WASHINGTON, DC–With his second term drawing to a close, an increasingly bored and disinterested President Clinton has developed a serious case of senioritis, White House officials reported Monday.
According to Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, Clinton has been displaying signs of senioritis since August, when he began showing up late for Cabinet meetings and contributing little or nothing before leaving early. Clinton has also taken to skipping National Security Council briefings, wearing flip-flops to press conferences, and spending his afternoons hanging out in the White House parking lot.
"His whole attitude toward the presidency has changed," said Summers, standing on a ladder to retrieve several pencils Clinton threw point-first into the ceiling of the Oval Office. "Just a few months ago, he was really active and involved, enthusiastically participating during group discussions of foreign policy and taking Medicare proposals home to read over. But these days, all he can think about is getting out of here."
Continued Summers: "Yesterday, he spent all day in the Oval Office, but all he did was watch TV, put tape on Socks' paws, and veto an old copy of The Economist."
When asked for comment, Clinton did little to challenge the prevailing perception of him.
"Man," said the president, doodling aimlessly on a stack of White House letterhead, "after inauguration, I am so gone. I can't wait to never go to another summit again."
Continued Clinton: "Who really cares what I do from now on, anyway? In, like, three weeks I'll be a lame duck, and then everyone will start to ignore me. Good. I hope they forget about me completely so I can cut out early."
Clinton's lackadaisical attitude has upset many in his administration.
"He's still the leader of the free world," Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, "and he still has responsibilities. The Palestinians and Israelis are at it again, and he hasn't done his homework in that area at all. His Russian involvement isn't improving. And he's always had problems with [the General] Accounting [Office]. If he isn't careful, certain people are going to see to it that he gets a failing grade as president."
"He'd just better not skip the planned presidential trip to Britain," Albright added. "The whole staff has been planning that for months, and everybody's really excited about it. He'd better not go and ruin it."
"So what?" said Clinton, responding to Albright. "I'm leaving here in January anyway, and they can't keep me here. That's illegal."
Clinton's declining involvement and interest in White House matters has shown in his interpersonal relationships: Recently, he has been growing apart from some of his closest executive-branch friends, particularly Vice-President Gore.
"Well, it looks like Al may be stuck in this place for another four years–that sucker," Clinton said. "I mean, Al and I have been through a lot together, but I'm ready to move on, and he just wants to stick around here. Lately, we've haven't really seen all that much of each other: He's been all into his own thing, hanging out with a whole different crowd, like that Lieberman guy. That's okay, though, because, like I said, I've really outgrown this scene, anyway."
"To be honest, once I bolt, I don't want to see any of these people again–at least not for a long time. Not even Hillary," said Clinton, alluding to recent rumors that his eight-year White House romance might not survive the "real world." "I'm not even sure what her plans are. I think she wants to move to New York or something next year."
Clinton's apathy is by no means atypical for a soon-departing world leader, experts say.
"German Chancellor Helmut Kohl didn't say one word other than ja or nein during the last three months of his term," said United Nations Guidance Council chairman Drazen Visnevic. "Margaret Thatcher slept through her last dozen parliamentary sessions and just yelled, "Boring!' whenever she was awake. And it was Lyndon Johnson who began the tradition of Presidential Skip Day, held the last Friday in October. I'm willing to bet Clinton observes it."
Though Clinton has been vague about his plans for the future, he has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with Washington after his term expires.
"I don't care if I never set foot inside this stupid city again," Clinton said. "I'm not gonna be like Richard Nixon, always hanging around, trying to be part of the gang after his glory days are over. That's so embarrassing. I'm not even going to the inauguration ceremony if I can help it."
"I've been thinking of maybe going out to Hollywood and getting into the movies," Clinton continued. "I've got a few good friends out in L.A. who could probably hook me up."
Other possibilities Clinton has mentioned in recent months include going up to Alaska to work on a fishing boat, working as a bartender at a Club Med, teaching English in Prague, and "just road-tripping across the country for, like, a year."