Let’s Talk Clinton: Robert Jay Lifton

. . . next luminary . . .

Clinton’s sensitivity and his capacity to change and learn and renew himself could be put to excellent purpose. But one requires an ethical core and elements of anchoring or stability with the protean and the fluid. I see him as a man with moral convictions but insufficiently courageous in seeing them through.

Clinton’s style of proteanism has been too sensitive to everyone’s inclinations, which is why he arouses such strong passion. His backing down encourages his enemies to stop anything he initiates and shows his weakness and exposes his jugular more than if he’d fought for something. Partial defeats out of strong convictions would leave him in better shape than compromising and backtracking. He comes out weaker, lesser.

He’s so much like the rest of us: confused by rapid change and uncertainty. His flexibility is appropriate for our times, but has to be combined with a moral core.