Men Of The Year

There is rubble everywhere around us now. The fate of a President moved from the hands of a flushed girl on a rope line to the halls of a howling Congress in battle fatigues. Civility, long rationed,

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Diana Walker / Time Life Pictures / Getty

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So most of them had no appetite for mercy in this season. They feared that if their punishment stopped at censure, he would claim vindication, light a cigar and lose not a moment's sleep. When in the final days the last undecided Republicans said, privately and publicly, just admit that you lied and we'll let you go free, Clinton would not run the risk of believing them. The terrain is laid with traps; assassination is a sport; trust turned to chalk long ago.

When the bombs began to fall, the questions immediately arose: Was Clinton doing this to stop Saddam, or was he doing it to save himself? The very charge became evidence against him. A man who cannot be trusted to do the right thing is not trusted even when he does.

This, then, is the legacy of a year that cannot end too soon. A faithless President and a fervent prosecutor, in a mortal embrace, lacking discretion, playing for keeps, both self-righteous, both condemned, Men of the Year.

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