November 5, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry that Defined a Generation

The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry that Defined a Generation

Steven M. Gillon

Language: English

Pages: 368

ISBN: 0195322789

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Most Americans saw President Bill Clinton and Speaker Newt Gingrich as staunch foes--"the polar extremes of Pennsylvania Avenue." But as Steven Gillon reveals in The Pact, these powerful adversaries formed a secret alliance in 1997, a pact that would have rocked the political landscape, had it not foundered in the wake of the Lewinsky scandal.

A fascinating look at politics American-style, The Pact offers a riveting account of two of America's most charismatic and influential leaders, detailing both their differences and their striking similarities, and highlighting the profound and lasting impact the tumultuous 1960s had on both their personal and political lives. With the cooperation of both President Clinton and Speaker Gingrich, interviews with key players who have never before spoken about their experiences, along with unprecedented access to Gingrich's private papers, Gillon not only offers a behind-the-scenes look at the budget impasse and the government shutdown in 1995--the famous face-off between Clinton and Gingrich--but he also reveals how the two moved closer together after 1996--closer than anyone knew. In particular, the book illuminates their secret efforts to abandon the liberal and conservative wings of their own parties and strike a bi-partisan deal to reform the "third rail of American politics"--Social Security and Medicare. That potentially groundbreaking effort was swept away by the highly charged reaction to the Lewinsky affair, ending an initiative that might have transformed millions of American lives.

Packed with compelling new revelations about two of the most powerful and intriguing figures of our time, this book will be must reading for everyone interested in politics or current events.

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older Americans and the future of America.”15 Publicly, the president remained noncommittal on private accounts and refused to endorse a specific reform proposal. He learned from the health care debate that he would be more effective if he focused on outlining the parameters of the debate but avoided specifics. In keeping with his approach, he laid out five principles: strengthening the program’s guarantee of core benefits; maintaining universality and fairness; shielding benefits from market

brief period, Clinton and Gingrich realized that their own legacies, and the future success of their respective parties, required reaching beyond their bases to build a moderate, centrist political coalition. Like the generation they represented, both men were moving into the sunset years of their public careers, hoping to leave behind a constructive legacy for the future. Instead, they will likely be remembered not for their quiet efforts to forge bipartisanship, but for their actions, intended

facing Social Security and Medicare.”6 Both men were ready to take on the political risk of tackling the infamous “third rail” of American politics. Clinton was looking for a bold initiative in his final years that would define his presidency, answer critics who claimed he had failed to make a lasting imprint on the office, and encourage historians to rank him among the nation’s “great” presidents. For his part, Gingrich was also thinking about how history would remember him. His idol was Henry

It is likely that the need to raise large sums of money influenced the militant partisanship that came to define Gingrich’s rhetoric. He came out of the 1982 campaign season more than $30,000 in debt—a large sum for a congressional campaign at the time. Gingrich instructed his staff to develop a more aggressive direct mail campaign, to organize “get acquainted” breakfast meetings, and to reach out to political action committees.25 Conservatives had discovered that subtlety was not an effective

Republicans needed to depict their opponents, and the Democratic Party in general, as corrupt. “The U.S. House of Representatives is dominated by an increasingly corrupt, illegitimate left-wing machine whose values have been defeated in every Presidential election since 1964,” he wrote. Before he could take on the Democrats, he had to win over the leadership of his own party, which was no easy task. “We believed we had a chance to be a majority and only two things stood in our way,” Weber said.

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