Dear Diary: Here I am at the inauguration

Russell Baker

January 20, 1993|By Russell Baker

Bill Clinton's diary:

Inauguration Day. Hillary wanted me to cut 45 minutes out of the speech. Told her there's not a superfluous word in it. "How about those 6,000 words explaining what GATT is?" she asked. "How about those 5,000 words explaining the difference between a macroeconomist and a mackerel sky?" Luckily we were interrupted by phone call from G. Bush.

"Friendly advice," Bush said. "Whatever you do, don't keep a diary." Apparently there's nothing prosecutors like more than spending dozens of millions of dollars trying to subpoena diaries. This is the last diary entry I'll ever make. Not that I'm worried about being prosecuted. It's just that diary pages are too small to hold the forty or fifty thousand words I'll need every night to do justice to the events of my day.



Worried all day about the rain forest burning. Tipper begs me to give it up for the next 24 hours. She thinks it's worrying about all that burning wood that makes me look so wooden when standing beside Bill. Yes, empathy for the death of trees may be showing up in my posture as rigor mortis. After breakfast tomorrow I'll try to worry about global warming.



It could have been me up there today except for those popularity polls -- just one short year ago -- showing no earthly human could possibly beat George Bush.



Of course I didn't expect Clinton to offer me a front-row seat for the swearing-in. That would have been wrong.

Should he ask me to head an emergency program to prevent the former Soviet Union from collapsing into a chaos perilous to the entire world, I shall accept it as a great American uniquely qualified for the assignment -- ought to accept it without pointing out that Clinton was not so quick to recognize my stature when invitations to the swearing-in were being handed out.



Dan thinks increasingly of being the next president.

This morning he asked, if I became First Lady, would I let him invite Murphy Brown to the White House. I asked why in the world he would want to do that.

He said he thinks his attack on Murphy Brown cost votes in the election and believes inviting her to the White House would show he has nothing against her, thus winning over her supporters and helping himself to get elected. I pointed out that if I were the First Lady he would already have been elected, so wouldn't need the Murphy Brown vote. "Good thinking, Marilyn," he told me, as usual.



Keeping my eye upon the doughnut and not upon the hole, thank Heaven George will no longer have to prove he's just plain folks by stuffing himself on pork rinds that give him those awful gas pains.



Sure, it could have been me up there except for those popularity polls showing no human on Earth could beat George Bush, in addition to many, many other factors which tempt me to contradict myself and say, No, it could not have been me up there today.

I've got more, but I shall save it for my journal, not throw it away on a flimsy diary. Some think my journal has literary merit, and literature will always outlast the governorship of New York. Its other advantage is that you don't have to go to Albany to do it.



The hour of glory is here. The father of evil, the Satan of Satans, the poisonous begetter of mothers of all battles has been forever stripped of his power. As I have commanded the author of destiny to write, "It is writ that when the abominable Bush is struck from power, the rule of Saddam will roll on unbroken upon mighty blasts of heated air." Powerful is my prose. Beware thereof, O Clinton!



There they go again.

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