“There’s an anger in him that I find surprising,” one senior aide, who has known and served both Clintons for years, told me this spring. “There seems to be an abiding anger in him, and not just the summer thunderstorms of old. He has been called into question repeatedly by top staff. The fact is, you can only weigh in so often on this stuff. It’s just a huge force of nature.”…

In the end, this is Clinton’s most grievous sin, his steady refusal to take grown-up responsibility for the consequences of his own actions. In the White House, on the day of his last sexual encounter with Monica Lewinsky, Clinton told her that he was worried that a foreign embassy might be listening in on their calls, and that if she were ever questioned, she should say they were just friends. Then he looked into her eyes and sang, “Try a Little Tenderness,” a song that goes: “She may be weary, women do get weary, wearing the same shabby dress.” On the day this winter that he accused Barack Obama of spinning a “fairy tale” about Obama’s anti-war stance, Clinton went on to whine about an Obama campaign research sheet criticizing his business dealings and insisting, “Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn’t take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon.” So, yes, let us stipulate: Ken Starr was a prurient, partisan zealot. Yes, other ex-presidents have made a lot of money and it is hard to begrudge Clinton his earnings (even if he did take six million nickels for a speech to the Australian Council for the Peaceful Reunification of China). Yes, Obama is a daring opponent who thinks he is hot shit and has benefited from the same enthusiasm, energy, and fresh-faced appeal that a fella named Bill Clinton once elicited (but he has suffered from some of the same skepticism, too). It is Clinton’s invariable insistence that his problems are someone else’s fault, and that questions or criticisms of him, his methods, motives, or means are invariably unfair, that is his unforgivable flaw.