Little Known Presidential Population Leadership

The media did not know what to make of this list of good things for a nation to want and not want, grow or not grow. The Council website expressed a desire to “catalyze a national movement” which would commit all governments, Federal to local to state, and all communities and stakeholders, to “Sustainability planning.” News outlets gave the rollout of the final report of the Sustainability project one day of skimpy coverage, then moved on.

One sympathizes with the media and with any book reviewers who failed to see Clinton’s PCSD report as a chapter in an important larger, multi-author work on population growth sponsored by Eisenhower/Draper, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon/ Rockefeller, Ford, Carter/Gerald Barney. And Clinton? The run of presidential population commissions crested at seven, barely, if we are very generous with the Clinton Council document.

Whether one concludes that Clinton is now #7 or the string has only reached #6, Clinton again earns his nick-names Slick Willy and The Triangulator as he presided over a historic missed opportunity to give life to Sustainability’s invaluable and core idea – nothing is sustainable that grows without limit.

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Otis L. Graham, Jr

Professor Emeritus of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author or editor of more than fifteen books, including “Debating American Immigration, 1882-Present” (with Roger Daniels) and “Environment Politics and Policy, 1960s to 1990s”. He lives in Santa Barbara, CA.

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