Although there was probably a lot more going on, the top news stories of this particular December 30th had to do with reports of the first U.S. troops wounded on the ground in Bosnia. Not by direct enemy fire, but by a roadside landmine taking out a Humvee. Despite news that the wounds weren't fatal, it still sent a message that this conflict wouldn't be the cakewalk it was set out to be.
The other big news was the budget and the shutting down of some Government services as the result. Ongoing talks were talking place between President Clinton and Senate leader Bob Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The proposed budget called for the biggest overhaul of Social Services in 60 years and the furlough of some 300,000 government workers who were not likely to return back to work anytime soon. The question, certainly on most media observers minds was, why weren't there mass protests?
In this segment of NPR's All Things Considered for December 30th, the question was put to two pundits; Todd Gitlin representing, the left and David Frum, representing the right. In an interesting analysis, it was argued that the Left had lost its direction (apathy) but the right were in danger of splintering (the Newt factor). Gitlin decrying the fact that the Left really didn't like the Social Programs anyway, that they no longer had a focus point and that the protests had no leader. Frum tut-tutted that the country was really mostly conservative anyway and if they really wanted to get anything done by way of protest, they had AARP to do it for them.
And that was what it looked like sixteen years ago. My, how times change. But the Budget crisis seems to go on forever.
As do wars.