The Political Interest: Tough. But Smart?

Tough. But Smart?

"THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE OUT!" FEW EXPRESSIONS OF ANTICRIME muscularity sound so satisfying, which is why, after embracing the idea in last week's State of the Union address, Bill Clinton was rewarded with his longest standing ovation (22 seconds). Here, the President said, is a solution that's both "tough and smart."

Why is a self-proclaimed "policy wonk" like Clinton, a man who enjoys nothing better than noodling the ramifications of governmental remedies, so charmed by the kind of kindergarten criminology some of the current "three strikes" proposals represent? Part of the reason is that little serious thinking took place. "The President...

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