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A "New Covenant" kept: core values, presidential communications, and the paradox of the Clinton presidency.

Commonplace among his supporters and many Americans is the idea that Ronald Reagan was an exemplar of philosophical consistency as president of the United States. Reagan, it is said, knew who he was, spoke and wrote consistently about his vision for America, and pursued a policy agenda informed by it. Reagan, others observe, was a "conviction politician" with a "sacramental vision" of America (Heclo 2003), a strategic thinker, a transformational leader (Burns 2003), and a rhetorical paragon who left policy and tactical calculations to others. As his noted biographer Lou Cannon (2003) suggests, however, this image is paradoxical: Reagan was the ultimate pragmatist and transactional leader in both Sacramento and Washington. Among other things, he enacted the largest tax increase in California history, signed an abortion rights bill for that state, and presided over a series of tax increases and burgeoning budget deficits in Washington (for other recent scholarly views, see Brownlee and Graham 2003).

In contrast, the conventional wisdom among most commentators, scholars, and large segments of the American public is that Bill Clinton exhibited little philosophical, rhetorical, or policy consistency as president. Indeed, one recurring theme of an early and influential scholarly appraisal of Clinton's performance marshaled compelling evidence that it was difficult to discern any coherent philosophy at all midway through his first term (Campbell and Rockman 1996). As one contributor wrote, the "debate over what kind of Democrat Clinton is tells the story," adding that "Clinton does not seem to know, and neither does anyone else" (Aberbach 1996). Added another scholar evaluating aspects of the administration's domestic policy, "The administration seemed unwilling to deal [i.e., bargain with Congress] yet unable to fight" (Wilson 1996). Argued others in the volume, "International actors may have already taken their measures of the differences between Bill Clinton's rhetoric and his commitment" (Berman and Goldman 1996).

Since then, powerful critiques of Clinton's presidency and personal character also have helped foster the image of a calculating rather than conviction-driven president (see, e.g., Reeves 1996; Burns and Sorenson 1999; Buchanan 2000; Gergen 2000; Johnson 2001; Maraniss 2001; Morris 2002). Playing into this image, among other things, are his "triangulation" strategy; his parsing of words during campaigns and personal scandals; claims that he either "played off his enemies rather than taking the lead himself" (Maraniss 2001) or discerned his middle-ground positions after listening to opposing viewpoints, believing that "on most questions there were all manner of ways to split the difference" (Harris 2005, 68); his desire to always keep options open, which translated into perceptions of uncertainty and vacillation; and his voracious appetite for polling data. However, they do not persuasively demonstrate that Clinton actually lacked a core set of beliefs that--amid the surface noise of tactical considerations, decision styles, and personal peccadilloes--informed his major initiatives. Indeed, one can accept these perceptions as in some sense accurate, but still hold that Clinton had a core philosophy.

This exploratory study assesses more systematically than has been the case to date the constancy of Clinton's legislative, administrative, and rhetorical record, sees how well linked Clinton's words and actions were, and discerns how well those words and deeds communicated an image of having core beliefs. Examined, first, is the extent to which Clinton's New Covenant philosophy of "opportunity, responsibility, community" informed his policy and rhetorical record throughout his political career. Analysis reveals that Clinton's policy initiatives and rhetorical legacy were informed by a discernible, sustained, and coherent philosophy regarding the proper relationship between citizens and the state, the essence of his New Covenant philosophy. Examined, next, is whether, how, and with what persistence Clinton's New Covenant philosophy was featured in presidential and White House communications during his two terms in office. Informing this analysis is a Java-programmed search by keyword of the first 17,389 spoken and written communications available electronically on the Clinton Presidential Library Web site. (1) Analysis reveals that (1) the terms and phrases associated with Clinton's New Covenant philosophy were used with persistence, coherence, and consistency throughout Clinton's years in office, but that (2) the patterns discerned are inconsistent with what rhetoricians, marketing executives, social scientists, and political operatives call "branding" a product, service, or candidate. The article concludes by weighing the contribution of this rhetorical paradox to the equally paradoxical image of Clinton as philosophically and programmatically rudderless.

Policy Initiatives, the New Covenant, and the Clinton Legacy

In his penetrating study of the evolution of the New Democrat movement, Kenneth Baer (2000) chronicles the meshing of Governor Bill Clinton's presidential ambitions, campaign needs, and policy interests in revamping the image of the Democratic party with the Democratic Leadership Council's (DLC) agenda. Like Clinton, the DLC was interested in creating the image of a more centrist, business-friendly, less counter-culturally caricatured, and more prodefense Democratic party in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Both also sought to disabuse Americans of the perception that the Democratic party was captured by special interests associated with women, minority, and ethnic elements pushing a rights-based rather than a responsibility-based policy agenda (Galston 2004).

As early as 1986, Clinton (2004) writes that he had developed a set of "basic convictions about the nature of the modern world" (327), a public philosophy that paralleled the thinking of DLC leaders like Al From. (2) Clinton's convictions eventually would be refined and distilled into his New Covenant, and DLC, mantra of reciprocal obligation between citizens and their government: opportunity, responsibility, and community. Known in the marketing industry as branding (Holt 2004), this phrase was offered to connote a new image and philosophy for the Democratic party, one of a party focused on contemporary challenges and prepared to advance a progressive agenda no longer encumbered by rights politics (From 2004). As then-Governor Clinton told a newspaper convention in 1986, "The internationalization of American life ... [means that] ... [w]e have to share responsibilities and opportunities--we're going up or down together"; and a "strong America requires a resurgent sense of community, a strong sense of mutual obligations, and a conviction that we cannot pursue our individual interests independent of the needs of our fellow citizens" (Clinton 2004, 327).

The challenge was clear, argued Clinton, in language resonant with the DLC's emphasis on the implications of a postindustrial, information-based, professionalized, and increasingly global society: keeping the "American Dream alive and preserving the nation's role in the world" mean accepting and acting upon "the new rules of successful economic, political, and social life" (Clinton 2004, 327). Nor was this a one-off comment. As Smith (1996) points out in his review of Clinton's speeches between 1974 and 1992, a "consistency [exists] in the basic themes and policy positions--over time, in varied contexts, and to vastly diverse audiences" (xiv). As Waldman (2000) recalls Clinton remarking much later as he worked with the president on the 1998 State of the Union address, "FDR saved capitalism from itself. Our mission has been to save government from its own excesses [s]o that it can again be a progressive force" (271).

What is more, and as Table 1 summarizes, the prose, themes, and initiatives of the Clinton presidency in regard to his public philosophy are discernible in many of his prepresidential speeches. Regnant in Clinton's speeches and policy initiatives during those years, for example, was a frequent emphasis in stark, tough, and New Deal-linked terms on the opportunities given by government to Americans to help themselves, on the reciprocal responsibilities of recipients of government assistance to make the most of those opportunities, and on all citizens to see themselves as a community obliged to help members through tough times.

Clinton, like From and others at the DLC, also understood by the late 1980s that Ronald Reagan's public philosophy of a minimalist state was by then ascendant among political majorities in America. Moreover, it had peeled away from the traditional Democratic base socially conservative "Reagan Democrats." Consequently, Democrats needed to offer an alternative and compelling public philosophy to Reaganism, one that could be captured in a phrase readily recallable by citizens. The party had to do so not only to regain the White House but also to protect the progressive elements of the positive state philosophy that, before Reagan and since the New Deal, had animated political majorities of Americans.

The relationship of citizens to the state had been clear to proponents of the positive state philosophy: government was the ultimate promoter, provider, and guarantor of essential goods, services, and opportunities to U.S. citizens dealing with the downsides, challenges, and hardships of impersonal economic and social forces. Put most simply, government was the solution to market failures. In contrast, Reagan's minimalist state philosophy turned that public philosophy on its head in variations of a pithy and memorable phrase: markets are the solution to government failures. Moreover, citizens needed to look more to themselves and so-called intermediary institutions like churches, synagogues, mosques, extended families, and neighborhood groups for help, rather than to government. And whereas centralization of power in Washington, led by bureaucracies staffed by professionals wielding largely regulatory tools, informed the positive state philosophy, Reagan's minimalist state philosophy envisioned decentralization of authority to the states, debureaucratization, deregulation, and repoliticization of government agencies to make them more responsive.

Formally forging the symbiotic bonds between them, Clinton became chairman of the DLC in 1990 and used that position to burnish his national reputation by accepting the DLC's advice, networks, and resources during his 1992 presidential campaign. Perhaps the rhetorical high point of this symbiosis was his 1991 keynote address at the DLC's national meeting in Cleveland. Positioning himself as a serious presidential contender, Clinton summarized the New Democrat's alternative public philosophy of reciprocal obligation. "Our burden," said Clinton, "is to give the people a new choice rooted in old values. A new choice that is simple, that offers opportunity, demands responsibility, gives citizens more say, provides them responsive government, all because we recognize that we are a community" (Maraniss 1996, 459).

