Critics Discuss End of Clinton Era
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2001; 9:02 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON Among all the goodbyes from and for President Clinton, a good riddance was added to the mix Thursday night.
A collection of his critics gathered for a mirthful funeral for the Clinton administration. They feasted on filet mignon, salmon and scandals of the Clinton era.
Even as Clinton said farewell to the nation on TV, they sipped wine at their $125-a-plate dinner and squeezed the last sour grapes from the past eight years.
Its our way of celebrating the fumigation of Washington, said L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center, a conservative media-watchdog group that brought the crowd together.
Ive never seen a back Ive found more attractive, said Robert Bork, meaning Clintons back when he leaves town. Bork, whose nomination to the Supreme Court was scuttled by Democrats in 1987, served on the events funeral committee.
About 500 conservatives crowded into a hotel for the affair, its theme of death and dishonor captured in a play on words in the nights slogan: Here Lies (over and over) the Clinton administration.
The lacerating humor was hardly in keeping with President-elect Bushs call for politics of unity, and it was a discordant note in a city rising to welcome a new leader and play out its rites of democracy.
But as Bozell saw it, conservatives have until Bushs swearing-in Saturday to let off steam.
We have two days before we have to become compassionate, he cracked. A large video monitor showed unflattering pictures of Clinton, including one in which he appeared to be behind bars.
The Rev. Jerry Falwell, a social conservative activist and founder of the now-defunct Moral Majority, gave the invocation, thanking God a new wind is blowing.
Before that, Bozell offered a mock invocation, a takeoff on the [23rd Psalm]. Concerning Hillary Rodham Clinton, he said: Her socialist agenda got runneth over, and the crowd roared.
Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., one of Clintons toughest critics in Congress, was featured on the program, along with entertainer Pat Boone and a video from comedian Jackie Mason.
Publisher Steve Forbes, former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and literary agent Lucianne Goldberg, who encouraged Linda Tripp to tape conversations she had with Monica Lewinsky about the interns relationship with the president, were among those on the organizing committee.
The fact that Mrs. Clinton is staying in Washington as a New York senator seemed to upset no one. Bozell said in an interview shes a useful lightning rod.