August 22, 2006


How We Ended Welfare, Together (BILL CLINTON, 8/22/06, NY Times)

TEN years ago today I signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. By then I had long been committed to welfare reform. As a governor, I oversaw a workfare experiment in Arkansas in 1980 and represented the National Governors Association in working with Congress and the Reagan administration to draft the welfare reform bill enacted in 1988. [...]

On Aug. 22, 1996, after vetoing two earlier versions, I signed welfare reform into law. At the time, I was widely criticized by liberals who thought the work requirements too harsh and conservatives who thought the work incentives too generous. Three members of my administration ultimately resigned in protest. Thankfully, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans voted for the bill because they shouldn’t be satisfied with a system that had led to intergenerational dependency.

The last 10 years have shown that we did in fact end welfare as we knew it, creating a new beginning for millions of Americans.

The tragedy of his presidency is that he didn't use that Republican majority to end SS as we know it as well. With a Republican president you have to get to 60 seats in the Senate to reform it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 22, 2006 10:43 AM

The 'tragedy' of his Presidency was that midnight basketball was a major policy initiative.

Canoodling with the intern, of course, was a feature (as were the pardons).

Seriously, the real tragedy was the paralysis, from almost day one. The major achievements of his tenure were all Republican ideas. The failures were bones thrown to various Democratic groups, bones that could not pass Congress, even when the Dems ran it. Likewise, when Clinton tried to be "presidential" in foreign policy, things went to heck pretty fast. His fawning over Arafat alone was foolish enough.

He wanted to sound and look Presidential - and he usually did. But he just couldn't follow through.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 22, 2006 12:49 PM

"The 'tragedy' of his Presidency was that midnight basketball was a major policy initiative."

Or that he was basking in the glow of the media cheerleading a stock market bubble while al-Qaeda spread unimpeded around the world.

Posted by: andrew at August 22, 2006 1:13 PM

*places tongue in cheek* Why does Social Security need to be reformed? It does exactly what it was set up to do: take lots of money away from the populace and hand it to the politicians to spend as they see fit. It works perfectly!

Posted by: Just John at August 22, 2006 2:01 PM


Nah, it was the school uniforms. Of course, we could all see where that idea likely really came from a couple of years later.

Posted by: Rick T. at August 22, 2006 2:36 PM

Don't forget the 100,000 police on the streets.

Posted by: erp at August 22, 2006 4:48 PM

Clinton, with the MSMs help, is going to revisionist history his presidency into the greatest presidency ever. My prediction - Clinton will assume the worst ever ex-president from Carter down the road.

Posted by: AWW at August 22, 2006 11:22 PM

Actually, he's been an exemplary ex-president, totally unlike Carter, which is why he gets along with the Bush family so well.

Posted by: oj at August 22, 2006 11:33 PM


No, just below average. Remember his remarks at Davos and in Dubai. And, for those who carped about Reagan and his million dollar speech in Japan, Clinton has set the standard for excess, no?

The Bushes have been extraordinarily gracious to him. And to Hillary.

Carter, of course, disgraces himself anew almost every day.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 23, 2006 12:21 AM

He's not required to check his politics at the door and they're different than ours. Big deal.

Posted by: oj at August 23, 2006 12:25 AM

No, but he is 'required' to check his mouth at the water's edge. Unless he wants to be lumped in with Jimmy Carter.

Of course, if Clinton wants the Peace Prize, he's going to have to do something considerably stronger (like a 3-part interview in La Repubblica or The Guardian). Plus, he will also have to start his own foundation (doing who knows what).

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 23, 2006 7:56 AM

No one's ever going to class him with Carter, we like him and he loves America.

Posted by: oj at August 23, 2006 8:28 AM