We are at that delicious moment in a modern Democratic presidential administration when the bizarre fantasticos who decorate each chaotic regime make their painful appearance -- though this administration is bringing a whiff of the ominous. Let me explain.
In the Carter administration, there was Midge Costanza, the White House aide who sent crazy memos to the White House staff insisting that they visit the Jefferson and Lincoln memorials to "reenergize." She did it herself in the early hours, and at 4 a.m. at the Jefferson Memorial, The Washington Post reported, she became characteristically hysterical: "Every time I came across 'man' or 'men' I changed it mentally. I said 'IT WAS PERSON, TOM. IT WAS PERSON! OKAY, TOM. ISN'T IT IRONIC THAT IT TOOK A WOMAN TO BE REENERGIZED RIGHT HERE?'" Then she lamented to the Post that Mr. Jefferson was "brilliant," though "he wasn't fully informed." Soon she resigned. Also in the Carter administration, there was the delightful Dr. Peter Bourne, special assistant to the president for health (!) issues, whose visit to a nocturnal cocaine party attended by Hunter Thompson and David Kennedy (now dead of cocaine abuse) was leaked to the press. Bourne survived that sticky wicket, but he did not survive once it was reported that he was issuing bogus prescriptions for controlled drugs. He resigned.
In the Clinton years, the list was longer, but my favorite was Dr. Joycelyn Elders. Her indiscretions were many until her comic finale, the very public espousal of her fellow sex educators' latest progressive cause: masturbation! She was an expert on the subject and very eloquent.
Now we have environmental czar Van Jones, National Endowment for the Arts spokesman Yosi Sergant and -- yet to resign -- White House communications director Anita Dunn. Their eccentricities are beyond masturbation, beyond shouting at stone monuments, beyond cocaine with the famous. Jones joined the Communist Party in the 1990s, not the 1890s, and he implicated the Bush administration in 9/11 -- or at least raised it as a possibility. Sergant exhorted artists on a conference call to provide governmentally funded propaganda for the president. Dunn extolled Mao Zedong as one of her two favorite "political philosophers," though neither was a philosopher. One was a saint, and Mao was a sadist.