gallimaufry

May 15, 1993

SOMEDAY Leon Panetta is likely to write a book about his days as budget director in the Clinton White House, as did his predecessor, David Stockman.

The Stockman book was a sensation in its day because it was a tattle-tale about the fashioning of the Reagan economic plan that tripled the national debt in only eight years.

Now that Mr. Panetta has let loose with some misgivings of his own about Clinton budget strategy, no doubt he is being besieged by literary agents thirsty for a now-it-can-be-told blockbuster.

If Mr. Panetta follows in the Stockman tradition, he will not win wide plaudits from his colleagues.

Martin Anderson, an ever-loyal economist in the Reagan White House, was plainly put out by Mr. Stockman's revelations of the sainted Reagan's detachment from budget realities. When he got around to writing his book, he described the Stockman tome as "Judas-like."

Larry Speakes, White House spokesman in the Reagan years, chimed in with his own literary work. "The [Stockman] book turned out to be more of an indictment of Stockman than it was of the president," he wrote.

Now just wait until George Bush's budget director, Richard Darman, turns his acerbic wit on the struggles within that administration. What we have in the making is a budget director's bookshelf -- a whole new genre of history.

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A COLLEAGUE reports after a shopping trip: "When I married my wife in 1971, she was a trim, tidy size 6. She looks about the same, but she's now a size 4.

"What's happening is that women's clothing manufacturers are relaxing the sizes to help women preserve the illusion that they are preserving their figures. From this month's Harper's Index we learn that the average hip measurement of a size-8 dress is 38 inches; 60 years ago it was 33 1/2 .

"This means that women like my wife who don't put on a few inches wear steadily smaller sizes. I suppose by the time of our golden wedding anniversary, my wife will be a size 2. Unfortunately, size deflation only works for women. During our marriage, I've gone from a 39 suit size to a 43. Does this mean we're growing apart?"

* * *

IN SOME editions of this newspaper yesterday, an editorial about the Preakness mis-located the Kentucky Derby, which is actually run in Louisville.

Inexcusable. The writer spent two weeks in Kentucky on Army Reserve summer training, long ago, and lived several years in Indianapolis. He well remembers Louisville and the Derby because the practice in Indianapolis was to find out the unofficial estimate of Kentucky Derby attendance and double it for the unofficial estimate of Indianapolis 500 attendance.

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