Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
An insertable gap in the photo appears between Clinton and Carter, who reportedly get along like teeth and tinfoil. Something having to do with who deserved the title of “Mister Peace Maker” back in the 90s and who deserved “Mr. Grandstander.” Jimmy Carter (and isn’t he getting a bit long in the tooth to still be called Jimmy?) is starting to exude the smug self- righteousness you normally associate with your priggish Aunt Hoogolah. Starting to look like her too.
As lease- holder of the residence where lunch was held, Dubyah was the very soul of genial host, but does appear to be chomping at the bit to get the hell out of public housing. “I want to thank the President- Elect for joining the Ex- Presidents for lunch” forgetting he’s contractually obligated to stick around until January 20th. Complaints arose that Obama upstaged the President by addressing the press. But come on, upstaging George Bush? At this point, a #2 pencil stuck in a ceiling tile could upstage George Bush.
This is only the second time in recent memory anybody’s seen such a congregation of POTUSes and I doubt the fancy word guys have come up with a plural moniker yet. So here’s our chance for linguistic immortality. Labor of moles. An unkindness of ravens. Shiver of sharks. Lamentation of swans. Mutation of thrushes. Nah, none of those work. Gaggle? Giggle? Sludge, flutter, bloat? Jamboree? No. no. no. Wait. I got it. A Port-a-Potty of POTUSes.