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Galbraith on President Clinton

The Galbraiths with President Clinton, when Ken received the Presidential Medal of Honor

Before 1992 was over, American politics took a dramatic turn for what to Galbraith seemed the better, a turn that suggested the culture of contentment might not be permanent after all. That November, voters rejected the incumbent President George H.W. Bush and elected a Democrat to the White House, only the second time they had done so in almost thirty years. Twenty years earlier, Bill Clinton had toiled, like Galbraith, for George McGoverns candidacy (as head of the campaign in Texas), and in the 1992 primaries he campaigned on a platform that seemed at sharp odds with the conservative Republican agenda of the Reagan and Bush administrations, its essence provided by campaign manager James Carvilles legendary phrase, Its the economy, stupid. Governor Clinton himself promised to put people first, and declared that in seeking universal health care, lifelong learning opportunities, major investments in public works, welfare reform, economic expansion, and a tax system in which the rich will pay their fair share, he was fighting for the forgotten middle class. Here, finally, was a Democrat Galbraith could embrace. Asked shortly after the election whether Clinton might be favorably compared to John F. Kennedy, Galbraith replied, The greatest thing they share is that they represent a younger generation taking power, and Im all for that, bringing a new group of eager people to Washington, people who regard government as an opportunity and not a burden.