Americans feeling cynical about their country's politics should note that more is going on than the Senate impeachment trial.
For example, there's the 2000 presidential race. Yes, that's a long way off, and, yes, the money and vote chase between now and then may get tedious for the public and treacherous for many current hopefuls.
But that shouldn't obscure a key point: Some noteworthy people are stepping in. For instance, Democrat Bill Bradley. His task may be herculean, since Democratic front-runner Al Gore has a huge head start in party backing and fund-raising. Still, Mr. Bradley's presence should add original ideas - and give the ex-senator an opportunity to help fix the US politics he once declared "broken."
On the Republican side, Arizona's Sen. John McCain has formed a candidate's committee. He's another independent thinker who often charts his own course, bucking the GOP leadership. His voice, blending conservatism and reformist zeal, will enliven GOP competition. So will the entrance of Elizabeth Dole. Though she lacks experience in elective office, she has served admirably in appointed and private posts and is admired by many Republicans for her ability to engage audiences and articulate ideas.
And there are others eyeing the race who are equally capable of making 2000 a rousing political year.
Good people are interested in the top job, despite the scandal that has enveloped the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The regenerative energies of American politics are at work.