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First, were the Nixon and Clinton affairs truly as different as my memory makes them? Were the villains of Watergate as villainous and the heroes as heroic as I remember them? Were nearly all the players on both sides of l'affaire Lewinsky as shallow and fatuous as they seemed? Or to put the question in broader historical context, was the impeachment of Bill Clinton truly distinct, not only from Watergate, but from all of the other (fortunately few) occasions on which a president was seriously threatened with removal from office? Second, if the Clinton impeachment really was as bizarre, unprecedented, and unsettling an event as it seemed, how could such a thing have happened? Finally, what are the implications for the future of the presidency, and more generally, for the project of governance in America, of the incredible but incontrovertible fact that a president of the United States was impeached and nearly stripped of his office for lying about sexual infidelity?



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