Ahhh, ’tis January in an election year- and such a time of great merriment in our nation’s capital! Or so one might think after taking note of various politicos’ comments this weekend at Saturday’s Alfalfa Club dinner, an annual event at which so-called Washington insiders customarily crack wise about various Capitol Hill goings-on. What follows are some samples of this year’s notable jokes.
President Bush on Howard Dean:
“Boy, that speech in Iowa was something else,” Bush said, referring to Howard Dean’s field holler after placing third in the caucuses Monday. “Talk about shock and awe. Saddam Hussein felt so bad for Governor Dean that he offered him his hole.”
President Bush on John Kerry:
“Then we have Senator Kerry. I think Kerry’s position on the war in Iraq is politically brilliant. In New Hampshire yesterday, he stated he had voted for the war, adding that he was strongly opposed to it.”
Vernon Jordan, President Clinton’s former right-hand man, on President Bush:
“Mr. President, I feel like I’m at one of your Cabinet meetings — a blind man in a room full of deaf people. . . . let me take a moment, regardless of whether we are Christian, Jew or Muslim, and thank the Almighty, the one who controls our destiny as a nation — Karl Rove.”
Ok, we get it. Much like the annual speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the Alfalfa Club event is an opportunity to gently poke fun at national issues and figures. Both on and off the record, if you will.
Previous dinners, however, have featured a heavy dosage of self-reflexive humor, typified by a few of President Clinton’s choice snippets of years past:
Clinton on Clinton, 1997:
“We must find common ground. We are going to build that bridge to the 21st century — yadda, yadda, yadda.”
Clinton on Clinton, 2000:
”A year from now, I’ll have to watch someone else give this speech. And I will feel an onset of that rare affliction, unique to former presidents. AGDD: Attention-Getting Deficit Disorder.”
As far as the present administration is concerned, the only snippets of self-reflection I could find in this weekend’s public comments came courtesy of the notoriously reclusive Vice President Dick Cheney:
“Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole?” he added. “It’s a nice way to operate, actually.”
Except these weren’t jocular comments presented at the Alfalfa Club dinner, but rather, remarks made to the press after Cheney’s appearance at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. Ha!