Checking Out

With all hope vanished for universal health care, Bill Clinton will settle for less. But how much less?

When F. Scott Fitzgerald pronounced his famous definition of a first-rate intelligence -- the ability to hold two opposing ideas at the same time and still function -- he offered an example the Clinton Administration seems to have taken to heart. "One should be able to see that things are hopeless," Fitzgerald wrote, "and yet be determined to make them otherwise." That could be a job qualification for White House aides. In a summer when health-care reform has run into one deadly obstacle after another, the Administration never abandoned its line that all things were still possible.

Until now. At the...

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