President Clinton: The Screenplay
by Mark Katz
As appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES, 8/25/98, page A17
CONFIDENTIAL: FOR THE PRESIDENT'S EYES ONLY
MEMORANDUM TO THE PRESIDENT
From: Harry Bloodworth-Thomason
Date: August 25, 1998
I've been watching CNN, and I can't believe how many people think the
bombing of terrorist sites in Sudan and Afghanistan is just part of a "Wag
the Dog" scenario we've concocted.
That's outrageous! I have never even seen "Wag the Dog"! And from what
I've heard, there's no dog in it. And there aren't any dogs involved in
this military action either, which confuses me even more.
Is Buddy O.K.?
But all this talk about "Wag the Dog" led me to think about some possible
diversions. Let me know if there are any you want to green light.
Let's do lunch!
* "Saving Private Ryan" scenario -- Send Navy Seals to infiltrate
China and bring back Charlie Trie, the former
restauranteur who's on the lam after being charged with
making illegal contributions. Then make him testify on
Capitol Hill. Let's face it: Even a campaign finance
scandal has got to be better than the Lewinsky situation.
* "It's a Wonderful Life" scenario -- Ask America to contemplate
this scary concept: What if Ross Perot had won the 1992
* "Annie Hall" scenario -- You relocate to Los Angeles. Strike
that. We should probably stay away from any reference to
* "Braveheart" scenario -- Exactly like "Wag the Dog" scenario,
only we invade Scotland
* "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" scenario -- Give a speech about
national health care reform or some such and just keep
talking for the remaining 20,573 hours of your Presidency.
* "The Right Stuff" scenario -- John Glenn already had his joy
ride in space. Maybe you just need to get away for a
* "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" scenario -- Something
involving James Carville. Idea still in development
* "Jaws" scenario -- You get the press corps in the waters off
of Martha's Vineyard. I'll take care of the rest.
* "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" scenario -- You and Al
throw caution to the wind and set off on a devil-may-care
international crime spree. Or alternatively, Hillary
and Tipper do a "Thelma and Louise" thing. Everyone
knows it's the same movie.
* "The Full Monty" scenario -- A last-ditch alternative only.
* "All the President's Men" scenario -- Just kidding!