Bill Clinton? Not as much as "The Almanac...


March 09, 1992

CONFUSED ABOUT Bill Clinton? Not as much as "The Almanac of American Politics." Here's what it wrote of Governor Clinton in 1986:

"His convincing victory in the 1984 election established Bill Clinton's strength in Arkansas without bringing him the national acclaim he got after he was first elected to the office in 1978. He was then 32, a graduate of Yale Law, a Rhodes Scholar, with a wife who is a lawyer and used her maiden name; some writers, absurdly, mentioned this young incoming governor of a small state as a possible president. That same background, and his attention to national issues, hurt him" when he ran for re-election -- and lost.

Then, running again in 1982, "Clinton made a point of admitting errors and changing his personal demeanor: his hair was cut shorter and his wife called herself Hillary Clinton . . ." He regained the governorship, but the Almanac concluded, "the likelihood is that Clinton will continue as a regional political figure of note . . . an officeholder of some accomplishment but of limited national ambitions."

Oh yeah? Two years later, the Almanac had changed its tune, "Clinton has been mentioned as a candidate . . . for the presidency . . . He is well-known to the national press and Democratic pols; he has a creditable record . . . he is southern, in a race that has no southern candidates but lots of early southern primaries; he is acceptable to liberals while being more post-liberal himself; he is capable of both television-cool articulation and old-time oratory, an officeholder of some accomplishment but of limited national ambitions . . . . Will he run?"

Yes, but in 1992, not 1988.

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