Political observers have recently christened Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton as the candidate to beat in the Democratic presidential race. And what earned him that honor? Primarily the fact the Clinton has a plan for America.
When asked questions about what he would do about jobs, the economy, health care or foreign aid, Clinton can make a list. He has formulated a plan.
Whether or not voters agree with Clinton's plan remains to be seen but the fact that simply having a strategy has garnered the Arkansas governor so much attention is noteworthy in itself.
Americans obviously are eager for answers. They probably would like to hear answers that are more simple than the problems, but mostly they want to hear that someone has some concrete ideas about how to create more jobs or provide health care to all Americans. They are tired of the rhetoric, and their weariness may have an impact on the upcoming presidential campaign, a season normally filled with little but rhetoric.
If Clinton does nothing else, perhaps he will help focus the debate on the issues that are of key importance to Americans. His ideas may not be the best ideas, but if they force other candidates to formulate their own strategies on national issues, his efforts won't be in vain. The debate, alone, would benefit the country.
The increasing dependence on the electronic media to further political campaigns has turned policy debate into 30-second soundbites. That may be enough time to present a candidate's image, but it isn't enough time to present many ideas. It's the responsibility both of the media and of American voters to look beyond the superficial political message and try to discern whether the candidate really has any inkling of how to approach the issues troubling the U.S.
Maybe Clinton can even revive a concept that seems to have been forgotten by some of the 1992 presidential hopefuls candidates with a plan! It's sure to escalate this year's political debate.