The name first appeared on a ballot for public office in 1974 during an election for Congress in Arkansas’ Third District, but it didn’t receive enough ticks to win. Before that it had made its rounds in student elections at Georgetown University.
The name has endured scandal and public opinion and, since, has seemed to become increasingly revered each year, but before it could become a household name people had to learn it – and they did during the 52nd United States presidential election in 1992 when the world was introduced to Bill Clinton.
After 12 years of a Republican government, which had won in consecutive landslides over the previous three elections, Clinton’s victory in both the popular and electoral vote ushered the Democrats back into power, defeating incumbent George H. W. Bush, and securing Clinton’s place in history as the 42nd President of the United States.
Clinton was officially inaugurated in 1993 on Jan. 20, and, along with running mate Al Gore, began leading the Clinton administration through two terms, ending in 2001 amidst the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Clinton came into power at a time when the economy was just coming out of a recession and still caught in a serious deficit. Part of his campaign platform was built on assuring voters that he would restore the economy and reverse the recession.
To keep his promises Clinton signed into action the controversial Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which every Republican voted against. Among other things, the act increased taxes for the top 1.2 per cent, but cut taxes for 15 million low-income families.
In 1993, Clinton also established the policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), which was recently repealed by the Obama administration. Prior to DADT the U.S. military explicitly banned gays, lesbians, and bisexuals from serving, and so during the 1992 election all the Democratic hopefuls supported the removal of the ban.
As the policy’s name hints, DADT allowed for gays and lesbians to serve so long as they kept their orientation to themselves. Furthermore, DADT prohibited the military from prying into the personal lives of military personnel. However, it did not protect openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from being discriminated against, as they were still banned from serving.
Clinton received heat from both sides in regards to DADT, because gay rights activists didn’t feel DADT was doing enough, while of course those against DADT felt it would compromise the military.
1993 also saw Clinton ratify the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is a trade agreement between Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.
While NAFTA was the pet project of Clinton’s predecessor, and the heads of each state had already signed the agreement in 1992, it still had to be passed into law in each nation. Bush had hoped to have it wrapped up before he vacated office, but this didn’t pan out, and so it was up to Clinton to see it through.
Clinton modified the agreement with clauses to better serve American interests, while also introducing environmental regulations and guidelines, and then saw it ratified in 1993 so that it could take effect on Jan. 1 of the following year.
Clinton made a huge splash when he became POTUS (President of the United States) in 1993, and items he oversaw during his first year in office are still active today, while others like DADT are now defunct.
Many of today’s youth will likely remember Bill Clinton as one of the presidents they saw on the Simpsons, maybe even as the guy who played saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show. One thing that’s certain is 1993 introduced us to the Clinton family and, in the continuing works of both Bill and his wife, former Secretary of State, Hillary, theirs is a legacy still being written.