Now, voters expect `changes' // And USA is making its list
Voters' one-word ultimatum - CHANGE - evoked a two-word response: Clinton-
Now, it's time to elaborate.
The electorate that chose Gov. Bill Clinton and Sen. Al Gore is clearly restless,
but hardly directionless.
After giving President Bush and Vice President Quayle their walking papers,
voters are ready to give Clinton and Gore marching orders.
``Sweeping changes,'' demands Tommy Bennett, 33, a housekeeper at a Chicago
hospital. ``More jobs, better housing, better education.''
Tuesday's election of Clinton and Gore - a choice of baby boomers, by baby
boomers - made it clear that some issues no longer cut deeply as they might have
a generation ago:
- Admissions of marijuana-smoking, by both men.
- Gore's service - and Clinton's lack of it - in Vietnam.
``People are willing to overlook those issues because we've come to realize that it
will be impossible for anyone to get involved in public life if they're judged by
everything they did in their youth,'' says Beth Wittcoff, 37, a homemaker and
government activist in Southborough, Mass.
Wittcoff did judge Clinton, and gave him her vote, based on other, present- tense
issues. She wants ``new direction on health care, and public works programs that
will put people back to work.''
``Everyone's saying how he has to make his move in the first 100 days, but I'm
willing to give him more time,'' she says. ``You can't turn around 12 years of the
Reagan-Bush administration in a few months.''
Ask John Hilliard what he wants from Clinton-Gore, and he begins, ``I know
what I don't want. I've seen it'' under Reagan and Bush.
``I don't want trickle-down economics, an indifferent environmental policy, an
anti-feminist agenda ... and a humongous disregard for middle- class citizens,''
says Hilliard, 24, who works at a coffee shop in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Hilliard wants Clinton to ``move very, very quickly on environmental issues. I'd
also like to see him, with his wife's input, do more about women's issues.''
Coffee shop patron Joshua Friedman, 25, chimes in that the young people
Clinton and Gore inspired to vote will expect the new administration to improve
their job outlook.
``There are lots of college graduates around here who can't get a job to pay off
their student loans,'' Friedman says.
Bonnie Maxwell, manager of a San Francisco employment agency, has watched
jobs dwindle and salaries drop.
``It's going to take a while, and we have to go through a huge healing process,
but under Clinton, things will be so much better,'' Maxwell says. ``People
coming in today seem relieved.''
Sonya Nash's first-ever presidential vote helped put Clinton-Gore over the top.
But the next day Nash, 21, admits, ``I don't have my cheerleader suit on'' about
the new team.
``I feel a little optimistic but also a little scared,'' says the Houston clothing store
assistant manager. ``Because you have the feeling that once they're in office, they
tend to be the same as the others.''
Michael Elliott, a cobbler in Plantation, Fla., says Clinton can't act soon enough
to address crises in the nation's economy and schools: ``As soon as the man takes
office, he needs to instill new policies.''
Los Angeles metal worker Kenneth Kneeler, 56, says Clinton ``should work with
the new Congress, get rid of the gridlock. But what I want him to do and what I
expect him to do are two different things.''
He says his vote for Clinton was mostly a vote against Bush. But at least, he
says, ``It's a change. And if we don't like him, we can get rid of him in four
For Los Angeles actor Danny Portnoff, the need for change is so acute that ``I
want to assume (Clinton) is the right man for the job.''
Philadelphia carriage driver John Katulka agrees: ``Clinton has a rare opportunity
- the people of this country are ready to accept just about anything he does
But Katulka, who voted for Ross Perot, warns that change-hungry Americans
may be short on patience. He urges Clinton to ``change things right away'' or risk
the wrath of voters.
Contributing: Kevin Johnson, John Larrabee, Jonathan T. Lovitt , Haya El
Nasser, Lori Sharn, Deborah Sharp.
CUTLINE:WHAT HE WANTS: John Hilliard, 24, who works at a coffee shop
in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, wants Clinton to move quickly on the environment
and women's issues, and think about the middle class. CUTLINE: Tommy
Bennett, employee at Chicago hospital
PHOTO;b/w,Tony Dejak,AP;PHOTO;b/w,Jonathan Kirn,AP