Election 2002: Say Good Night, Bill

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A parallel shift in the culture suggests that Clinton-era values are no longer America's. Though a baby boomer, Bush rejects the instant-gratification ethic embraced by Clinton, the nation's first baby boomer President. Bush went from party-hearty frat boy to hard liquor--drinking Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (until he shaped up in his 40s) without stopping to dabble in the counterculture or go anywhere in a VW bus. He often laments not being one of the Greatest Generation he so admires (although he was no more up front about not going to Vietnam than was Clinton). Whereas Clinton liked going on MTV with 18-year-olds, Bush urges them and their parents to return to an "era of responsibility."

Clinton revered CEOs; they now appear regularly in televised perp walks. Clinton loved Hollywood; celebrities like Barbra Streisand had his ear and an invitation to the Lincoln Bedroom. Bush doesn't have movie stars over; he's in bed with Laura by 9:30.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the one politician to survive the association with Bill, although at a high personal price. If she decides to run for President, she may want to change her name yet again and become a Rodham once and for all.

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