A quarter century on, such optimism seems naive.
Consider the United States, the paragon of liberal democracy.
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll finds that only 14 percent of the people approve of Congress and only 19 percent approve of the GOP. Seventy-one percent believe America is headed in the wrong direction.
Nor is this the exceptional crisis of a particular presidency.
JFK was assassinated. LBJ was broken by race riots and anti-war demonstrations. Richard Nixon, facing impeachment, resigned. Gerald Ford was rejected by the electorate. Ronald Reagan was highly successful ? like Nixon, he won in a 49-state landslide after his first term ? but during the Iran-Contra scandal of 1987 there was a real threat of a second impeachment. And Bill Clinton was impeached.
Our democracy seems to be at war with itself.
Now there is talk of impeaching Obama. It will become a clamor should he grant executive amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants.
Political science has long described what seems to be happening.