Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Ask most people what they think President Clinton ought to do in his last two years and they provide you with an instant assessment of the man and how he has either failed their hopes and expectations or fulfilled them. I spoke with 20 luminaries from a variety of fields in order to hear their answers to these questions. I went to conservatives as well as progressives, as I wanted differing points of view and not just those from the choir. Although I probed for specific suggestions as to how Clinton might help either the republic or himself, most of those I spoke with wanted to take his current measure and talk about how he has performed to date.

Back to Eric Alterman’s commentary . . .

Click on the faces for further commentary . . .

[Image]Eugene McCarthy

Former U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate

“Fire all the Rhodes and Oxford scholars and everyone from Arkansas.”

[Image]Jessica Mitford

Author and journalist

“‘No more guts than a pissant.’ It’s too late for him to reverse.”

[Image]David Halberstam

Author and journalist

“All the report cards aren’t as bad as they seem.”

[Image]Robert Jay Lifton

Psychiatrist

“Clinton’s backing down encourages his enemies to stop anything he initiates.”

[Image]Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Professor of Humanities

“I suspect that his Haiti policy augurs a new day [in foreign policy].”

[Image]Isabel Allende

Novelist

“He should use his charisma more. Perhaps on a weekly, live program.”

[Image]Ralph Nader

Consumer activist

“Encourage more access to telecommunication systems. Citizen-action channels.”

[Image]John Leo

Neoconservative columnist for U.S. News & World Report

“He has to stop jogging in those stupid shorts and playing instruments.”

[Image]Christina Hoff Sommers

Professor of Philosophy and author of “Who Stole Feminism?”

“Get [Surgeon General] Elders to work on teen promiscuity.”

[Image]Nancy J. Chodorow

Psychoanalyst, sociologist, and author

“Foster real family connections instead of child case-workers.”

[Image]Jerry Brown

Former Governor of California, national radio talk-show host

“It’s not easy to take a populist position, but if you don’t, you might as well be a Republican.”

[Image]Kevin Phillips

Conservative theorist

“He may have to be the president who proves the system doesn’t work very well.”

[Image]Naomi Wolf

Feminist author

“Require employers to include reproductive health care.”

[Image]Ronald Takaki

Professor of Ethnic Studies

“He has to address the R word–race. He should read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.”

[Image]Ramsey Clark

Former U.S. Attorney General

“If he does [fail], the cost to the country and its people will be absolutely enormous.”

[Image]Tony Kushner

Playwright

“The nation’s disenfranchised can be galvanized with a reasonable agenda.”

[Image]Michael Parenti

Author, political analyst, and lecturer

“Create jobs in mass transit, conservation, alternative energy, and environmental preservation.”

[Image]Michael Dorris

Author and journalist

“Act like a second-term president. Trust his humane instincts and ’60s idealism.”

[Image]Juan Williams

Author and journalist

“How can we get that kind of idealism back into the American mind?”

[Image]Anne Taylor Fleming

Writer and commentator

“It’s almost as if he doesn’t know he’s a leader.”

Michael Krasny hosts “Forum,” a West Coast public affairs radio show recognized for its discussion of serious issues. He is a regular contributor to Mother Jones. Research assistance by Holly Kernan.

Photo-Illustrations by Peter Nies, based on images by Bret Littlehales (McCarthy), Novelle Saarinen (Mitford), Bruce Plotkin (Halberstam), Thomas Victor (Lifton), Sarah Putnam (Gates), Marcia Lieberman (Allende), Chick Harrity (Leo), Joyce Ravid (Sommers), Akiko Nishimura (Chodorow), Julie Brown (Brown), Katherine Lambert (Phillips), Kate Connell (Wolf), Carol Takaki (Takaki), Jay Thompson (Kushner), Anita Newby (Parenti), Louise Erdrich (Dorris), Louis Myrie (Williams), David Strick (Fleming).

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest