Almost as soon as the final gavel came down on President Clinton's Senate impeachment trial, the Democrats started talking about revenge. Well, not "revenge," exactly-the word sounded much too bloodthirsty. Instead, they talked in public about "vindication": Come November, the 10 House managers who prosecuted the president would pay with their jobs, and Mr. Clinton would be vindicated.
But things haven't worked out quite like the Democrats intended. If Mr. Clinton was staking his reputation on the defeat of the House managers, he's certainly not going to like the result.
Of the 12 managers running for reelection (Charles Canady of Florida is retiring to honor his term-limits pledge), 10 appear to be cruising to victory. They are: Henry Hyde (Ill.), Bob Barr (Ga.), Ed Bryant (Tenn.), Steve Buyer (Ind.), Chris Cannon (Utah), Steve Chabot (Ohio), George Gekas (Penn.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Asa Hutchinson (Ark.), and James Sensenbrenner (Wis.).
After 20 years in the House, Bill McCollum (Fla.) was practically guaranteed an easy reelection, but he opted instead to run for an open Senate seat. He's locked in a dead heat with insurance commissioner Bill Nelson, who never utters the word "impeachment" in his attacks against the Republican. Indeed, the only one to mention it is Mr. McCollum himself-and then only in fundraising letters targeted at his loyal conservative base.
Impeachment was unpopular among Jim Rogan's constituents in southern California, but pundits say that has little if anything to do with his see-saw battle for reelection. Instead, he's faced with a district that's changing underneath him: Upper-middle-class lawyers, stockbrokers, and engineers are moving out of Glendale and Burbank, only to be replaced by young Hispanic families and liberal employees of studios like Warner Brothers and Dreamworks.
Even without his impeachment role, Mr. Rogan would be one of the most endangered Republicans in the House. But his high visibility as a manager has allowed him to tap into a nationwide network of anti-Clinton donors, raising more than $6 million for the most expensive House race in history. Despite that fundraising prowess, his race is considered too close to call-small vindication, no doubt, for a president obsessed with his legacy and his place in history.