It’s as close as Washington comes to the Academy Awards: Saturday night’s 2008 White House Correspondents’ Dinner. And a mediocre time was had by all.

Yes, it’s fun to go, just to witness the scene. But, frankly, it’s a zoo — and it gets more and more ridiculous every year.

What started out as an annual occasion for White House reporters and administration officials to socialize for an evening and raise money for journalism scholarships has degenerated into a race to see which media outlet can attract the most outrageous celebrities.

For example, the stars of this year’s dinner were not George and Laura Bush and Dick and Lynne Cheney, all seated at the head table. But, would you believe: Pamela Anderson, Cheryl Tiegs and other buxom bombshells, all sprinkled throughout the audience. Miss America was even there, wearing her crown, for God’s sake.

Washington has often been called “Hollywood for Ugly People.” But when Hollywood and Washington meet, the result is sheer absurdity.

Next year, I understand, they’re not even going to invite the president. To give the White House Correspondents’ Dinner’s keynote address, they’re simply going to ask Britney Spears. And why not?

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