Liberal Greatness

Buoyed in the cheers of Democratic convention floors awash in waving rainbow flags, “keep abortion legal” signs and dancing civil rights veterans wearing silly hats, Bill Clinton swept into office in 1992, where he found liberals can only move so fast anymore. All his promises to move on LGBT rights and healthcare access failed almost as soon as he took office, and suddenly he faced the most hostile and overwhelmingly elected Congress a President has ever faced, leading to government shutdowns. The modern history of America had been marked prominently by the inspiring achievements of Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry S Truman, JFK and LBJ, but LBJ was the first progressive to run into major opposition, most of his accomplishments under attack, as the proverbial pendulum began to swing from left back to right. When Jimmy Carter became the first liberal President after LBJ, he found the conservative political headwinds too strong to implement the next generation American energy infrastructure to prevent future energy crises caused by fuel shortages, as well as a national plan that would assure American healthcare continue to be accessible, rather than an increasingly premium commodity. He never gave up, doubling down on the need to get energy and healthcare done. He was swept out of office. Liberal presidents were no longer allowed to be great, and this was a reality that greeted Carter’s liberal successors, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

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