Thus, rife with its own biblical tones, the New Covenant of opportunity, responsibility, and community was conceptualized as a Third Way alternative to both traditional liberalism with its emphasis on government solutions and the rugged individualism of Reagan's minimalist state vision for the United States. As presidential candidate Clinton stated in his first New Covenant speech at Georgetown University in 1991, "We must go beyond the competing ideas of the old political establishment: beyond every man for himself on the one hand and the right to something for nothing on the other" (Smith 1996, 90). Envisioned, in the process, were important, complementary, and synergistic roles in building a results-based sense of common purpose for markets and mandates, for experts and laypersons, for bureaucrats and communities, and for tradition and innovation. Nor, Clintonites insisted, was this a "split-the-difference" approach to governance; the New Covenant was beyond, not between, the ideologies of the left and the right.

In two of his three New Covenant speeches at Georgetown, Clinton operationalized what those words might mean in terms of policy initiatives, and thus how they transcended the old orthodoxies of his party. (3) For example, in the domestic policy arena, Clinton spoke of a "pro-work, pro-family, and pro-values" agenda for an economy in transition. Thus, Clinton accepted the inevitability of globalization, a position that many in his party found anathema. To the contrary, they believed that globalization was a "choice" that advanced corporate interests, not an inevitability.

Borrowing from a communitarian theory that was controversial within his party, Clinton also emphasized such initiatives as (1) "community policing, drug treatment for those who need it, and boot camps for first-time offenders"; (2) "investing more money in emerging technologies to keep high-paying jobs here at home," while requesting corporate responsibility in return; (3) affording "standards and accountability ... in education"; (4) allowing young Americans to "borrow the money necessary for college ... and ask[ing] them to pay it back ... through national service"; (5) "insist[ing] that people move off welfare rolls and onto work rolls ... [by] giving people the skills they need to succeed [education, training, child care] ... [in return for] demanding that everybody who can work go to work"; (6) "insist[ing] on the toughest possible childsupport enforcement"; and (7) "reinvent[ing] government to make it more efficient and effective" by giving employees more flexibility in return for accountability for outcomes.

Yet as Baer (2000) also notes, by the time of the Republican rout of congressional Democrats in the 1994 midterm elections, the DLC was so disenchanted with the direction of Clinton's presidency that some even considered looking for a DLC-backed challenger to him in the 1996 Democratic primary. Driving their disenchantment was the perception of a leftward drift of the Clinton agenda to that point and, hence, an abandonment of the New Democrat agenda. In contrast, other more neutral observers saw him as insufficiently staking out and defending either new or old Democrat positions (Quirk and Hinchliffe 1996). (4)

Fueling these disparate perceptions were "sins" of both commission, like initiatives related to gays in the military and health care, and sins of omission, like putting middle-class tax cuts and welfare reform on the back burner. Thus, while perhaps tactically logical whenever he could not count on Republican votes for his legislative initiatives, Clinton's deference to traditional liberal Democrats in Congress during his first two years in office left DLC supporters feeling jilted. Nor did it help that these tactics made it easy for friends and foes alike to either perceive or recast even some of Clinton's early New Covenant-grounded initiatives as traditional liberal approaches. Debates surrounding his ultimately victorious 1993 budget bill, for example, were framed by Republicans as traditional Democratic tax-and-spend policies, because it incorporated a stimulus package of increased federal spending. This, at the same time that critics from the left (and within his administration) excoriated the deficit reduction focus of the bill as advancing Wall Street rather than "Main Street" interests.

Similarly pilloried by Republicans in 1993 was his otherwise New Democrat anticrime bill that expanded grounds for capital punishment and increased prison construction. This occurred after the Black and Hispanic Democratic caucuses said they could not support the bill unless inner-city funding for midnight basketball and swimming pools was added. In effect, whenever Republicans forced Clinton to rely exclusively on Democratic votes for victory, they forced him to accept amendments from those on his left, leaving him vulnerable to charges of abandoning the center. Meanwhile, "hybrid" bills like the 1994 crime bill combined with Republican cooperation on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to send unclear messages about where he did stand.

In the aftermath of the 1994 elections, however, Clinton brought political strategist Dick Morris into the White House, much as he had done after his first-term defeat as Arkansas governor. Not unlike that earlier experience, Clinton and Morris sought to reposition the president as the more-centrist New Democrat that he had campaigned as in 1992. As John Harris (2005) puts it, Clinton's instincts were always toward "accommodation" and the "political center." It was not often pretty, however, to watch him find his way there. Frayed ties also were repaired with the DLC, and a new communications team was brought into the White House. That team consciously sought to "wrap [the president's] agenda in values rhetoric" (e.g., talk of families, neighborhoods, rights to privacy, and discipline in schools) (Gelderman 1997, 169; also see Waldman 2000). Clinton also began granting speechwriters greater access to him and to policy discussions. Crafted were so-called common ground speeches that placed disparate policy initiatives in overarching values perspectives, much as Reagan had done throughout his career (Morris 2002; Wirthlin with Hall 2004).

Before analyzing how, why, and how well this "values" strategy materialized during the remainder of the Clinton presidency, it is useful to examine the extent to which subsequent Clinton administration initiatives were linked to New Democrat, DLC, and New Covenant principles and policy tools for advancing a sense of mutual obligation between citizens and their government. A complete listing and discussion linking all legislative and administrative initiatives taken by the Clinton administration to his long-standing public philosophy are both impracticable and unnecessary to illustrate the point of Clinton's fidelity to his New Covenant philosophy. Holding any president to 100 percent fidelity with any public philosophy is a fool's errand in a Madisonian system characterized by checks and balances, separation of powers, diffused responsibility, and compromise. Moreover, a body of journalistic and scholarly assessments of the Clinton presidency has emerged since Clinton left office which concludes that he fulfilled most of his New Covenant-informed campaign promises (Edsall 2000; Cannon 2001; Brownstein 2002), and that the congressional record during the 1990s reflects his (rather than Republican) legislative priorities in advancing that agenda (Brady and Hillygus 2004).

As such, Table 2 offers a select list, by year, of the administration's major initiatives that illustrates how Clinton persistently pursued policies consonant with his public philosophy of mutual obligation between citizens and their government. Observable is a much more overtly business-oriented agenda than those traditionally embraced by the Democratic party (e.g., NAFTA). Marbled throughout these initiatives, as well, was a propensity to rely on market-based or tax code-based (e.g., the Earned Income Tax Credit) remedies rather than on creating or expanding government bureaucracies to address social problems. Illustrated, too, is how Clinton expressed traditional Democratic party concerns regarding the disadvantaged, but as in Arkansas still demanded something of them.

As Brownstein (2002), among others, has amply documented, Clinton "delivered the goods [for traditional Democratic constituencies], though in ways different from those that Democrats have traditionally used." (5) Welfare reform, for example, expanded services but required work from most recipients. Likewise, the final 1994 crime bill that Clinton pushed for incorporated such unconventional Democratic emphases as "three strikes and you're out," victims' rights, and police-endorsed assault weapons bans. Also illustrative, expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit eschewed traditional Democratic emphases on providing bureaucratic programs to help the poor in favor of using the tax system to improve their lot. Again consonant with a New Democrat focus, many regard this program as one of the most successful programs ever to lift persons out of poverty (e.g., see Brownstein 2002).

Also on the opportunity front, one persistently sees other New Democrat principles enunciated by Clinton as far back as his days as Arkansas's governor. These resonate individually and collectively in such legislative initiatives as Hope scholarships, child care credits within the context of the Balanced Budget Act, the Children's Health Insurance Program through the states to address the needs of poor children, tax incentives to hire the physically challenged in the Work Incentives Act of 1999, and his initiatives through partnerships and the tax code regarding the "digital divide" (gaps in access to information technologies between low-, middle-, and upper-income students).

Similarly illustrative in this regard are his executive orders (EOs) dealing with, for example, crackdowns on child support evaders by requiring database sharing for identifying and locating delinquent payers (EO 12953), guaranteeing lower-wage workers affected by the downsizing of federal agencies a right of first refusal for employment by the new contractor (EO 12933), and pursuing educational excellence for Hispanic Americans through encouraging public-private-nonprofit partnerships (EO 12900). To these were added EOs reminiscent of his focus in Arkansas on getting bureaucracy out of the way of progress. These included efforts to improve job opportunities for adults with disabilities by having existing federal agencies monitor progress toward goals and eliminate rather than add regulations that militate against hiring (EO 13078). Illustrative as well were EOs to improve the performance of low-performing schools by increasing standards, affording technical assistance and

capacity building, providing best-practice clearinghouses on school choice, building public-private-nonprofit partnerships, and redirecting existing Department of Education funds toward these schools (EO 13153). And to these one has to add his effort to protect the privacy of health information in oversight investigations (EO 13181).

Visible, as well, in the initiatives listed in Table 2 is the New Covenant philosophy of personal responsibility, community, and the need for government to adapt to the new rule sets imposed by a global, information-based, and professionalized economy. In terms of personal responsibility, Clinton's aforementioned initiatives on welfare reform and performance measurement in schools, as well as his EOs on such matters as child support payments, are the most famous. Likewise illustrative of his communitarian instincts with roots in Arkansas politics are his initiatives regarding community policing, AmeriCorps, community right-to-know policy (EO 12834), sustainable development requirements (EO 12852), and homelessness prevention (EO 12845).

