In the past, the great post-World War II institutions of international economics--the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the enforcement bodies of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)--have operated under the cover of bureaucratic darkness. Some lobbyists in Washington knew about them, but few voters knew what the Kennedy Round was or what the IMF did. But in the past year, the operation of these international institutions has become a major issue in Congress and the presidential campaign, and their conduct has already sparked the kind of militant left-wing demonstrations not seen for three decades.
As Bill Clinton prepared to leave office and public attention swiveled toward the incoming administration, the outgoing president spent his last months in the Oval Office making recess appointments and issuing a flurry of new regulations and executive orders. Many of these have been in the works for years but were blocked by the Republican Congress. With very few exceptions, these orders and appointments represented the suppressed liberal aspirations of the Clinton administration.
Republican strategists have been quick to dismiss
the significance of the
Democratic victories during this November's elections. Republican pollster Whit
Ayres declared that they "tell us almost nothing about the likely election
outcomes a year from now." But the off-year gubernatorial elections in New Jersey
and Virginia--held in the first year of a new president's term--usually tell us a
great deal about where American politics is headed. For four decades, elections
in New Jersey and Virginia have accurately registered changes in the relative
national strength of the two major parties. In 1989, for instance, Democrats
swept the two states, foreshadowing the Democrats' victories in 1992. In 1993
The populist movement lasted barely two decades, disappearing by the turn of the last century. Yet the movement's themes have continued to esonate in American politics. Politicians with sharly divergent agendas-- from Jimmy Carter and dRonald Reagan to Jack Kemp and Tom Harkin-- have evoked the legacy of populism. Bill Clinton called his campaign platform "Putting People First" and accepted the Democratic nomination "in the name of all those who do the work, pay the taxes, raise the kids and play by the rules." Once in office, he has continued to sound populist notes, warning that his economic program would take aim at the "privileged elite."