ONE LAST BUSHIE SOIREE…. Slate‘s Christopher Beam managed to get into a special party on Sunday night: a final, farewell send-off event, called “Crossing the Finish Line,” for the president and his team. Jason Linkins noted that it sounded “like the most depressing event in the world,” which seems entirely fair given Beam’s description.
The party, organized by outgoing White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and his predecessor, Andy Card, was held in a room with no heating. They couldn’t get any entertainers, because they’d already been booked for better events.
“Are these all white people — I mean White House people?” I asked someone in a genuine Freudian slip. Turned out the crowd was a mix of alumni from the White House, State Department, Treasury, and Justice and a few campaign workers. The mood felt more sweet than bitter. Many staffers had spent the weekend clearing out their offices. The question I kept hearing was “What’s next?” Some were applying to grad schools, others were heading to D.C. law firms or think tanks, and others were returning to their home states or traveling. One outgoing Treasury employee had already landed a job as a manager at Abercrombie & Fitch.
Take a moment to mull over that that last part. (Linkins noted, “The Great Gatsby could have ended with that line.”)
Eventually, the president thanked his team.
“This is objectively the finest group of people ever to serve our country,” he said. “Not to serve me, not to serve the Republican Party, but the United States of America.”
“I am glad we made this journey,” he went on. Then he engaged in a little reminiscence. “Remember the time in 2003 when Bartlett came to work all hung over?” Laughs. “Nothing ever changes.”
He continued: “We never shruck–”
“Shirked!” someone yelled.
“Shirked,” Bush corrected, smiling. “You might have shirked; I shrucked. I mean we took the deals head on.”
I’m trying to decide whether or not Beam was lucky to get in. Sure, he finagled an exclusive, but then again, he actually had to endure the party.