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Lessons From The Clinton Inauguration

I've been reading up on the Clinton transition and inauguration for a piece I'm working on. It's mostly stuff you remember, but every now and then there's something like this from Sally Bedell Smith's Clinton book:

Bill and Hillary also approved an attack on the press by the Thomasons [their TV producer friends]. It was a five-minute video shown at the inaugural gala that featured clips of such political commentators as David Broder and Fred Barnes [then of TNR] dismissing Bill during the primary campaign as a "loser" and "dead meat." The background music was Frank Sinatra singing George Gershwin's "They All Laughed." ("They all laughed at us and how./But ho, ho, ho! Who's got the last laugh now?") The Clintons thought the film was funny--and were unconcerned that it would anger the Washington press corps.

Don't get me wrong. I like a good joke at Fred Barnes' and David Broder's expense as much as the next guy. But, from a sheer tactical perspective, I'm not sure it was a great way to kick off an administration.

P.S. Check out this bonus TNR detail, also from Bedell Smith:

In choosing to antagonize the establishment rather than welcome it, the Clintons had proxies in the Thomasons, who would say things that the Clintons thought. "We're bunker people," Linda [Thomason] admitted. "The four of us are good in the foxhole together." After The New Republic criticized her convention film, The Man From Hope, Linda fought back on her sit-com "Hearts Afire," having one of her characters call Washington a "chauvinistic, mean-spirited, pompous-ass town" and dismiss its elite magazine editors as "11 little old baby Harvard boys" who are "irrelevant, arrogant, snide and cynical and negative and ... they're short." Rather than discouraging her, the Clintons took pleasure in her barbs.

Wow, tell us how you really feel...   

--Noam Scheiber