William Jefferson Clinton Speech

Remarks made by President Clinton at Georgetown University marking the15th Anniversary of the New Covenant Addresses as part of the Center for American Progress’s conference, Securing the Common Good: A Vision for America. (via www.americanprogress.org)

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Now, this sort of politics – striving for the common good – for me stands in stark contrast to both the political and governing philosophy of the leadership in Washington today and for the last six years. The more ideological, right-wing element of the Republican Party has been building strength, partly in reaction to things that happened 40 years ago: to Barry Goldwater’s defeat, to what they saw as the excesses of the ‘60s. It got a lot of legs when President Reagan was elected, but this is the first time when, on a consistent basis, the most conservative, most ideological wing of the Republican Party has had both the executive and the legislative branch, with a very distinct governing philosophy and a very distinct political philosophy.

Where us common-good folks favor equal opportunity and empowerment, they believe the country is best served by the maximum concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the right people – right in both senses. (Laughter.) We believe in mutual responsibility. They believe that in large measure people make or break their own lives, and you’re on your own. We believe in striving at least to cooperate with others, because we think that there are very few problems in the world we can solve on our own. They favor unilateralism whenever possible and cooperation when it’s unavoidable.

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