American politics journal

Welfare Kabuki at the Democratic Convention
by Jeff Koopersmith

August 25, 1996 -- NEW YORK ( -- If you are holding your breath, anxious for a more interesting Democratic Party National Convention, don't bother.

However, you should look out for the liberal wing of the Party to register protest over the President's signature on the Welfare Reform Bill.

Clue: watch Dick Gephardt (especially during interviews) distance himself from the President by telling people he would have vetoed the bill. Gephardt, who will most likely face off against Al Gore in 2000, will take the only national audience he'll get during the next four years to set the stage for re-approaching black and other liberal minority blocs after they desert the White House this fall in numbers that may be shocking to resident White House polling guru Dick Morris.

And Rev. Jesse Jackson is almost sure to say something derogatory about Clinton placing his signature on a bill that will send the poor scurrying to find jobs that are not there -- at least for them.

President Clinton is all but saying that he would have vetoed the bill were it not for the fact that he could not take a chance doing so given that the White House knows it faces a tighter-than-expected race in November.

And take a second look at the remarks he made after signing the bill -- and will make, particularly at the convention. The President will underscore the fact that he will seek to remedy ALL the flaws in it during the next Congressional session. So, the double message will be,"Hey -- I only signed it to get elected and I'll do whatever it takes to 'unsign['it later."

Voters will pick up on this and will not like it.

One problem is that he may be powerless to do so until next summer, when minorities and their leaders rise up against the establishment -- sick of being the whipping boy for a Congress that thinks funding the Pentagon is more important than the quality of life for ghetto kids.


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ISSN No. 1523-1690