Willam J Clinton
A paradox? A paradox. Not as in Gilbert and Sullivan but as in the productive yet frequently disquieting years of the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton from January 20, 1993, to January 20, 2001. The election of 1992 followed the two term presidency of Ronald Reagan and the one term of George H.W. Bush. Reagan’s cheery, optimistic and overt leadership was well received. The economy rebounded from a recession early in his presidency, and he was deemed by many a major cause of the demise of the Soviet Union. However, the size of government had not contracted during those years as Reagan especially had demanded. Meanwhile, the federal deficit expanded. George H.W. Bush had high approval ratings after the successful defense of Kuwait and the brief invasion and defeat of Iraq. But the weakening state of the economy and the belief of many voters that Bush was out of touch with them significantly diminished his popularity as the election approached. A general malaise once again spread across the country.
William Jefferson Blyth III was born in Hope, Arkansas, three months after his father was killed in an automobile accident. He and his mother lived with her parents, with his grandmother taking a strong hand in the raising of Billy. His mother, a nurse, left her son with her parents to obtain a degree in anesthesia nursing in New Orleans, leaving her son under the very disciplined supervision of her mother who taught Billy to read by age three. Soon after her graduation, his mother married Roger Clinton when Bill was four, and some time later they moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Clinton took his step-father’s name as his own when he was in high school. It was a troubled childhood with his mother being abused by her alcoholic husband and Bill coming to her rescue. This kind of situation may have led Clinton as an adult to become a conciliator by nature and to avoid confrontation where possible. Bill was an excellent student, good natured, popular, a class leader and at 16 already 6’3” tall and 200 pounds. His academic achievements led to his election as a senator at the Boys Nation meeting in Washington where he was photographed shaking hands with President Kennedy. This thrilling experience was one of several that led Clinton to seek a career in politics and to the beginnings of his thoughts about being President of the United States one day.