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Blame Congress, Not Clinton

DISSENT

By Geoffrey C. Upton

Mary Jo Bane may be a great scholar on welfare reform. But in scolding President Clinton for signing the recent welfare bill, both Bane and the staff misdirect their hostility.

The welfare bill was overly harsh and improperly punitive. But blame for it is due to the bitterly partisan and short-sighted Republican Congress and a handful of Democratic sympathizers.

We must respect Clinton's record on social issues and his commitment to a better future without losing sight of political reality. Clinton was forced into signing the bill to fulfill a campaign promise and to ally himself with the majority of Americans who want major change in the welfare system.

Signing the bill seems to have given the President a great boost toward re-election--likely helping avert a Gingrich-Dole government that would be a nightmare for those of us who, like Bane, care about serious and effective public policy reform.

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