Highlights & Quotes
The Age of Clinton: America In The 1990s

Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish  he bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned….

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 1848

 

For a new breeze is blowing, and a world refreshed by freedom seems reborn; for in man’s heart, if not in fact, the day of the dictator is over.

George H.W. Bush, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1989

 

“I refuse to be part of a generation that celebrates the death of Communism abroad with the loss of the American Dream at home.”

Bill Clinton, announcement speech, October 3, 1991

 

We offer our people a new choice based on old values. We offer opportunity. We demand responsibility. We build an American community again.

Bill Clinton, Nomination Acceptance Speech, July 16,1992, New York

 

A professor named Carroll Quigley … said to us that America was the greatest Nation in history because our people had always believed in two things–that tomorrow can be better than today and that every one of us has a personal moral responsibility to make it so.

Bill Clinton, Nomination Acceptance Speech, July 16, 1992, New York

 

That’s what democracy is about. Read the United States Constitution. It’s about honorable compromise. And that is not weakness if you’re making progress.

President Bill Clinton, Interview with the Wisconsin media, July 20, 1993

 

There are changes we can make from the outside in; that’s the job of the president and the Congress and the governors and the mayors and the social service agencies. And then there’s some changes we’re going to have to make from the inside out, or the others won’t matter.

Bill Clinton, Memphis, November 13, 1993

 

And I think what they were saying is that the Republicans did a good job of defining us as the party of Government, and that’s not a good place to be. I think that was a clear message that they were sending in the election.

Bill Clinton, The President’s News Conference, November 9, 1994

 

 [T]he American people are capable of enduring a lot of difficulty and a lot of tumult and upheaval if they understand it. What makes people insecure is when they feel like they’re lost in the funhouse. They’re in a room where something can hit them from any direction any time….

[I]f you understand what’s happening to you, you can make … not just changes but necessary psychological adaptations.”

Bill Clinton, Aboard Air Force One, September 22, 1995

 

There is a group who believe that our problems are primarily personal and cultural. Cultural is basically a word that means, in this context, there are a whole lot of persons doing the same bad  thing. [Laughter]And that’s what people-and then if everybody would just sort of straighten up and fly right, why, things would be hunky-dory. And why don’t they do it?

Bill Clinton, Remarks at Georgetown University, July 6, 1995

 

The era of big government is over. But we cannot go back in time when our citizens were left to end for themselves.

Bill Clinton, State of the Union Address, January 23, 1996

 

America demands and deserves big things from us-and nothing big ever came from being small.

Bill Clinton, Second Inaugural Address, January 20, 1997

 

 “…what we owe the Little Rock Nine is to do our part in this time to deal with the new problems of this time and the unresolved problems of their time, so that when our time is done, at least our kids have something else to worry about.” Bill Clinton, Remarks at a Candlelight Vigil Honoring the Little Rock Nine in Little Rock,

September 27, 1997

 

Welcome to the age of "un-innocence." No one has breakfast at Tiffany's, and no one has affairs to remember. Instead, we have breakfast at 7:00 a.m. and affairs we try to forget as quickly as possible. Self-protection and closing the deal are paramount. Cupid has flown the co-op. How the hell did we get into this mess?

Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City, Season 1, Episode 1, 1998

 

ow that the Senate has fulfilled its constitutional responsibility, bringing this process to a conclusion, I want to say again to the American People how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events.

Bill Clinton, February 12, 1989

 

We are today more tolerant, more decent, more humane, and more united. Now, that’s the purpose of prosperity.

Bill Clinton, Farewell to the Democratic National Convention, August 14, 2000

 

 

Clinton’s Samurai warriors answered every attack, frequently turning accusations onto the enemy. They seized on the smallest discrepancy to obscure the most obvious truth.

1993

 

Hillary Clinton already functioned as “Chief of Staff-in-waiting,” according to the budget director Leon

Panetta. She concluded meandering meetings. She disciplined her husband and his staffers. She was

more exacting and often pricklier than her gregarious husband. Bill Clinton’s outbursts were like

summer thunderclaps, he “would scream and then within ten seconds he was back, How ya doing?”

Panetta recalls. Hillary Clinton’s tantrums were more like Category Three hurricanes, doing extensive

damage that lingered. One politico, Joan Baggett, would recall sitting in meetings with the First Lady,

thinking, “Please don’t let her yell at me.”

The generational dynamics may have made journalists feel extra-competitive and critical, jealous

of a peer who became president.

It was one of modern America’s great mysteries. The 1960s strengthened so many rights, provided so

many freedoms, and yet, ultimately, eroded so much of America’s quality of life.

1996

 

Hillary Clinton publicized studies showing that divorce harms kids, drugs are destructive, promiscuity is degrading, and “every child” needs an “intact, dependable family.”

1998

 

The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said: “I knew he was a charming rogue with an appealing agenda, but I didn’t think he was a reckless idiot with an appealing agenda.”

© Gil Troy - all rights reserved

 

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