Why They Really Run

It's not because they're humble, or desperate to reform health care. The dirty little secret: candidates are ambitious

UPI / Clinton Press Office / Landov

A young Clinton as congressional intern in 1968

There are presidential candidates for virtually every taste, yet citizens find the menu inadequate. They tell pollsters they are discontented with the selection and generally sick of politics and politicians. In part, they are just being polite. The notion that people hate politics and that politicians are all phonies is so ingrained that to tell a pollster that, yeah, politicians are O.K. and the system is not so bad would almost be a violation of democratic etiquette.

Yet voters are also right to feel that something is phony about democratic politics and that it's getting worse. Even a candidate who agrees...