Inside the beltway - Clinton has only two years left to determine his legacy. What should he do with this time?
Appearing to receive at least an electoral reprieve from impeachment, how will Bill Clinton and his White House staff spend their final two years defining his legacy?
Already, the right and the left, in their journals and conferences, are attempting to spin it in their own distinctive ways.
Leftists see Clinton as a status quo politician, who has never truly been committed to their democratic socialist agenda. A true liberal, they insist, would be promoting sweeping social programs, such as a single payer healthcare plan.
Rightists see Clinton as a skillful promoter of a corporatist-style socialism.
Jealous of his popularity, angered by his evasiveness, conservatives believe Clinton's agenda - no matter what he says - is anti-free market, and anti-traditional values.
Given his current high poll ratings, Clinton certainly does not have to care - for now - what his ideological critics think. But how should Clinton spend his final two years?
The White House's top items include supporting NAFTA, supporting the Kyoto Treaty on global warming, using the budget surplus to shore up Social Security, improving public schools, protecting people from HMO abuses, and increasing the minimum wage.
Passing these items on the agenda may take a struggle. Conservative Republicans will certainly fight on every item except free trade Furthermore, passing the first two items will demand forging cross-party coalitions, and taking heat from key Democratic Party constituencies. However, the Republicans are weakened and Clinton is adept at bridging disparate coalitions.
Insuring that the US doesn't fall into the economic malaise affecting the rest of the world, is a primary concern for Clinton's legacy, for several reasons. First: The longer the economy remains strong, the more likely that Clinton ends his tenure being favorably liked. Second: His chances for success will be greater now, while Republicans struggle to recoup. Third: The coming presidential campaign will limit his time frame to take effective action.
Clinton's successor is the final item to determine his historical standing.
Harold Ickes said earlier this year, 'In no small measure, Clinton now sees the election of Gore as perhaps his primary legacy.' Clinton believes that it will take another four years to see through his administration's vision.
Constantly, Clinton finds himself in real jams, takes a beating PR-wise, and yet manages to keep moving forward. But the last two years will determine whether he is remembered most for the deep-seated animosity he inspired, or for a man who made lasting, substantial achievements.