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Politics: It's Best to Work Together

Updated on December 6, 2017
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU in 1964. Worked in NYC for 2 years in public relations then as reporter and editor before retiring from The Hour newspaper.

U.S. Senator Al D'Amato

United States Senator Al D'Amato of New York, 1981 to 1999.
United States Senator Al D'Amato of New York, 1981 to 1999. | Source

Clinton Faces Personal Attacks

President Bill Clinton
President Bill Clinton

The election is over, but, judging from the behavior of some conservatives, you wouldn't know it.

Apparently unable to accept the judgment of America's voters, some right wingers have resumed their blind partisanship and their attacks on President Clinton.

Despite some early utterances by Sen. Al D'Amato, R-N.Y., and House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., about ending the consensus-shattering diatribes that began almost before Cllinton first ran for president, the same old tired personal charges -- including Whitewater and Travelgate -- have been resurrected.

And the issue of campaign finance reform, particularly involving foreign sources, had been raised again and stepped up by opponents of the president.

Disingenuous Attacks

I find it hard to understand why Republicans are so obstinate about Clinton in light of his re-election victory. Personal attacks on Clinton obviously didn't work because they are disingenuous.

Americans had four years to watch Clinton in the White House, and they clearly liked what they saw. While he is politically saavy, he displayed none of the characteristics that the GOP, and their standard bearer Bob Dole, tried to lay on him. It hadn't worked for George Bush, either, and that was before Clinton had a chance to show what he could do in the Oval Office.

And, while Clinton tries to fend off the incessant, partisan attacks of Republicans, some liberals, too, are at his heels accusing him of moving too far toward the center -- and even nudging a bit to the right! Improvements in Mexico's economic situation have quieted some criticism about the trade agreement with that country, but Clinton's signing of welfare legislation and his stance on saving Social Security and Medicare have come under widespread criticism.

The whimpering of the Republicans is, unfortunately, to be expected, but Democrats should take a more enlightened view.


Sure, the welfare legislation was far from what Democrats and anyone with compassion might have wanted, but does anyone seriously think that a Democratic president can get 100 percent of what he wants when the American people chose to elect a majority of Republicans in both houses of Congress?

Clinton promised he will make an effort to fix the welfare legislation. While it's too late for many who already are suffering from the effects of the welfare changes, the future may hold something better for others. As long as the GOP holds its majority in Congress we can expect they will call many of the shots on Capital Hill. The president is not all powerful, and I'm sure we wouldn't want him to be.

Social Security Targeted

Conservatives are continuing their efforts to dismantle Social Security and Medicare -- now proposing to revise the way we measure the Consumer Price Index. The fiscal realities of the situation obviously call for changes, but there are ways to fix the program without draconian methods being pushed by fiscal conservatives.

One proposal for fixing Social Security has great promise; Creating retirement accounts for each worker in which his contributions, in lieu of taxes, would be held in his name until retirement. This would not be privatization, but rather personalization.

More importantly, let's not do anything rash!

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Jan. 25, 1997.

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    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I'm concerned about Obama's apparent shift to the center, i.e., to the right, in an apparent effort to win votes in contested states. I sure hope, Ralph, that he comes out of the corner fighting, not only for Social Security but for many other issues. So far he has been a pussy cat. Privatization would, be definition, end Social Security as a government program. Why doesn't anybody say so?

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      McCain is on the record of wanting to "save" Social Security by privatizing it. Obama should be nailing him on this one.

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks for your comment, N1rainbolluv6colur. President Bush and the Republican leadership has ignored the plight of the poor and middle class for the past eight years at a very heavy price. Tilting every government benefit toward the wealthy while, at the same time, acting irresponsibly in foreign affairs has destabilized both the country's economy and its leadership position in the world. President Clinton left us a budget surplus and relative peace. Now is the time to reverse this trend with a more caring attitude about the needs of the poor in the United States and throughout the world.

    • N1rainboluv6colur profile image

      N1rainboluv6colur 9 years ago from newhere Ny city

      That was great and well needed at this time when we are face with financial hardships of all forms.He tried to do alot if memory works favorly to me ,but like you said any caring person could have come up with ways designed to help not hinder and that what those laws have done. Iam living proof .We stress the importance and value education is and in turn because of those laws pealize people for seeking hihger educatioin which would then guarantee having to re- enroll on the TANF LINE.9your gonna disagree,but you have to experience welfare and the effects of slim to no choices.