When two White House aides last weekend stripped off their shirts for an afternoon of drinking with friends at a Georgetown bar, there was widespread agreement that it exposed something — beyond the pectorals of speechwriter Jon Favreau and press aide Tommy Vietor — about Washington in the age of Barack Obama.
There was no agreement about what that something was.
But some White House observers said the episode revealed something else: The Obama team needs to get an Evelyn Lieberman.
Lieberman made an unwanted cameo on the public stage during the Clinton years, when she became briefly famous as the White House staff member who tried to shoo Monica Lewinsky away from Bill Clinton after she noticed that the intern seemed to be “spending too much time around the West Wing.”
Lieberman ostentatiously failed in that mission. But among Clintonites she was celebrated as the person who usually succeeded in demanding that people who work at the White House not forget they are working at the White House — and comport themselves appropriately.
Favreau did not return a request for comment, and Vietor declined to discuss the incident. Both aides are well-liked by most colleagues and White House reporters, which may have limited the fallout, which was mostly limited to criticism from conservative websites.
Contrary to the original reports, the group was not playing beer pong. And their shirts were off because the group had gotten caught in a rainstorm before repairing to Old Glory in Georgetown.
Oh there is agreement on what this reveals:
- One, Evelyn Lieberman was a failure at being a den mother. But someone around Capitol Hill thinks we should be paying some person like her to take a ruler to the knucles of anyone who works in the white house caught drinking, being shirtless, smoking cigars or all of the above.
- Two, some 20 something year old, single, shirtless dudes at what looks like a boring party, with a few women and some libations in 90 some degree weather is tantamount to a married dude getting a blow job from an intern in his office. Except it’s not, but it reminds you of that type of thing and is sort of in the same category of debauchery. Except it’s not.