- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 1, 2003

In need of a throne

Ever since the historic day that outgoing President Clinton handed him the keys to the White House, a polite and appreciative President Bush has declined to tell the world how he really feels about the man he replaced in the White House pantry.

Now, Mr. Clinton has made it known that he wishes he were back in command of the myriad nooks and crannies of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. — suggesting the 22nd Amendment be modified to allow a president to serve more than an entire decade and more in office.

In Clintonspeak, Bubba is saying he wishes he were still president and Dubya wasn’t.

And while Dubya isn’t responding, his little brother is.

“President Clinton wouldn’t view himself being critical of anybody because he’s always thinking about himself. It’s all about Bill,” Florida Gov. Jeb Bush told syndicated radio host Sean Hannity, his text provided by NewsMax.com.

“Bill Clinton,” said the president’s sibling, “is the most self-absorbed person living in America.”

Guard your beignets

It won’t be long before Washingtonians by the Suburban-loads steer for tony Nantucket — where, if they’re lucky, they won’t share dinner with Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.

Pull up a chair to the Chanticleer, a restaurant without peer — its windows looking out on a garden of climbing roses and a carousel horse. Since its establishment 33 years ago, the popular French restaurant has remained under the same chef/proprietor, Jean-Charles Berruet, and his wife, Anne.

Yet with every world-renowned restaurant comes the “jilted diner,” as one well-known Washingtonian, who asks to remain anonymous, describes himself.

The Washingtonian and his large party had already placed their orders when who should stroll in for a quick bite to eat but Mr. Kerry and his charming wife, Teresa Heinz.

The Washingtonian ordered “Beignets of Cod Fish,” which takes time for the chef to prepare, and just when he thought his waiter had returned to serve him, he was told that the beignets suddenly were not available and perhaps he should try something else.

The patron thought it very odd that so much time had passed and now, just as his table was about to be served dinners, the supposedly world-class waiter was telling him the entree was no longer available.

It was during a chance encounter after dinner with the waiter that it was revealed that the Democratic candidate had actually “stolen” the beignets.

“Did you give my beignets to the senator?” the Washingtonian asked.

“Yes,” the waiter admitted.

“It seems the wait staff are under standing orders to get the senator ‘in and out’ in a most timely fashion,” says the Washingtonian, “and in this case he couldn’t wait for his beignets and was given the order already placed.

“The ‘Man of the People’ might end up at the White House,” the gentleman added, “and if he does the presidential kitchen staff had better take notice.”

Honoring Henry

A number of distinguished Yale professors gathered last Friday at the Library of Congress and with a unique daylong series of lectures honored a Harvard man.

The occasion was the 80th birthday of former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, and the title of the lectures was “History and Practice.”

Speakers included Paul Kennedy, John Gaddis, Charles Hill, Samuel Huntington and Sir Michael Howard. And yes, Mr. Kissinger was allowed to interject his thoughts into the lectures from time to time.

Professor of classics (also at Yale) Donald Kagan spoke at the luncheon on “Thucydides and Henry Kissinger,” a discussion of reporting on historic events.

Courage under fire

She’s coming to Washington this month to tell us about the Winston Churchill most of us never knew about: The real man behind all the famous quotes.

In fact, Celia Sandys spends a great amount of time giving lectures around the world about things we didn’t know about her grandfather. But now she’s put her lectures into print, publishing “We Shall Not Fail” (Portfolio/Penguin Group).

The new book, released this month, examines the leadership strategies that made Churchill a powerful role model, not only in his own time but half a century later. Particularly since September 11, given everyone from President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani have taken to quoting Churchill.

The author, who spent many hours with her grandfather while growing up, says Churchill’s staying power has something to do with courage under fire, eloquence, magnanimity, creativity and other attributes of inspiring leadership.

She says Churchill was never destined for greatness, and was actually frail and sickly as a young man. But he pushed himself to become a fiercely brave soldier on the outposts of the British Empire, long before his triumphant leadership during World War II.

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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