • A series of court battles eventually reached the Supreme Court, which voted 5–4 to stop the Florida recounts, awarding the state’s electoral votes to Bush. • Although Gore had won the popular vote, Bush won the election by 271 electoral votes to Gore’s 266.
Change in Presidential Style Bush’s approach to the presidency differed from that of Clinton. Bush preferred a more formal atmosphere in the White House and began keeping a stricter schedule than the former President. Advisors, staff members, and the Vice President, Dick Cheney, were granted more responsibility for setting policy under Bush’s administration. The George W. Bush Administration
Bush on Domestic Policy • Early in his presidency, Bush received congressional approval for a tax cut that granted most taxpayers a $300 rebate. • Bush also proposed an education reform bill that called for redirected funding and increased accountability from schools.