Bill Clinton says he made a mistake. Jacob Levy at TNR's Open University reflects on Bill's bare-knuckle politics in an interesting post.
After all, the tension (if it is a tension) between Clinton the smart and charismatic progressive and Clinton the brutal bare-knuckles campaigner was such a common trope coming out of the 1992 campaign that it could get put at the center of Joe Klein's Primary Colors. Clinton may have beat Bush in the fall of 1992 by feeling the audience's pain--but he beat Paul Tsongas in the spring by blanketing Florida in lies and deceptions about Social Security and Israel. Nothing Bill's done in the last several weeks should come as any surprise to anyone who remembers Florida '92. Later, he dispatched Jerry Brown with one of those strategic shows of temper, exploding at him in a debate that Brown had crossed the line by mentioning the corruption charges involving shady deals between the Arkansas state government and Hillary's law firm: "You ought to be ashamed of yourself for jumping on my wife. You're not worth being on the same platform as my wife."