White House Historical Association Spanks Hardworking Staff

As you splendid readers might remember, yesterday the hardworking staff posted the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Ads in the New York Times.

It read, in part:

The New York Times is repository for all manner of inexplicable advertising (see our Civilians Who Run Full-Page Ads in the New York Times series for representative samples), so the hardworking staff was not surprised to see this in yesterday’s edition.


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The White House Historical Association describes itself this way:

The White House Historical Association is a nonprofit educational association founded in 1961 for the purpose of enhancing the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the Executive Mansion. All proceeds from the sale of the association’s books and products are used to fund the whha-logo acquisition of whha-logohistoric furnishings and art work for the permanent White House collection, assist in the preservation of public rooms, and further its educational mission.

In 1961, when the National Park Service suggested that such an association be formed, the idea received First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s ready approval. In July 1962, The White House: An Historic Guide was delivered to a public that had already ordered 10,000 copies. The guide is now in its 23rd edition.

Full disclosure: We’re not sure this outfit is associated with the actual White House, but then again, we’re not sure it matters.

We then included a swell video about the Association, along with a bit of this ‘n’ that about Calvin Coolidge.

(Campaign Outsider sidebar: Our favorite quote from Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain: “They can’t make a fool out of me. They can’t make a laughingstock out of Lina Lamont. What do they think I am, dumb or something? Why, I make more money…than Calvin Coolidge…put together!”)

Anyway, imagine our surprise when this note from Lara M. Kline, Vice President for Marketing and Communications at The White House Historical Association, poured into the Campaign Outsider emailbag:

Dear Professor Carroll,
Good evening. I had the opportunity to read your blog post this evening on the announcement of the 2015 Official White House Christmas Ornament. I am writing to clarify for you the White House Historical Association’s relationship with the White House. We are the private partner to the White House in the supporting the preservation of the public and state rooms, acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and in educating the public on the history of the White House.

Had your Google search extended beyond our “About Us” page on our admittedly limited website, you would have found many sources to validate our relationship with the White House, including . . .

Followed by links to any number of reputable websites.

Then there was this from Ms. Kline:

As an Edward R. Murrow award recipient, I am hopeful that you will endeavor to find the facts in the future, rather than simply cast out disparaging remarks for clicks on a blog post.

Dangling modifier aside, that’s a bit of a headscratcher since 1) we cast out up to zero disparaging remarks about the White House Historical Association, and 2) we helpfully reproduced the WHHA’s own material.

(We’re guessing Ms. Kline is upset that we referred to her organization as “this outfit.” From Merriam-Webster: outfit: a group of people working together in the same activity.)

Anyway, we wish Ms. Kline – and the WHHA – all the best in their efforts to mainstream Calvin Coolidge. He was, after all, governor of Massachusetts for all of two years. And Campaign Outsider is nothing if not an outfit that roots for the Bay State.

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