Law of the land???

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KingOpps

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Jul 6, 1998, 3:00:00 AM7/6/98
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New York Times:

After Trip to China, Clinton Shifts Gears
By JAMES BENNET

WASHINGTON -- After a long trip to China that his aides believe strengthened
the president against the Republican Congress and Kenneth Starr, the
independent prosecutor, President Clinton returned home this weekend and
immediately took to the air waves on a domestic issue, his high hopes for
improving ... fruit juice.

In his weekly radio address Saturday morning, Clinton did not mention human
rights or economic growth in China, or the future of U.S.-China relations.
Instead, he announced new regulations to increase the safety of fruit and
vegetable juices.

In what has become a favorite formula for this White House, Clinton dropped
his foreign trip cold when he touched American soil and instantly turned to
domestic policy. His aides planned events on health care, drugs and juvenile
crime to remind voters of the president's devotion to fixing problems that
might seem more pressing than Chinese rights or
rockets.

With some of his closest advisers deeply pessimistic about the chances of
getting major legislation passed during the rest of the year, Clinton plans to
issue a series of executive orders to demonstrate that he can still be
effective.

"Stroke of the pen," said Paul Begala, an aide to Clinton, summarizing the
approach. "Law of the land. Kinda cool."

At the same time, with an eye to the brewing budget fight and the
congressional elections this fall, he is expected to step up his criticism of
the Republican Congress.

Some of the president's closest advisers have concluded that there will be
no budget deal this year, unlike the bipartisan, balanced-budget agreement
struck amid much fanfare a year ago. Having already failed at one of Clinton's
top domestic priorities -- sweeping tobacco legislation -- they hope to exact a
political toll from the Republicans for Beltway gridlock.

On Tuesday, Clinton intends to hold a ceremony to issue an executive order
to promote greater access to health care for federal employees, aides said. He
will couple that move with a plea to Congress to pass his "Patients' Bill of
Rights," legislation to set standards for managed care.

As a result of all this domestic politicking, the China trip is likely to
slip off Washington's radar screen very fast. In the same manner, when Clinton
returned in early April from a lengthy trip to Africa, he immediately held a
Rose Garden ceremony to boast about the U.S. economy and to describe his
legislative agenda on education, highways and
tobacco.

"We tend not to spend a lot of time talking about what we've just done,"
said Ann Lewis, the White House communications director. "Or, to put it
differently, we could talk about it, but you wouldn't write about it, so that
wouldn't make much sense."

Yet Clinton's advisers are banking on political momentum from his trip to
China. They hope that the success of the trip will blunt congressional hearings
into decisions by the Clinton administration to permit U.S. companies to launch
satellites on Chinese rockets.

Ms. Lewis sorted through a stack of photocopied editorials from Pittsburgh
and Fort Worth and Abilene, Texas, arguing that Clinton had received strong
reviews nationwide, including in such editorially chilly pages as those of The
Wall Street Journal.

As with the Africa trip, Clinton is returning home having just received an
unexpected lift from the courts. While the president was in Senegal in April, a
federal judge in Little Rock, Ark., dismissed Paula Corbin Jones' sexual
misconduct case against him; this time, while the president was in China, a
federal judge here rebuked Starr and dismissed the tax-evasion indictment he
had won against Webster Hubbell, Clinton's old friend and former
Justice Department appointee.

One senior adviser said the trip, which resulted in a flood of favorable
news articles, showed Clinton attending to the substance of his job. As a
result, he contended, Starr's decision last week to call a high-profile
witness, Linda Tripp, heightened the contrast between the investigation at home
and Clinton's work abroad, making the former seem "small and petty."

But any such impression could quickly fade, because this White House has a
sorrowful history of seeing its well-laid plans vaporized by unpleasant
surprises. After all, it was barely two days after Clinton returned from Africa
that the first news report appeared detailing his administration's decisions to
permit satellite launchings in China.
Sunday, July 5, 1998
******************************

Get this line:

With some of his closest advisers deeply pessimistic about the chances of
getting major legislation passed during the rest of the year, Clinton plans to
issue a series of executive orders to demonstrate that he can still be
effective.

"Stroke of the pen," said Paul Begala, an aide to Clinton, summarizing the
approach. "Law of the land. Kinda cool."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Stroke of the pen. Law of the land. Kinda cool." Tell me, how does na
Executive order become law of the land WITHOUT being passed by Congress? When
was the last time Klinton had the power to make laws that way? Because I nerver
heard a thing about it.

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