As discussed in the lecture and textbook reading, the 1990s elicited extreme opinions and political disagreement on a host of domestic social and economic issues. This week’s Document Discussion Board will give you a chance to delve into different perspectives of what Pat Buchanan called the “Culture War for the Soul of America.” Before posting, please make sure you have read the introduction to the documents below, reviewed the Domestic Tranquility? and New Political Order pages in the lecture, and have read Chapter 12 in Building the American Republic. This background information is required – you will have trouble fully understanding and analyzing the documents without this information.
While the Republicans drew closer to their right wing in the 1990s, the next three documents show the orientation of the Democratic Party and how “New Democrats” like Clinton played to the center – and in some cases, stole pages out of the Republican playbook. Finally, Al Gore in his 1996 Democratic Convention speech shows again the centrist message of the New Democrats of the 1990s. When listing the accomplishments of Clinton’s first term in office, Gore celebrates a smaller deficit, “leaner” government, and trade in language more reminiscent of his Republican opponents than the New Deal/Great Society Democrats of previous decades. Gore does emphasize how Clinton and the Democrats have protected the environment and supported everyday Americans, but nowhere to be found is the expansive social liberalism we associate with Democrats today.
For this assignment students must choose a document from the list below (Already Chosen) and write an Initial Post describing and analyzing the document.