Sunday, December 17, 2000


Dear Bill: Let Al be the boss

The Hon. William Jefferson Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

        Holiday greetings to you and your family — the senator-elect, your bright and charming daughter and even your brother, Roger, in whatever Holiday Inn piano lounge he is the headline act this Christmas season.

        We very much enjoyed your holiday TV special on Fox Friday night, in which you, Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea gave the American people a holiday treat - an inside look at “the people's house” you have occupied these past eight years.

        We were particularly impressed with your knowledge of and reverence for the history of the institution that has been under your stewardship.

        You pointed out, rightly, that Abe Lincoln never slept in the Lincoln bedroom; it was presidential office space in the days of the Great Emancipator. Thanks, though, to your prodigious powers of political fund-raising, everybody but Abe has slept there over the past eight years.

        You have been racking up the international frequent flier miles in the weeks since the election, working on your legacy, but you have no doubt closely followed the contested presidential election.

        Despite all the talk of national unity, smooth transitions and an era of cooperation, you could not be pleased with the result, which will require you, in 35 days, to turn over the keys of the mansion to the son of the man you beat to get there in the first place.

        Mr. President, you have told the American people that you feel their pain; that may have a lot to do with why they have hung in with you through some of the most bizarre episodes in the history of the presidency.

        Now, Mr. President, with your days in the big house numbered, maybe it is time you felt Al Gore's pain.

        For eight years now, every time you have sneezed, your vice president has caught a cold. He had to stand there sucking wind while you did your did-not-have-sexual-relations-with-that-woman thing, blubber about you being one of the greatest presidents on the day you were impeached, and have Democrats laugh at him trying to do the Macarena while they hailed you as the reincarnation of Elvis.

        You owe him one.

        So, Mr. President, just maybe you could find it in your heart to spend one last Christmas morning in the White House and, on the next day, you could just up and resign.

        Let Al be president for 25 days. Let him sit at the big desk and punch all the buttons, call a low-level military alert or two, sign some proclamations, ride on the big plane.

        George W. Bush isn't likely to care one way or the other whether he becomes the 43rd or 44th president of the United States on Jan. 20. Someday, some wise guy is going to point out to Mr. Bush that Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president and he's not going to know what to think.

        So have a nice Christmas, pack your memorabilia, stroll the halls of the White House one last time and let Al take over for a while.

        And make sure you get Hillary something really nice for Christmas.

       Howard Wilkinson covers politics. He can be reached at 768-8388 or via e-mail at


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