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Clinton and Political Promises

June 26, 1993

* Robert J. Samuelson's "The Politics of Overpromise" (Commentary, June 10) hints that there is a big constituency out there for the plain unvarnished truth. The truth is we don't want to hear the truth.

We sincerely believe that if those other people get their taxes raised, their government benefits cut and their military bases closed, our budget problems can be solved.

We're convinced all we have to do to keep our country on the right track is to fully intend to send $15 to United We Stand and tell a pollster we wished we'd elected Ross Perot.

Politicians never have problems because of the lies they tell--only for the truths we're forced to face.



* Aside from a great deal of unsubstantiated anti-Clinton rhetoric, I could locate only two statements of marginal fact supporting Samuelson's conjecture that "Clinton lies." The first was a campaign statement in which Clinton backed away from supporting mandatory requirements for increasing automobile fuel economy standards from 27.5 miles per gallon to 40 miles per gallon in favor of the "goal" of increasing fuel economy. The second was Clinton's campaign statement that universal health insurance could be provided without new taxes.

Considering that Clinton, when he took office, found that Bush & Co. had been lying to the American people about the size of the national debt to the tune of $50 billion per year, this seems like awfully pretty stuff. But then, nothing appears too petty for journalism these days, especially when it comes to Clinton-bashing.

Actually, I think Clinton's been pretty straight with us--it's just that the truth is not very pleasant after all this time of hearing nothing but lies.



* It ain't Clinton who's shrinking through overpromise; it's the media who are catching on to his real size.



* While George Will, David Broder et al. are wringing their hands over the "failed" presidency, President Clinton has congressional Democrats and Republicans vying to outdo one another in cutting the budget deficit, continues steady progress toward a national health plan, and refuses to let us get sucked into Europe's centuries-old quagmire. We can stand some more of this kind of failure.


Las Vegas

* Clinton's naivete about the "ways of Washington" (stubborn Senate, hoary House, pouty press) proves how much of an outsider he is--and isn't that why we elected him?



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