Perjury. Impeachment. Sex with an intern in the Oval Office. Parsing the meaning of "is."
Apparently, those were the good old days for people responding to the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. They rated former President Bill Clinton as the most popular political figure in the land, with 55 percent viewing him favorably compared to 23 percent who had an unfavorable opinion of him.
By comparison, President Barack Obama's favorable-unfavorable numbers were 47-41 and Sarah Palin's were 30-48.
Of course, the Monica Lewinsky scandal probably isn't the wellspring for the fond thoughts of Clinton in these poll respondents. More likely, they're thinking about how much better life seemed in the days of budget surpluses and an economy that appeared to be humming along at the time — even though the dot-com bubble was getting ready to burst.
Clinton's favorable numbers may also reflect his ability to convince large numbers of Americans that he truly did feel their pain, a capacity for empathy that seems all too absent in the current crop of political leaders — including Obama, whose ability to maintain his cool can come across as aloofness.
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