Clinton's Bottom Line

November 17 was a grand day in the career of Bill Clinton, the day when he proved that he is a man of firm principle, and that his "vision" -- the term has become a journalistic reflex -- has real substance. "President Emerges As a Tough Fighter," the New York Times announced on the front page the next day. Washington correspondent R.W. Apple wrote that Clinton had now silenced his detractors, who had scorned him for his apparent willingness to back down on everything he claimed to stand for: "Mr. Clinton retreated early on Bosnia, on Haiti, on homosexuals in the military, on important elements of his economic plan [namely, the minuscule stimulative package]; he seemed ready to compromise on all but the most basic elements of his health-care reforms. Critics asked whether he had a bottom line on anything. On NAFTA, he did, and that question won't be asked much for a while."
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