Ranked #18: America's middle class greatly benefited from Clintons policies. Managed one of the greatest levels of economic prosperity since the early 1960s.
Summary: I have always had the impression that Clinton really enjoyed politics. Especially campaigning and talking to voters. In large settings he could talk for hours while at the same time quoting statistical details. In smaller groups, he can be very convincing and compelling. He can be folksy when needed and then less so depending on his audience. He was somewhat talented in the art of compromise. Clinton would often be able to make people on the opposite side of the issue feel as though they had his support. He has the ability to feel empathy towards people, almost taking himself out of a situation. He is known to be able to maneuver through many tricky political situations to reach any goal he is focused on - like a sports team making in-game adjustments to finally win a contest.
Bio: Clinton stands at 6’ 2” and weighs anywhere between 205 and 230 pounds. He has blue-grey eyes and thick wavy hair. He has had a history of heartburn since the 80s, sometimes so bad that he would lose his voice due to acid getting into his throat. After years of elevated cholesterol, he underwent emergency coronary bypass surgery in 2004 after complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath.
Clinton enjoys swimming, golfing, basketball, cards and Trivial Pursuit. He is known to be a wizard at crossword puzzles. He plays saxophone pretty well when it comes to jazz music. He is also known to read multiple books at one time. People have been impressed with his ability to read a book and carry a conversation at the same time. He likes to collect porcelain objects. He drinks very little outside of an occasional beer.
Despite being the first Democrat since FDR to serve two terms as President, Bill Clinton as we know him would not be Bill Clinton had it not been for his controversy. He was impeached by the House of Representatives for lying about an affair he had with a White House intern. Lucky for him, the economy was strong and the majority of the American people didn’t care about his marital issues. In fact many Republican Congressmen lost their seats in the following election because the American people felt they should have been doing something positive for the American people.
As far as domestic policy was concerned, he lowered the deficit, drove down unemployment and established a working welfare reform. He failed in his attempt to reform the national healthcare system, which cost him heavily politically. He also established a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military, which didn’t quite please anybody as it turns out.
In foreign affairs, Clinton was not so energetic. The Cold War has just ended, and you could say that America for the first time in roughly 50 years did not have a focused agenda. There were military actions in Somalia, Rwanda and Haiti. Because of the outcome of these missions, Clinton was considered ill-prepared. Both the world community and Clinton were criticized during this time.
Scholars are now drawing opinions of what Clinton’s presidency meant. One thing to note is that he reinvigorated a unified Democratic party that had taken a big hit after the Reagan years. In fact, you could say that he was the first Democrat be the target of extreme right-wing conservatives, a phenomenon that continues today. He will be known for the economical successes that helped so many ordinary Americans and at the same time left a hefty surplus. He always stood his ground against Congress and one can say that had it not been for his political struggles during his second term, he could have accomplished a lot more.
Pros: North American Free Trade Agreement. A prosperous and strong economy.
Cons: Failed at healthcare reform. Whitewater scandal. Impeachment proceedings.
Born: August 19, 1946 in Hope, Arkansas
Term: January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001 (2 terms)
Political Party: Democrat
Education: Georgetown University (1968), attended Oxford University (1968–1970), Yale Law School (1973)