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When listing desirable ideals for an American president, the two most desirable ideals are those of honesty and integrity. The American people want a president they can trust, a president of civic virtue who is putting all self-pleasures aside in lieu of serving his country to the best of his ability. Bill Clinton, during his presidency and even in past government positions, tried to hold on to his self-pleasures while still appearing to the public as a man of civic virtue. This approach ultimately backfired on him in some of the most embarrassing scandals known to the office of president. Clinton’s scandals undermined the respect for the position of presidency since they now showed the world that immoral scandals were not below the highest elected position in America.
The majority of the Clinton scandals had begun before he had even become president. While Clinton was governor of Arkansas, he had been involved in a loan scandal involving selling useless land that was advertised to be superior to what it actually was. While this scandal was by no means illegal, it was clearly unethical and a rather crooked decision for a future president. Clinton had also sexually harassed an Arkansas state employee by the name of Paula Jones while serving as governor of Arkansas, a decision that would later result in the exposure of other sexual affairs and result in his eventual impeachment. These affairs clearly mitigate Clinton’s credibility as governor of Arkansas, a position that already was considered an inadequate amount of prerequisite political experience for a president. While at the time these decisions may have made sense to Clinton, his decision to run for the office of presidency was ill advised since he would be accepting the office with plenty of evidence that could, and eventually would, incriminate him while he was trying to fulfil his presidential duties.
Clinton’s past scandals were thankfully no issue for him during his first term as president allowing the first four years of the Clinton administration to be a resounding economic success. In Clinton’s first term America was beginning to see the positive effects of George Bush’s tax increases on the economy. While the government shut down twice during the Clinton administration, it could be argued that it was a necessary action that in the end was more beneficial to the American economy than it was previously thought to be. In the 1996 government shutdown with the House being led by the newly appointed Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, there was an immense amount of pressure for Clinton to compromise with the Republicans on the national budget. Thankfully Clinton and Gingrich were able to come through with a compromise that greatly reduced the deficit resulting in a budget surplus. The surplus, coupled with the fact that the Clinton years were economically prosperous to begin with resulted in a very positive sentiment towards the Clinton administration in terms of the economy. While to some degree the economy would have been prospering regardless as to who was president due to the tax increases Bush had enacted in his term among other economic factors, it can be argued that Clinton’s compromise was very constructive for the American economy and was probably defined as his most paramount achievement in his presidency.
Unfortunately, near the end of Clinton’s second term, scandal would come back to haunt him. Paula Jones had taken Clinton to court on charges of sexual harassment and it had seemed that a settlement was nearing. Then a White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, witnessed in the case and testified that she and Clinton had been having a sexual affair. Clinton at first adamantly denied the scandal, but after his semen was found on a dress that Monica Lewinsky owned it became clear that he had deceived the American people. This deception in this scandal was inexcusable. Ultimately Clinton was impeached for perjury and the obstruction of justice, but he was never removed from office. The fact that a president had allowed their desire for self-pleasure conflict with the needs and interests of the people, to the point where they would lie about it is abhorrent. The lack of responsibility demonstrated by Clinton is something America hopes to never have to encounter again.
The Clinton presidency, while not marked by a resoundingly successful role in foreign affairs or a large amount of major legislation being passed had the potential to be one of the most economically successful presidencies in decades. With a thriving economy, a low deficit, and a low national debt there is no limit as to what America can achieve on the Domestic or Foreign front. It could be speculated that in his affairs which distracted him from his duty to the American people that Clinton could have provided a thriving economy for years to come. Unfortunately rather than taking the road of civic virtue in his presidency, America was on the backburner when it came to what Clinton wanted in his personal life. The attitude of self-service in an American president is absolutely deplorable and shows utter contempt to every man to have ever held the office. Clinton’s presidency had enormous potential in the area of economy, but his Clinton’s selfish attitude hindered his ability as president, resulting in a presidency fouled by personal mistakes.
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