In turn, the New Democrat theme of adapting to new global and technological realities rather than challenging their legitimacy is clear in Clinton initiatives such as NAFTA, telecommunications reform, and efforts to address the digital divide. Consonant also were his EOs dealing with identification of trade expansion (EO 12901), NAFTA (EO 12889), trade promotion (EO 12870), information infrastructure (EO 12864), computer technology for education (EO 12999), small business exports (EO 13169), and economic change in the new economy (EO 13174). Finally, the entire National Performance Review project led by Vice President Gore epitomized the New Democrat commitment that he had espoused as governor to modernizing government bureaucracies amid these challenges, but by granting employees more flexibility in return for performance-based evaluations of their work.

Coming to Terms: The New Covenant, Bill Clinton, and the Pursuit of a Rhetorical Record

As FDR speechwriter Robert Sherwood put it, "Roosevelt knew that all those words [in his speeches] would constitute the bulk of the estate that he would leave to posterity, and that his ultimate measurement would depend on the reconciliation of what he said with what he did" (Gelderman 1997, 13). Reagan was so cognizant of this fact that he instructed his presidential speechwriters to try to incorporate the core ideas of his 1964 Goldwater speech, "A Time for Choosing," in all their work. These included the ideas that a "centrally administered government tended to weaken a free people's character," that America benefited from the "magic of markets," and that "abroad the source of all evil was the Soviet Union" (Gelderman 1997, 105).

The preceding section has illustrated how Clinton's New Covenant philosophy is readily discernible in his policy agenda. But how well did the president's rhetoric and other White House communications make this link? To be successful, Mary Matalin argues, a presidential communications strategy has to be "repetitive, it has to be coherent, it can't be internally or intellectually inconsistent" (as cited in Kumar 2003, 366). With this in mind, this section and the next assess whether the terms and phrases associated with Clinton's New Covenant philosophy were used with persistence, coherence, and consistency throughout Clinton's years in the Oval Office. The purpose is not to assess how successful President Clinton was in convincing individual audiences. Rather, it is to assess whether the terms and phrases associated with Clinton's New Covenant philosophy were used with persistence, coherence, and consistency throughout Clinton's years in office.

Rhetoric is often defined as the artful adaptation of language strategies to particular audiences for specific purposes. Thus, language alone is not the totality of rhetoric, but it is an important component of it. This study focuses only on the content of communications in order to examine the trends in the overall substance and patterns of Clinton's communication style as it relates to New Covenant, New Democrat, and DLC terms and themes. As such, however, this study is not one of rhetoric in the classic sense of the term, but of rhetorical content (an approach used by, among others, Cohen 1997; Druckman and Holmes 2004). One need not assess the artfulness of Clinton's language in persuading particular audiences to ascertain how persistently and artfully he pursued and framed his New Covenant/DLC/New Democrat message during his political career.

An analysis by keywords performed on the first 17,389 communications documents made available electronically on the Clinton Presidential Library Web site finds a definite relationship between Clinton's words and the public philosophy summarized in his New Covenant. (6) Indeed, one finds this whether looking at Clinton's spoken words only (e.g., his 4,528 speeches, press conferences, radio addresses, and remarks) or at total communications coming out of the White House (i.e., Clinton's spoken words plus executive orders, proclamations, and memoranda, and including written communications released by the White House to the public [i.e., press releases, press briefings, fact sheets, reports, statements, and announcements]). Henceforth, the first set of communications (Clinton's spoken words) will be referred to as "Clinton communications," the second set as "total White House communications."

The first most striking pattern afforded by the content analysis is President Clinton's use of New Democrat themes in his inaugural addresses and State of the Union messages. As Welch (2003) demonstrates in his research on President Reagan's television addresses, communicating a message that listeners recall is difficult, varies across different demographic groups, and depends on levels of exposure to speeches. Still, these are major addresses where presidents and their communications staffs are likely to have the largest audiences, or at least believe that they will, and that become a major component of their rhetorical estate.

In terms of President Clinton's inaugural addresses, terms like "opportunity," "responsibility," "community" (but not full phrases like "opportunity, responsibility, and community") appeared six and nine times, respectively, in his 1993 and 1997 inaugural addresses, with no references to the term "New Covenant." As row 1 in Table 3 indicates, these same terms appeared in each of his State of the Union addresses, peaking in usage in the 1995 State of the Union address where Dick Morris worked with Clinton (with input from From) to reintroduce him as a New Democrat. Also, use of these terms increases again after 1997, first, for midterm congressional elections and, later, for his legacy as his second term comes to an end.

Equally striking is how successful the post-1994 revamping of the Clinton communications strategy was in marbling New Covenant and New Democrat terms into presentations. As Table 3 (rows 2 and 3) also illustrates, references to the terms "community," "opportunity," and "responsibility" increased persistently by 59 percent between 1993 and 2000 (i.e., from references in 905 communications in I993 to references in 1,439 communications in 2000). This increase appeared in total White House communications. A similar pattern (albeit with less consistency) emerges when one looks only at Clinton's communications, with a 50 percent increase from the base year of 1993. Of course, increases in usage must be standardized to reflect variations in the number of communications in any given year (e.g., in election years, Clinton was likely to give more speeches). As Table 3 (row 3) indicates, while a spike occurs in the percentage use of these terms in 1998 (viz., to usage in 81 percent of all Clinton's personal communications), each of the other years saw him using them in approximately three quarters of his personal communications. Indeed, further analysis demonstrates that he used the individual terms "opportunity," "responsibility," and "community" within a single communication in nearly one quarter of these efforts (i.e., in 961 of 4,328 communications, or 22.2 percent).

Analysis also indicates a definite, sustained, and successful effort by Clinton's revised communications operation to ground his policy arguments solidly in New Covenant themes, as well as within several American exceptionalist values. Political scientist Seymour Lipset (1996) includes among the latter such values as antistatism (i.e., a fear of concentrations of power in the federal government), opportunity, individualism, obedience to conscience (i.e., a sense of personal character), responsibility, families, duty, obligation, philanthropy, and volunteerism. Equally potent in this regard are such "inherited values" as limited government, the Protestant work ethic, faith in progress, and social mobility based on merit (Bosso 1994, 184).

Analysis reveals that Clinton used terms related to these concepts, plus his signature New Covenant designation, in 95 percent (a total of 4,103) of his 4,328 communications (see Table 3, footnote 4). Moreover, as Table 4 summarizes, he used New Democrat, DLC, and American exceptionalist terms 502 times in his eight State of the Union addresses (mean = 63 times per speech), with the fewest uses of these terms in his first State of the Union address in 1993. As Table 4 also indicates, and consistent with New Democrat themes, Clinton's focus was clearly on families and on work. More broadly, analysis also reveals that President Clinton and the White House routinely used terms associated with quintessential American values in 74 percent of total White House communications (i.e., in 12,932 of the 17,389 communications). These included terms such as common ground, discipline, family, neighbor, neighborhoods, parents, service, values, volunteerism, work, and working families.

As Table 3 (rows 4 and 3) illustrates, while the raw number of these references increased drastically in the post-1995 era of triangulation, they appeared in fully 94 to 96 percent of all of Clinton's personal communications in any given year. Moreover, these communications were dominated in numbers by terms more associated with Republican themes. For example (see footnote 4 in Table 3), the seven terms most often used in total White House communications during his two terms in office were work (52,646), service (15,135), family (11,299), parents (6,526), values (4,265), neighborhood/s (2,328), and discipline (1,888). Relatedly, the president rarely used terms such as "privatize" or "privatization" in his communications. His bona fides as a New Democrat were maintained instead by using such terms as market/s and parmership/s. The latter often, but not exclusively, involve private sector contracting. Collectively, Clinton used these terms in nearly half (49.4 percent) of all his communications (i.e., in 2,136 of his 4,328 presentations), with terms such as market/s (3,861 references), parmership/s (2,558 references), and private sector (1,381 references) constituting 98 percent of all references made to the list of terms counted in this category (a total of 7,966 references).

Content analysis of Clinton's presidential rhetoric also reveals a sustained and persistent use of terms placing the president squarely within the cultural mainstream of America's religious traditions. This occurs, moreover, with decided increases in the use of these terms in Clinton's communications in the post-1995 era, and with notable spikes in presidential and congressional election years (see Table 3, rows 6 and 7). At the same time, use of these terms in both Clinton's communications (row 6) and total White House communications (row 7) nearly doubles by the year 2000 from the 1993 base year. Controlling for variations in the number of Clinton's personal communications per year, religious terminology appears in anywhere from 47 to 68 percent of these communications.

Consider, for example, efforts like those advocated by the DLC to escape the secularist image of the Democratic party, an image that reared its head yet again in 2004. Importantly, Clinton's personal religious allusions were frequent (see Table 3, row 6), broad, and nonsectarian in nature. Analyzing solely Clinton's communications, one finds religious, moral, or scriptural references in fully 61 percent (2,664 of 4,328) of these communications. These included references such as: Christian/s, Christianity, church/es, faith, God/'s, morals, scripture/s, and values.

