Sunday, October 01, 2006

Of Matters Personal and Public

Bill Clinton's outburst on Fox News Sunday one week ago has opened the doors of conversation about his legacy as a president and about his role in our nation's failure to prevent the attacks on 9/11.

Clinton's moral failings sapped his reserves of "political capital" and distracted him and a nation from more important matters, such as the threat from Islamic terrorists. No person is free to choose the reaction others may have to their own actions. If only life were so arranged! So, in analyzing the culpability of our past president, we should view his actions seperately from the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the responses of his political adversaries.

It seems clear that one lesson of the Clinton presidency is that it won't do for a politician to argue that his or her personal life is strictly personal. Indeed, Clinton seems to be the most glaring example in recent memory that this just can't be so. Until politicians can act in a vacuum, their personal reputations will affect their ability to get things done. I wish it weren't that way, but reality dictates otherwise.

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