In a book published as his re-election campaign moves into high gear, President Clinton recounts the education initiatives pushed by his administration, his election-year proposals to help students and families pay for higher education, and his support for such community-based youth-improvement strategies as teen curfews, school uniforms, and truancy laws.
Between Hope and History: Meeting America's Challenges for the 21st Century is billed as continuing Mr. Clinton's "conversation ... with the American people about our destiny as a nation, our duty to prepare for the new century, and our need for a shared vision of 21st-century America that will enable us to grasp the extraordinary opportunities of this age of responsibility."
If the promotional language weren't enough of a hint, it doesn't take a reader too long to realize that the 178-page book, written with the help of a Seattle-based free-lancer, is not a gripping drama or revealing autobiography. Instead, the prose is more a laundry list of administration accomplishments and a repetition of the themes Mr. Clinton has sounded in the past eight months as he has prepared his bid for a second term.
The book was released in mid-August, just a week before a document that reads like its executive summary: the 1996 Democratic platform. (Not to be outdone, Republican nominee Bob Dole is expected to offer his election-related prose in a book soon.)
Mr. Clinton builds his vision for the future around three themes that he will repeat many times between now and the November election: opportunity, responsibility, and community.
He cites the creation of model national academic standards, proposals to provide tax breaks for college tuition, and his willingness to fight for federal education spending as examples of providing young Americans an opportunity to pursue their potential.
And Mr. Clinton calls on Americans to foster a sense of community by, among other things, rejecting attempts to prevent the children of illegal aliens from attending public schools and urging children to pray in schoolswithout state-sanctioned prayer.