I remember one of the first times my then-girlfriend and I left our apartment for any sustained period—our offices were both closed for a couple of days—after September 11. We were strolling around Greenwich Village, surveying the still mostly empty shops and restaurants, when she—a lapsed anarcho-capitalist, and still a harder-core libertarian than I—turned to me and said, a little surprised to find herself saying it, "I wish Clinton was still president." I was shocked and a little horrified… not because she'd said it, but because I suddenly realized that I did too.
All of which is to say, I think I have a sense of how conservative Bruce Bartlett felt when he penned this little encomium to the 42nd president. Of course, Bartlett's probably just taking the opportunity, what with all the media buzz around the new Clinton bio, to take an oblique swipe at George W. for his deficiencies on some key conservative issues, but I've been surprised in conversation at how many D.C. conservatives who railed against him during his time in office now find themselves saying (usually quietly) that he wasn't so bad after all. Though maybe that's just the power of contrast.