The Political Interest Back to the War Room

Late on Election Day last week, the message magicians who had brilliantly guided Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign could hardly contain themselves. James Carville and Paul Begala predicted a "twofer": Governor Jim Florio, their horse in New Jersey, would coast to re-election, and politicians everywhere would learn the Big Lesson. "Florio shows you can do the hard things that have to be done ((like raising taxes)) and defeat an opponent who offers feel-good stuff ((like tax cuts))," Carville crowed.

Reality hit within hours. The race that would make the case for activist government was lost. Carville and Begala were almost too...

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