Election 2000: What We'll Remember

Great deeds or unkept promises? Economic triumph or moral failure? The Clinton era is in the eye of the beholder

James MacGregor Burns Presidential scholar

Clinton has been a superb "transactional" leader--that is, in making deals, navigating through the budget process, negotiating with opposition and allies. He's done this domestically, but also internationally, where he's been amazingly active and made an enormous commitment, just in terms of travel alone.

The problem comes when an issue arises above the everyday budgetmaking and the like, and big work has to be done. This is where the Clinton Administration has failed. In certain areas, he and his colleagues have not risen above the transactional level. They've done it rhetorically, in laying out great ideas...

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