What one does not find in Clinton's communications, however, are frequent and specific references to Christianity or particular religions. Of the 9,720 times these words appear in the 2,644 communications using these terms, approximately three quarters (74.7 percent) reference four terms: "God/'s" (35 percent), "religious" (15 percent), "faith" (13.2 percent), and "church/es" (11.5 percent). (7) Indeed, "Christ," "Christian/s," or "Christianity" were mentioned only 311 times by him during his presidency, while he mentioned sectarian terms only 516 times in 2,644 documents. Sectarian terms included references to Baptists, the Bible, to being born again, Catholic, fundamentalism/list, the Koran, Methodists, Mormons, Presbyterians, and Protestants. Biblical allusions are prevalent, but Clinton eschewed direct invocation of sectarian terms. Likewise, when one incorporates total White House communications (Table 3, row 7), religious terms are included in 28 percent (4,822 documents) of the 17,389 files listed on the library website. Indeed, incorporating these data nearly doubles the total number of communications containing these terms, adding 2,178 communications containing these terms to Clinton's verbal total of 2,644. Moreover, the number of total White House references to these terms in these communications increases by nearly 5,806, an increase of approximately 60 percent.

Turning a Phrase? In Search of a Link Gone Missing

While these terminological linkages to Clinton's New Covenant and New Democrat terms and themes are readily apparent, further analysis reveals four patterns that create a rhetorical paradox. These are: (1) the relative paucity of references to the pithy and memorable phrases associated with Clinton's public philosophy, (2) the relative position of these phrases when they are used in communications, (3) a decided fluctuation in their usage during Clinton's years in the presidency, and (4) the relative emphasis on "old" versus "new" Democrat terminology in these communications.

Collectively, the four indicate a persistent failure to "connect the dots" in ways consistent with "branding": the use of memorable summative phrases to create easily recollectable images in consumers' minds of programs, products, or, in this case, core philosophies (Holt 2004). This, in turn, complicates listeners' ability to discern Clinton's unique and sustained rhetorical and policy commitment to his New Covenant during his presidency. After all, both traditional Democrats and Republicans routinely use terms like opportunity, community, and responsibility in their speeches. Clinton's claims as a New Democrat involved his synthesis of these terms into a coherent philosophy of government and citizenship, a branding that required making those relationships clear to citizens by either conjoint use of the terms or repetitive use and explication of the phrase New Covenant.

First, the phrases "New Covenant" and "opportunity, responsibility, community/ and community" or "opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and a community of all Americans" appeared verbatim only rarely. Even then, they appeared only sporadically in White House communications during Clinton's two terms. As noted earlier, in adopting the "opportunity, responsibility, and community" mantra, both Clinton and the DLC certainly understood the idea of repetitive branding and embraced it. So, too, did Clinton's sometimes-rhetorical model, Ronald Reagan. Consider, for example, such signature Reagan phrases as a "shining city on a hill," "the evil empire," and "government is the problem." Remarking on the consistency of Reagan's use of phraseology like this to brand his agenda, Edmund Morris (1999) writes that Reagan consistently used variations on themes enunciated in his 1964 speech endorsing Barry Goldwater for president (i.e., "The Speech") thousands of times over the next quarter century in speeches, radio addresses, and newspaper columns. Moreover, The Speech was presented "with less skill but more raw force" forty years previously in a presentation to the California Fertilizer Association (310).

Yet consider the remainder of Clinton's rhetorical record. Of his 4,328 communications, the branding phrase "New Covenant" appears only 101 times. Moreover, nearly 9 out of 10 appearances (49 out of 55 communications) occurred in 1995, the year dedicated to reestablishing his New Democrat image. Similarly, the branding phrase "opportunity, responsibility, community/and community" appeared only 53 times (in 50 of 4,328 communications; see Table 3, row 8), with three fifths of these communications (i.e., 30 of 50) occurring in 1993, 1996, and 1999 alone. Even more sparsely, the phrase "opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and a community of all Americans" was used only twice. Nor did appearances of these phrases improve significantly when the universe of communications is expanded to total White House communications (row 9). "New Covenant" usage increased to 131 references, while references to "opportunity, responsibility, community/and community" appeared only 70 times (in 67 of 4,328 communications), and references to the longer Clinton riff (i.e., "opportunity for all") remain the same. (8)

Certainly, when all possible combinations of the individual terms in these phrases were factored into the analysis and totaled cumulatively, references attributable solely to Clinton communications increased to 669 references in 377 documents. But this represented branding phrase references in only 8.7 percent of the president's spoken communications (377/4,328). In addition, over one quarter (26 percent) of the communications containing these branding phrases (97/377) occurred in 1996 alone, and nearly half (46 percent) occurred in 1995 (78) and 1996 alone (Table 3, row 10). Nor do things improve significantly if one performs the same analysis for combinations of these branding phrases used in total White House communications (row 11). The number of phrase references increased to 815 in 505 documents, but this represented references in only 3 percent of total White House communications (i.e., 305/17,389 documents). Moreover, nearly 60 percent (290/505) of the documents containing these references occurred in three years: 1995 (references = 99), 1996 (references = 109), and 2000 (references = 82).

As noted earlier, not all White House communications are equal in visibility and perceived importance. Yet even focusing exclusively on presidential inaugurations and State of the Union addresses identifies a pattern of missed opportunities. A review of President Clinton's eight State of the Union addresses identifies twelve uses of the term New Covenant and no uses of the term in either of his inaugural addresses. Yet as row 1 in Table 3 also indicates, all twelve references were in the aforementioned Dick Morris-assisted 1995 State of the Union address geared toward reestablishing Clinton's bona fides as a New Democrat, a clear attempt at rebranding the president.

Combinations of the New Covenant mantra "opportunity, responsibility, community/and community" and Clinton's rife "opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and a community of all Americans" occurred even less in State of the Union addresses. Again, however, these full phrases (as opposed to references to the individual terms in the phrases reported above in Table 3, row 1) were used only sporadically (Table 3, row 12). Indeed, after only one branding phrase reference in the 1993 State of the Union address, the first reference to any combination of these terms in a single phrase did not occur again until 1996 (1), with further and minimal phrase mentions in only the 1997 (3), 1999 (1), and 2000 (5) State of the Union addresses.

Second, when one looks at the relative position of these phrases and terms in either Clinton's communications or total White House communications, a pattern of placement further undermining message branding prevails. Ideally, the more that ideas, terms, or branding phrases appear early in a speech or document (primacy effects), at the end of a speech or document (recency effects), or in both sections, the more likely message reinforcement occurs. In contrast, the more these ideas, terms, and branding phrases are packed into the middle of a communication, and less so in the beginning and/or end, the less likely message reinforcement occurs. In the old truism of preachers, tell your listeners what you're going to tell them, tell them, and then remind them of what you said. (9) But in yet another paradox of the Clinton rhetorical legacy, the orator whose speaking style on occasion was said to be "reminiscent of an old-time Southern preacher" (Smith 1996, 41) failed to apply this truism throughout his presidency.

Starting with the president's State of the Union addresses, over half (7) of his twelve references to the New Covenant appear in the first quarter of these speeches, and one quarter (3) appear in the last quarter. More broadly, content analysis by phrases reveals quite positively that when the terms community, New Covenant, opportuity, and responsibility were used in any phrase combination in Clinton communications, they collectively appeared in the first quarter of the communications over half of the time (357/ 669 = 53.4 percent). However, they again tended not to be reinforced at the end, appearing in the final quarter of his personal oral communications only 14.3 percent of the time (96/669 references).

Moreover, similar placement tended to occur when total White House communications were analyzed, with commensurate percentages of 50.3 percent (410/815 references) and 15 percent (122/815 references), respectively. And more narrowly, the term New Covenant appeared in only 55 of Clinton's 4,328 communications. In turn, of the 101 references to it in those documents, half (53) occurred in the first quarter of the communication, but only 10 references were made in the final quarter. Thus, in terms of brand phrasing generally, the Clinton administration sought more often to take advantage of primacy than recency effects, but also took advantage of neither in over half of all of Clinton's personal and White House communications.

In contrast, when one examines the placement of individual, rather than phrase, references to these same terms, their location throughout Clinton's communications and total White House communications tends to be evenly dispersed. For example, when individual references to opportunity, responsibility, community, and the New Covenant are referenced in Clinton's communications, they appear 27.2 percent of the time at the beginning and 24.3 percent of the time at the end, with the remainder of the references (48.5 percent) in between. Much the same pattern appears when communications with references to these individual terms are analyzed for total White House communications, with 27.5 percent of these terms appearing in the first quarter of each document, and 24 percent appearing in the last quarter. As such, while frequent use was made of these individual terms, over half were located where social science research says they will be least effective: in the middle of most communications (see, e.g., Hovland, Janis, and Kelley 1953). Still, there is more of an effort to gain both primacy and recency effects than was the case with brand phrases.

Third, when references by the president or his staff to such favored DLC or New Democrat terms as "dialogue," "collaboration," "mutual," and "common ground" appear in communications, they fluctuate appreciably in occurrence across his eight years in office (see Table 3, row 13). When they do occur, however, they are fairly evenly distributed in the communications. For example, Clinton's personal use of these terms appeared 23 percent of the time in the first quarter of the documents (25 percent for total White House communications) and 29 percent of the time in the last quarter of the communications (25 percent for total White House communications). Thus, again, some evidence exists of trying to take advantage of both primacy and recency effects, albeit with most references potentially lost in the middle of communications.

Finally, further fostering the Clinton rhetorical paradox was the relative attention given to terms associated with Clinton's New Covenant (opportunity, responsibility, and community), as well as their relative positioning in communications. Arguably, the term "responsibility"--as in "personal responsibility"--is a term historically more consonant with Republican values. Indeed, many African Americans and liberals within the Democratic party thought the term was a "code word" for poor African Americans lacking personal responsibility, a code word calculated to appeal to socially conservative Reagan Democrats (Baer 2000; Waldman 2000) (10) In contrast, Clinton opponents unfairly linked the term "community" to his embracing the idea that environmental factors rather than personal responsibility were dispositive in behavior. (11) Moreover, the term "community" was quite readily morphed by Clinton's critics into Hillary Clinton's now-famous phrase, "it takes a village."

Yet, of these three terms, the one used the least in all the communications available on the Clinton Presidential Library Web site was "responsibility." More precisely, the term "community" (18,497) was used in total White House communications over 2.5 times more than the term "responsibility" (7,043), and "responsibility" was used only half as much as the term "opportunity" (7,043 to 13,377 references). Likewise, the term "responsibility" appeared in the first and last quarters of Clinton's speeches only 24 and 27 percent of the time, respectively. Thus, as with the biblical connotations of the New Covenant that might be off-putting to more secular Democrats and to some independent voters, the negative racial connotations of the term "responsibility" likely cut down on its use by Clinton and the White House.

Conclusion

The preceding analysis of the 17,000-plus communications documents available electronically at the Clinton Presidential Library Web site indicates a profound paradox of the Clinton presidency. The article traces his long-standing commitment to the New Democrat philosophy and demonstrates how consonant his legislative and administrative initiatives were with his New Covenant branding mantra of "opportunity, responsibility, and community." Discerned, as well, was a sustained and persistent effort by Clinton and the White House to use these terms extensively in all communications. Identified in the process were broad themes, patterns of word or phrase usage and placement in communications, and periodicity or rhythms of usage over time by Clinton and his White House. Yet, as noted earlier, popular and press accounts still largely portray Clinton as not having a core set of beliefs.

Why this discrepancy? One prominent line of research by Edwards (1996, 2003) suggests that all presidential rhetoric falls on "deaf ears," and thus can never be a causal agent. As such, no matter what communications strategy emerges from the White House, failure in branding would result (but see Medhurst 1996; Druckman and Holmes 2004; Tulis 2004). It also is possible that factors like those noted at the beginning of this study created images of opportunism, inconsistency, and serendipity that made it impossible to discern a core set of values absent systematic reviews of Clinton's policy and rhetorical content over the years. One thinks, for example, of Clinton's triangulation strategy, dissembling in the Lewinsky episode, and concessions to the more liberal Democratic caucus at the beginning and end of his presidency. Still others point out how advocates of middle-ground (or Third Way) policies, like Clinton in the United States and Tony Blair in Britain, find it difficult to get credit for a coherent public philosophy, because their approach "lacks the sharpness, the hard edges, of the more conventional politics of left and right" (Stephens 2005).

To these factors, however, this systematic and empirical review of Clinton's communications and policy initiatives adds yet another plausible reason for the disconnect: the absence of the use of an effective branding strategy during his years in the White House. Conspicuous, as noted, was the paucity of branding phrases, rather than individual terms, connoting and reinforcing President Clinton's New Covenant philosophy in both his personal communications and in total White House communications. Nor even when these branding phrases were used in communications were they positioned as well as they might have been to take advantage of either primacy or recency effects.

A variety of factors may help account for the patterns of rhetorical content identified in this vein. As noted, certain phrases and terms like New Covenant and responsibility--while perhaps perceived as being useful for reaching Southern Democrats, evangelicals, and Reagan Democrats in election years--could be too off-putting to traditional Democratic party constituencies to use persistently throughout Clinton's term. Indeed, Waldman (2000) confirms that these concerns were salient at different points in time. Mitigating factors aside, however, recent marketing research on the power of branding--and the relative absence and placement of branding phrases in the 17,000-plus documents examined in this study--suggests that these factors did not help the problem.

Future analyses may support, refine, or rebut in whole or in part the patterns, inferences, and arguments offered in this study. Indeed, much more intensive and nuanced reading and analysis of parts of the 17,000-plus documents reviewed quantitatively in this study are needed to get the full flavor of Clinton's communications during this era. In the interim, however, this analysis has revealed a persistent effort by Clinton in word and in deed to offer an alternative public philosophy to Reaganism. For some, including many on the left in his own party, Clinton's vision of a progressive policy agenda animated by a sense of mutual obligation between citizens and the state may be too nonideological, accommodating to realpolitik, and assimilative of opponents' arguments. Like it or not, however, analysis of his public words and deeds strongly suggests that he had a public philosophy and agenda as durable as Reagan's and equally as paradoxical in perception.

Appendix

The first Java application written was a spidering application that crawled through the Web pages of the http://www.clintonpresidentialcenter.org's eight major subject areas (economy, education, environment, top issues, foreign policy, government, health care, community, and family), and that retrieved the relevant text from each of the files within them. The general idea behind the application was to begin at the top level of any given subject area, retrieve a page from the site, and parse through it for HTML anchor tags and JavaScript tags that contained URL linkings within the site. If the URL was one that linked to a relevant subcategory ("Economic Growth" under "Economy," e.g., identified by "... legacy.htm?r=Top^...") or presentation type ("Press Releases," "Fact Sheets," etc., identified by "... legacy2.htm?r=Top^...&cst=..."), and had not been crawled before, it was added to the stack of URLs that needed to be retrieved and parsed in the same way. If it linked directly to content ("http://www.clintonpresidentialcenter.org/legacy/....htm") that had not been retrieved yet, the page's contents were stripped out using hidden HTML tags used by the site's designers to mark the start and end of actual text within the HTML ("<!-Mirrored from Clinton ...->"), any remaining HTML tags were stripped from the content, and the remaining text was saved to a file in a structure that contained the original file name, the subject area, and the presentation type. Text was also lowercased for easier matching, and paragraph breaks were removed.

While duplicates were weeded out of the major subject areas when they were individually crawled, the duplicate checking did not initially extend to the full contents of the site. The results of the crawl yielded 50,097 documents, and a second application was written to identify all of the files that were listed in more than one subject area on the Clinton Presidential Center (CPC) site. Of those 50,097 documents, 17,389 were actually unique, 12,507 of them were listed in more than one subject area, and 4,882 were listed in only one subject area. The CPC Web site says that there are 20,000+ documents on the site, so there appears to be a discrepancy. One thing noticed in the crawl was that subcategories containing an apostrophe or quotation marks within them failed to present any content on the site. As an example, under "Health [right arrow] Nation's Health [right arrow] Health Insurance [right arrow] Children's Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP)," any of the links to presentation types from that page lead to a blank page. That section alone--according to the site--accounts for 168 documents. It is possible, then, that the 2,611+ missing files (if, in fact, they are missing) were simply not retrievable due to problems with the application that served the content from the CPC site.

The final application was used to parse through various combinations of the collected files, matching against a list of words and phrases contained in a Java properties file. Each file was parsed into its own ClintonFile object, which analyzed all matches within the file's text, collecting information on the date of presentation, the type of presentation, the subject area it was contained within, the full sentences that contained each word/phrase match to afford rhetorical context for the terms used, and the position of the match within the document (the 23d word out of 418 total words would yield a 5.5 percent position match). The main application would then take all of these and sort them using a Java Comparator specific to the type of query being performed: in addition to the filtering based on information already available in the ClintonFile objects, this application would eliminate duplicates when necessary and gather other summary-type information for the final report. Summary information included counts of files for each presentation type and subject area (when only files that appeared in single subject areas were counted), as well as an overall weighting of the positions of words and phrases within the files. For weighting, the position percentages were tallied for each rounded percent level (1-100).

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wish to thank Shira Markoff of American University for assistance on portions of this data collection effort. Special thanks to Mark Durant of the University of Georgia for building the Java computer program informing portions of the analysis, as well as to Jennifer Durant for her technical assistance on this project. I also wish to thank George Edwards and the anonymous PSQ reviewers for their guidance. Any errors, of course, remain mine alone. A n earlier version of this article was presented at Hofstra University's conference on "William Jefferson Clinton: The 'New Democrat' from Hope."

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(1.) Assessed are the prevalence, pace, positioning, and timing of terms and phrases related to the New Covenant themes that are referenced in these documents (see the Appendix for details). By including all communication forms (e.g., speeches, executive orders), formats (e.g., press conferences and radio addresses), and media (oral, written, and electronic), this large-N methodological approach broadens the scope of analysis from one solely on individual or sets of selected speeches to a view of total White House communications. In doing so, it goes beyond traditional approaches to the study of presidential communications by recognizing and accommodating the rise of the institutional presidency (see Shapiro, Kumar, and Jacobs 2000; Kumar 2003).

(2.) Because Clinton's New Covenant, the philosophy of the DLC, and the principles of New Democrats are identical, these terms are used interchangeably in this study.

(3.) "A New Covenant: Responsibility and Rebuilding the American Community," October 23, 1991; "A New Covenant for Economic Change," November 20, 1991; "A New Covenant for American Security," December 12, 1991.

(4.) Quirk and Hinchliffe's (1996) argument regarding Clinton's failure to fight for that New Democrat agenda was focused on Clinton's first two years in office. Arguably, however, their observation grew less compelling after Clinton regained his political footing subsequent to the Oklahoma City bombing, as well as during and after the federal government shutdown in 1995. During the remainder of his term, he was very much engaged in fighting for that agenda against Republican assaults on progressive policies and, as this study documents, his New Covenant and New Democrat initiatives.

(5.) Some also might argue that Republicans forced Clinton into supporting much of this legislation after they seized control of Congress in 1994. However, the consistency of this agenda with Clinton's prepresidential rhetoric and his actions as governor of Arkansas, as well as his fight to pass NAFTA in 1993 and his use of executive orders to promote other New Democrat themes, indicate a persistent and enduring commitment to the New Covenant philosophy. As such, while Clinton often needed the support of Republicans to pass aspects of his New Covenant agenda, arguing that he merely reacted to Republicans seriously overstates the case. Still others might contend that the initiatives listed in this table could be attributed to any Democratic president, or even to President George W. Bush. Clearly, many in Clinton's party--especially in the Democratic caucus--did not see many of his initiatives as continuations of what previous Democratic presidents had done. Indeed, and as noted, many derided Clinton's (and the DLC's) initiatives as abandoning or undermining the party's legacy. Moreover, Bush adopted his own version of a triangulation strategy in the 2000 campaign, one that incorporated the opportunity, responsibility, and (later) community components of Clinton's agenda in his campaign rhetoric and later during his administration (Morris 2002, chapter 8). Finally, and as noted in the text, while presidents' legislative initiatives and executive orders may on the surface appear similar, the ends and means employed are different.

(6.) The database includes all Clinton domestic- and foreign-policy communications for his two terms as president. While initially the thought was to apply the analysis only to the domestic-policy domain, computer runs quickly indicated that all communications (domestic and foreign policy) incorporated these themes. Clinton also had used one of his major New Covenant speeches to focus on foreign policy. Obviously, terms like opportunity, responsibility, and God can be used in speeches in ways that are not indicative of Clinton's New Democrat or DLC meanings. For example, Clinton might have only been saying that he was glad "to have an opportunity to speak" to a group or that it was "my responsibility as President" to do something. Thus, a possibility exists of overcounting DLC, New Covenant, and New Democrat terms and phrases. This is not as much of a problem when complete phrases (e.g., "opportunity, responsibility, community") are counted, or when specific terms like Baptist, volunteerism, or family are totaled by the program. At the same time, and despite my effort to comb through previously published Clinton speeches and DLC communications for representative keywords, other terms and phrases that are indicative of the New Covenant theme are likely missing from the analysis. In this event, a possibility exists of undercounting references to DLC, New Covenant, and New Democrat terms and phrases. The extent to which instances of over- or undercounting offset each other in this analysis cannot be determined at this point, but they likely do and are random rather than systematic.

Ensuring that terms are used in proper context would require a detailed review of all 17,000+ documents for all terms and phrases used in the analysis. This is a formidable task that will have to be done eventually to eliminate overcounting but which is not necessary to get a general overview of the terms. In the interim, however the Java program was able to place these terms in context by providing a complete phrase for each term or phrase identified in its crawl through the documents. Thus, in order to get a sense for what the general scope of this problem might be, I conducted separate analyses (one with 17,000+ documents) of several terms and phrases to be sure of substantive relevance. Included were terms like "opportunity to be [here, with you]," "my responsibility," "his/her responsibility," and "God bless." With the exception of"God bless," analysis identified no instance where the percentage of terms eliminated by confounding terms exceeded tenths of one percentile. And combined, these terms eliminated only nine tenths of 1 percent of the phrases involved. "God bless" (as a closing salutation) eliminated 1,713 of the references to "God."

(7.) If one eliminates "God bless" as a perfunctory salutation, the percentages for each term, respectively, are 17.3, 15, 13.2, and 11.5 for a total of 57 percent.

(8.) As noted, Clinton personally used the individual terms "opportunity," "responsibility," and "community" (but not in a phrase) together in a single communication in nearly one quarter of these efforts (i.e., in 96l of 4,328 communications, or 22.2 percent). This might be considered a different way to communicate the president's New Covenant theme. However, scattering these terms throughout a communication requires listeners to discern themes for themselves, a rhetorical burden that all will not be inclined or able to do.

(9.) This advice to seminarians is premised partially on Cicero's dicta that an effective speech states the argument in the beginning and recapitulates it in the end. He also argued that the strongest arguments in a speech should come at the beginning and end, with the weakest arguments in the middle. This advice corresponds with classic social scientific research on the topic (see, e.g., Hovland, Janis, and Kelley 1953). The logic of these primacy and recency effects also has informed research and instruction on risk analysis, classroom reaching, the order of participants in forensic debates, and the structure of legal arguments. Debate has occurred over which placement is best (at the beginning or the end of speeches). We need not resolve this debate for purposes of this study, however. LogicaLly, placing either branding phrases at the beginning or at the end of a speech or document should attain the same kind of primacy and recency effects for Clinton. Moreover, repetition in the beginning and end logically should enhance recall even more.

(10.) It also should be noted that tensions had long existed between the DLC and Black leaders in the Democratic party over what the latter saw as the former's alleged abandonment of African Americans and the central cities. This abandonment was portrayed as the DLC's opposition to affirmative action, appeals to suburban voters, emphasis on personal responsibility, and alignment with the business community (Baer 2000). Indeed, some referred to the DLC as the "southern [sic] white boys' caucus" (Baer 2000, 82).

(11.) Despite Clinton's efforts, and perhaps because of the gap between his rhetoric and his personal behavior in the Lewinsky affair, a 2001 survey by the Democracy Corps reported that 57 percent of respondents associated the term "personal responsibility" with Republicans, with only 25 percent associating it with the Democratic party (Greenberg 2001). Indeed, as Al From (2004) has written, Clinton's "own misbehavior rekindled the values issues."

Robert F. Durant is a professor of public administration and policy in the School of Public Affairs at American University, where he is also a fellow in the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency. His most recent book is Environmental Governance Reconsidered: Challenges, Choices, and Opportunities. His book, The Administrative Presidency Revisited: Public Lands, the BLM, and the Reagan Revolution, won the Gladys M. Kammerer Award from the American Political Science Association for the best book on national polity.
TABLE 1
Examples of New Democrat Themes in Clinton's Rhetorical History,
1974-1992

Date, Venue, and Position New Democrat Themes

September 13, 1974, "Biggest bureaucracy in history";
 Arkansas Democratic "Cut back on wasteful spending and
 State Convention: bloated bureaucracies" as "middlemen of
 Announcement of government [who] meddle with our
 candidacy for governor lives without increasing the common
 of Arkansas good"; "The people want a hand up, not a
 hand out. Our task, our obligation is to
 extend that hand"; "It is time to
 balance the budget ... and balance the
 scales of social justice."

January 9, 1979, Little "We must be mindful that higher quality
 Rock, Arkansas: First education will not come from money
 Inaugural address as alone. The money must be part of a plan
 governor which includes better accountability
 and assessment for students and
 teachers"; "There is a crying need for
 more effective management, more
 efficient delivery of basic services,
 and a renewed spirit of dedication on
 the part of all of us who work for the
 [government]."

July 18, 1980, Referring to need to pick up Great
 Connecticut Democratic Depression spirit as Democrats: "The
 Convention: Invited people met the spirit of those times by
 speaker sticking together and working on
 their problems in a way that was good
 for the majority of the people. We need
 to bring that spirit again today";
 "The Democratic party must stand for
 policies which will fulfill the hunger
 of the American people to have more
 control over their lives on a daily
 basis [through better education and
 training]." In citing cases of local
 government success in dealing with
 crime: "There is only one common element
 in all of them: community control and
 responsibility for preventing crime,
 neighborhood watches, walks, working
 together"; we must "confront the 1980s
 as they are and offer the American
 people not a panacea, not over
 promising, not immediate solutions, but
 a way out of the difficult times with
 discipline and courage."

August 14, 1980, "We Democrats must say forthrightly
 Democratic National [to Americans] that [the United States
 Convention: Speaker, is] in a time of transition ... in which
 outlining Democratic no one can avoid a responsibility
 party challenges to play a part"; "It will require a
 redefinition of the relationship between
 the federal government and big business
 and labor ... and a revitalization of
 our basic industrial structure."
 Tell citizens: "This country deserves
 your best effort, now, and this crisis
 of our generation can be the
 exhilarating accomplishment of your
 lives if you will give that effort
 instead of drop out and cop out."

January 11, 1983, Little "We must give the people a government
 Rock, Arkansas: Second that ... will fight for the people's
 Inaugural address as interest, not to the just respond
 governor special interest[s]; most importantly,
 a government that will give our people
 a better chance to fight for
 themselves."

October 4, 1983, Special On educational reforms involving teacher
 joint Session of the testing: "I agree that any test is no
 Arkansas General measure of whether a person would be a
 Assembly, Little Rock, good teacher; that is not the purpose
 Arkansas: As governor; of the test. The purpose of the test is
 and June 16, 1984: to determine whether those taking it
 Gubernatorial campaign have that threshold of basic skills
 speech in Bentonville, and knowledge in their course area
 Arkansas sufficient to continue in the classroom
 without being required to make a
 further effort to upgrade their skills
 and increase their knowledge"; "To
 those who feel insulted by the test, I
 can only reply that I think it is a
 small price to pay in exchange for
 the biggest tax increase for education
 in Arkansas history"; "Even though it is
 very controversial, I believe that there
 is objective evidence which supports my
 position on the controversial teacher
 testing law, and I am not going to
 change it. I am not going to change it
 "Business.... I'm going to stand tough"
 (1984); leaders who work with me day in
 and day out, I think, will tell you
 that my administration is good for
 business in Arkansas."

January 15, 1985, Little "Too many of us still expect too little
 Rock, Arkansas: Third of ourselves and demand too little of
 Inaugural address each other"; "Work is the ultimate
 source of social welfare"; "The
 established dogma of both national
 political parties are inadequate to the
 needs of the present. The Democratic
 party has been too concerned with
 dividing the fruits of our labors when
 the real need is to increase them, too
 receptive to the demands of its
 individual interest groups when the
 real need is to go beyond them";
 "We may want the government off our
 backs, but we need it by our sides";
 "It is time to go beyond the prison of
 past thinking"; "To promote responsible
 {economic growth), we must have a
 government that operates in practical
 partnership with the private sector, a
 government that fosters economic
 diversity and risk taking and helps
 to unleash the ideas and energy of our
 people"; "We must have a government
 with a commitment to excellence and
 accountability"; "We must push for
 greater involvement of the private
 sector in education."
January 13, 1987, Little "In our highly integrated, highly
 Rock, Arkansas: Fourth competitive world economy, we
 Inaugural address cannot succeed individually without
 overall economic growth and opportunity
 based on greater investment in people,
 greater cooperation between the public
 and private sectors, and a stronger
 sense of community based on principles
 of shared sacrifice and success"; "We
 are in a struggle for tomorrow
 together"; legislative proposal
 "requiring welfare recipients with
 children three or over to sign a
 contract committing themselves, in
 return for government assistance, to a
 course of independence and work, through
 literacy and job training and
 employment."

January 15, 1991, Little I just came from a dedicatory church
Rock, Arkansas: Fifth service over at my church, Immanuel
Inaugural address Baptist Church, where the music raised
 the preaching and prayers made us all
 think about our responsibilities";
 quoting his pastor: "We should focus not
 only on the time and how much we have we
 have ... but also whether we have the
 opportunity to do something timeless";
 notes the "lack of a ... system to give
 people a chance to compete in a world in
 which what you earn depends on what you
 can learn, and we have got to do it
 [build such a system]"; "I'm sick and
 tired of people having children out of
 wedlock and walking off leaving them and
 not trying to support their children";
 "Not just poor children but the children
 of working families should have own
 actions access to college scholarships";
 "If you're going to help people with
 public money, hold them responsible for
 their own actions. You cannot expect the
 community to be responsible for people
 who will not behave responsibly."

October 3, 1991, Little Expressing pride in his accomplishments
 Rock, Arkansas: as governor: "We've done it without
 Announcement for the giving up the things we cherish and
 presidency honor most about our way of life--solid,
 middle-class values of work, faith,
 family, individual responsibility, and
 community"; the United States needs
 leadership that "will provide more
 opportunity, insist on more
 responsibility, and create a greater
 sense of community for this great
 country"; "Government's responsibility
 is to create more opportunity. The
 people's responsibility is to make the
 most of it"; "In a Clinton
 administration, everyone will be able to
 get a college loan as long as they're
 willing give something back to their
 country"; "We've got to expand world
 trade, tear down barriers, but demand
 fair trade policies"; "I spent a great
 deal of time with my great grandparents.
 By any standard, they were poor. But we
 didn't blame other people. We took
 responsibility for ourselves and for
 each other ... I was raised to believe
 in individual ... in family values,
 responsibility, and in the obligation
 of government to help people who were
 doing the best they could"; "It is our
 generation's responsibility to-form a
 New responsibility to-form a New
 Covenant--more opportunity for all, more
 responsibility from everyone, and a
 greater sense of common purpose."

October 23, 1991, Explaining the New Covenant: "Our country
 Georgetown University, has a responsibility to help people get
 Washington, DC: First ahead, that citizens have not only the
 of three "New right but a responsibility to rise as
 Covenant" speeches at far and as high as their talents and
 Georgetown determination can take them, and that
 we're all in this together"; the New
 Covenant is "a solemn agreement between
 the people and their government, to
 provide opportunity for everybody,
 inspire responsibility throughout our
 society, and restore a sense of
 community to this great nation"; "A
 New Covenant to take government
 back from the powerful interests and the
 bureaucracy"; there is a perception
 among the middle class that government
 "no longer don't want some them what ...
 Honors their values"; "People top-down
 bureaucracy telling to do anymore."

TABLE 2
Illustrative Clinton Legislative and Administrative Initiatives
and Their Relationship to the New Democrat Philosophy, 1993-2001

Year Initiative New Democrat Values

1993 Family and Medical Opportunity, responsibility,
 Leave Act community (support for family
 values), family
 Expanding the Earned Opportunity, market rather
 Income Tax Credit than bureaucratic approaches
 to problems
 AmeriCorps Community, volunteerism
 Brady Act Tough on crime
 NAFTA Globalization, free trade,
 new rule sets
 EO 12862 Government Government reform, citizen
 Customer Standards participation, postbureaucratic
 approaches to government
 EO 12864 Information Infrastructure development for
 Infrastructure the information society
 EO 12870 Trade Promotion Changing rules sets in
 Coordination Committee global economy, preparing for
 new economic realities
 EO 12880 National Drug Opportunity for supplying
 Control Program treatment combined with drug
 interdiction
 EO 12881 Establishment of Investment in new technologies
 the National Science and to meet challenges of the
 Technology Council future
 EO 12889 NAFTA Probusiness, free trade,
 opening markets

1994 Crime Bill Personal responsibility for
 * Three strikes and crimes committed, opportunity
 you're out for compensation for
 * Victims' rights victims, deemphasis on
 * Assault weapons ban environmental causes
 General Agreement on Probusiness, free trade,
 Traffics and Trade opening markets
 (GATT)
 EO 12900 Educational Opportunity for all,
 Excellence for responsibility from all, a
 Hispanic Americans community of all Americans
 EO 12901 Identification of Probusiness, free trade,
 Trade Expansion opening markets
 EO 12915 Agreement on Partnerships, collaboration,
 Environmental Cooperation common ground
 EO 12933 Non-Displacement Opportunity, new rule sets
 of Qualified Workers in an information age,
 family, and community
 responsibility (to
 protect individuals from
 global market forces)

1995 Government shutdown Protecting progressive agenda
 (health, education, and
 environment) with downsizing
 and citizen responsiveness
 through National Performance
 Review
 EO 12953 Child Support Personal responsibility,
 Payment obligation, family,
 opportunity
1996 Welfare reform Personal responsibility,
 obligation, family,
 opportunity
 Telecommunications reform New rule sets in an
 information age
 EO 12999 Computer Equal opportunity, preparing
 Technology for for a new economy
 Education
 EO 13019 Child Support Personal responsibility,
 Collection obligation, duty,
 family, opportunity
 EO 13021 Tribal Colleges Equal opportunity
 and Universities
1997 Balanced Budget Act Fiscal responsibility
 Child Care Credit Opportunity, market rather
 than command and control,
 community, family
 Children's Health Equal opportunity, health
 Insurance Program care, fairness
 Hope Scholarship Responsibility (aid linked
 to grades attained),
 opportunity
 Speeding up drug approvals Probusiness, deregulation
 at FDA
 EO 13045 Health Risks Opportunity, health care
 to Children
1998 100,000 new teachers Opportunity and community
 (for ensuring a quality
 education for all)
 EO 13078 Adults with Opportunity, creating a
 Disabilities fair workplace
 EO 13101 Government Waste Government reform,
 Prevention postbureaucratic
 organizational forms
1999 Work Incentives Act Equal opportunity, community
 (disabilities)
2000 EO 13153 Improving Performance-based
 Low-Performing Schools (outcomes-based), managing
 for results, opportunity
 EO 1319 Small Business Probusiness, focus on
 Exporters traditional Republican
 constituency, new rule sets
 for a global economy in an
 information age
 EO 13174 Economic Change in New rule sets for a global
 the New Economy economy in an information
 age

TABLE 3
Trends in Clinton's Rhetorical Presidency: Term and Phrase Counts,
1993-2001

