THE RULES FROM 1996

LIKE THE WOMEN WHO BUY DATING GUIDES, CANDIDATES YEARN FOR SUREFIRE ADVICE--AND COMB EACH CAMPAIGN FOR TIPS

Out go the lights on the '96 campaign, and it's time to ask what we've learned. The voters couldn't have learned a lot, unless they were unaware that education is good and drugs are bad. Future candidates, however, will take away meaning. For instance: Don't discuss entitlements in the heat of a campaign. It's like putting metal in a microwave. Small fires break out, and dousing is not only exhausting but may also elicit promises that cannot be kept and make serious reform even more difficult. This is why Washington invents commissions.

By all means, smile. The candidate sporting a silly...

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