Presidents tend to overcompensate for the errors of their predecessors in the same party and in so doing, sow seeds of their own mistakes. Bill Clinton wanted above all to avoid Jimmy Carter's fate -- losing re-election because the economy was heading south on Election Day. So Clinton made a deal with Alan Greenspan to slash the budget deficit and thereby jettison much of his ambitious campaign agenda -- Greenspan's precondition for lowering interest rates and causing an economic boom in time for the re-election -- and then took direction from Dick Morris, who told Clinton to move to the right. The result: Clinton avoided Carter's failure and won re-election handily. But the Clinton years produced few if any major social reforms. Clinton spent so much of his initial political capital, as well as his time and energy, on deficit reduction that he didn't have enough left to enact health care in 1994.
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