Last night on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the host did a segment about President-elect Obama’s Lincoln-esque ‘Team of Rivals’ (good topic!), in which he stitched together footage of pundits commenting on the prospect of a Hillary Clinton cabinet appointment.
One of the clips was of ABC News’ Sam Donaldson saying, “It’s better to have them inside the tent peeing out, then outside the tent peeing in.”
This line got a huge laugh from Mr. Stewart’s presumably 20- and 30-something studio audience. The host then pretended to call his assistant and say, “Yeah, Carol? It’s Mr. S. Cancel this weekend’s camping trip Sam Donaldson.”
He went on, “Are those really our only two options? Pissing in the tent or pissing out? You know what Americans want? We want a government that pees very far away from the tent, into some kind of… urine holder-fixture type deal.”
Of course, Mr. Donaldson wasn’t just indulging in salty language: He was paraphrasing President Lyndon B. Johnson’s description of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. According to the late David Halberstam, writing in The New York Times on October 31, 1971, President Johnson said, “Well, it’s probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.”
Wherever President Johnson’s spirit is right now, he’s probably pretty pissed.