 Year

Source 1993 1994 1995

(1) References in State 13 19 42
of the Union ("New Covenant"
addresses (1) appears 12 times)
(2) Total White House 905 967 915
communications (2)
(3) Clinton's personal 325 378 340
communications (3) (76%) (76%) (75%)
(4) Other DLC terms: 1,161 1,313 1,253
White House (4)
(5) Other DLC terms: 398 471 430
Clinton (4) (94%) (95%) (95%)
(6) Religious terms: 201 279 285
Clinton (5) (47%) (56%) (63%)
(7) Religious terms: 380 477 528
White House (5)
(8) Exact phrase match: 7 5 2
Clinton (6)
(9) Exact phrase match: 8 5 3
White House (6)
(10) Phrase terms, any 25 15 78
combination: Clinton (7)
(11) Phrase terms, any 33 19 99
combination: White House (7)
(12) References in State 1 0 12
of the Union addresses (8) (all "New Covenant")
(13) Favored DLC terms: 170 226 295
White House (9)
 Year

Source 1996 1997 1998

(1) References in State 20 19 27
of the Union
addresses (1)
(2) Total White House 1,033 1,050 1,379
communications (2)
(3) Clinton's personal 440 376 479
communications (3) (78%) (72%) (81%)
(4) Other DLC terms: 1,384 1,515 1,931
White House (4)
(5) Other DLC terms: 532 487 566
Clinton (4) (94%) (94%) (96%)
(6) Religious terms: 386 297 372
Clinton (5) (68%) (57%) (63%)
(7) Religious terms: 610 587 706
White House (5)
(8) Exact phrase match: 12 4 4
Clinton (6)
(9) Exact phrase match: 14 5 5
White House (6)
(10) Phrase terms, any 7 35 33
combination: Clinton (7)
(11) Phrase terms, any 109 45 46
combination: White House (7)
(12) References in State 1 3 0
of the Union addresses (8)
(13) Favored DLC terms: 249 344 405
White House (9)
 Year
 January
Source 1999 2000 2001

(1) References in State 32 35 NA
of the Union
addresses (1)
(2) Total White House 1,403 1,439 94
communications (2)
(3) Clinton's personal 440 488 29
communications (3) (76%) (74%)
(4) Other DLC terms: 2,062 2,186 127
White House (4)
(5) Other DLC terms: 547 635 37
Clinton (4) (94%) (96%)
(6) Religious terms: 391 402 31
Clinton (5) (67%) (61%)
(7) Religious terms: 725 755 54
White House (5)
(8) Exact phrase match: 11 5 0
Clinton (6)
(9) Exact phrase match: 14 13 0
White House (6)
(10) Phrase terms, any 54 36 4
combination: Clinton (7)
(11) Phrase terms, any 64 82 8
combination: White House (7)
(12) References in State 1 5 NA
of the Union addresses (8)
(13) Favored DLC terms: 335 328 14
White House (9)

(1.) Individual terms: community, New Covenant, opportunity,
responsibility.

(2.) Communications per year containing the individual terms:
community, opportunity, responsibility. Communications include
presidential oral communications (speeches, radio addresses, press
conferences, and remarks) and total White House communications
(presidential oral communications plus written communications,
including executive orders, proclamations, memoranda, press releases,
press briefings, fact sheets, reports, statements, and announcements).

(3.) Communications per year containing the individual terms:
community, opportunity, responsibility. Percentages reflect the ratio
of the number of documents using these terms (the numerator) to the
total number of Clinton personal communications per year (the
denominator). The denominators per year are: 425 (1993), 498 (1994),
452 (1995, 564 (1996), 520 (1997), 591 (1998), 582 (1999), and
659 (2000). These denominators also apply to all percentages reported
rows 5 and 6).

(4.) Communications of the Clinton per year containing other DLC terms
(number in parentheses = number of times actual word was used over the
eight years presidency-White House/Clinton): character (830/407);
civility (65/40); collaboration (380/33); common ground (563/276);
corporate responsibility (28/10); customer (1,326/104);
dialogue (2,978/462); discipline (1,888/708); empowerment (1,715/729);
family (11,299/6,667); father/s (1,805/1,028); responsibility (32/17);
market solutions (2/2); mutual obligation (1/1); neighbor (279/191);
neighborhood/s (2,328/1,477); parents (6,526/4,049); partnership/s
(7,529/2,558); personal responsibility (250/179); privatize/ation
(504/166); service (15,135/3,943); values (minus religious values,
including such things as hard work, honesty, integrity, and American
values) (4,265/2,855); volunteer/ism (797/281); work (52,646/24,798);
working families (1,907/892).

(5.) Communications of the Clinton per year containing the individual
terms (number in parentheses = number of times actual word was used
over the eight years presidency-White House/Clinton): Baptist
(217/91); Bible (163/108); Born Again (3/1); Catholic (363/172);
Christ (78/50); Christian (256/140); Christianity (37/27); Christians
(142/94); Church (1,356/839); Churches (455/274); Faith (2,519/1,283);
Fundamentalism (18/3); Fundamentalist (10/3); God*-Bless (1,807/
1,519); God Bless (1,774/1,713); God's (217/163); Hebrew (82/37);
Hindu (13/6); Islam (119/66); Islamic (203/64); Jewish (678/304);
Koran (32/26); Methodist (99/28); Mohammed (66/28); Moral (668/342);
Morals (25/13); Mormon (14/4); Mormons (2/1); Mosque (46/30);
Mosques (50/30); Presbyterian (29/11); Protestant (103/68); Religion
(787/471); Religious (2,679/1,462); Scripture (77/67); Scriptures
(26/22); Synagogue (49/34); Synagogues (87/64); Temple (116/28);
Temples (16/6); Values* Religious (45/28).

(6.) Communications per year containing exact phrase matches
of the following (number in parentheses (=) number of times phrase was
used over the eight years of the Clinton presidency--White
House/Clinton): opportunity responsibility community (12/9);
opportunity responsibility and community (58/44).

(7.) Communications per year containing the following
phrases, in any combination (number in parentheses (=) number of
times phrase was used eight years of the Clinton presidency--White
House/Clinton): community individual responsibility and opportunity
(0/0); community individual responsibility opportunity (0/0);
community of all (87/83); community opportunity and individual
responsibility (0/0); community opportunity and responsibility (4/2);
communityopportunity individual responsibility (0/0); community
opportunity responsibility (3/2); community responsibility and
opportunity (0/0); community responsibility opportunity (0/0);
individual responsibility community and opportunity (0/0); individual
responsibility community opportunity (0/0); individual responsibility
opportunity and community (0/0); individual responsibility opportunity
community (0/0); New Covenant (131/101); opportunity community and
individual responsibility (0/0); opportunity community and
responsibility (0/0); opportunity community individual responsibility
(0/0); opportunity community responsibility (0/0); opportunity for all
(358/273); opportunity for all responsibility from all in a community
of all Americans (2/2); opportunity individual responsibility and
community (0/0); opportunity individual responsibility community
(1/1); opportunity responsibility and community (58/44); opportunity
responsibility community (12/9); responsibility community and
opportunity (1/1); responsibility community opportunity (0/0);
responsibility from all (158/151); responsibility opportunity
and community (0/0); responsibility opportunity community (0/0).

(8.) Phrases--New Covenant; opportunity, responsibility, and community
(in any combination).

(9.) Communications per year containing the terms (number in
parentheses = number of times actual word was used over the eight
years of the Clinton presidency--White House): collaboration (380),
common ground (563), dialogue (2,978), mutual (1,198).

TABLE 4
DLC Term and Value References in State of the Union Addresses

 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997

Character 1 1 1
Civility
Collaboration
Common ground 2 2
Corporate responsibility
Customer
Dialogue 1
Discipline 1
Empowerment 1 2 1 2
Family 3 11 6 9 7
Father/s 1 2 1 1
Individual responsibility 1 1
Market Solutions
Mutual obligation
Neighbor 2 1
Neighborhood/s 5 2
Parents 2 8 8 12 12
Partnership/s 1 1 1 2 2
Personal responsibility 1 1
Privatization
Privatize
Service 4 3 5 3 4
Values*religious 2 6 5 5 3
Volunteer/ism 1 1
Work 14 33 42 35 21
Working families 1 2 6
Total 29 74 76 78 58

 1998 1999 2000 Total

Character 1 4
Civility 1 1
Collaboration 0
Common ground 1 5
Corporate responsibility 0
Customer 0
Dialogue 1 2
Discipline 2 4 2 9
Empowerment 1 1 1 9
Family 9 6 7 58
Father/s 1 5 11
Individual responsibility 2
Market Solutions 0
Mutual obligation 0
Neighbor 1 4
Neighborhood/s 4 2 3 16
Parents 8 9 13 72
Partnership/s 4 2 4 17
Personal responsibility 2
Privatization 0
Privatize 0
Service 2 2 3 26
Values*religious 2 1 3 27
Volunteer/ism 2
Work 16 30 27 218
Working families 3 2 3 17
Total 52 62 73 502
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Title Annotation:Bill Clinton
Author:Durant, Robert F.
Publication:Presidential Studies Quarterly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
Words:14657
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