In 1991-92 I guess was the time that I started getting into politics to the point that I was actually following the news about it. I was 16 and a sophomore in high school and I saw a speech I believe on C-SPAN. I became a political junky pretty early in life and I was actually watching C-SPAN and saw a speech from then Governor Bill Clinton from Arkansas. And he was talking about how we could make college more affordable in America, an issue we are still talking about twenty-years later.
And Governor Clinton was talking about an idea called AMERICORE, where people would get tax credits, or be able to go to college at no financial cost to them, if they serve their country. They work in community service, join the military, become a teacher, work in law enforcement, become a doctor etc. Another words be able to go to college if they give back and serve their country. And this program that was enacted shortly after he became President in 1993 and he was able to inspire thousands if not millions of Americans to volunteer for their country. And in return would be able to go to college and when I heard this speech, it gave me the sense that Bill Clinton was a winner, a Democrat who could actually get elected President of the United States.
Listening to Bill Clinton’s speech and following his presidential campaign, gave me the idea that Bill Clinton was a different Democrat. Someone whose called a New Democrat, someone who doesn’t just believe in growing the Federal Government and raising new taxes to pay for it. And by doing this, that would automatically solve whatever problem the program was intended to solve. But that you had to make the Federal Government work and be able to reform or eliminate things in the Federal Government that wasn’t working.
That Clinton’s presidential campaign was about the people not government. How do you make government work for the people, so it empowers the people who need to be empowered. Not growing government to take care of people but using it in a way so the people who need it can take care of themselves instead, which are two different concepts. Americans were looking for a change in 1992, that’s clear with a bad economy, lack of economic and gob growth.
Americans saw President Bush as out of touch and not up to the job of turning the country around and were looking for a change. But weren’t sure they were ready to turn it over to the Democrats. People who have been stereotyped as big government tax and spenders and weren’t interested in seeing new tax hikes. But want to go back to work and take care of themselves. And what they got from Bill Clinton was a new Democratic voice, someone who could talk about liberalism and communicate it in a way that made it about people and not government.
Bill Clinton had this saying that people who collected public assistance will no longer be able to get it for free in a Clinton Administration. That people on public assistance were going to be expected to use that time to prepare themselves to go to work and serve their communities. Bill Clinton’s political hero is Jack Kennedy, same as mind along with Bill Clinton and a few other people. And of course one of President Kennedy’s famous lines is, ask not what government can do for you, but what you can do for your country. And I believe Bill Clinton took that to heart and made that a big part of his presidential campaign and a bigger part of his Presidency and it worked very well.