A Real Deal On Real Estate

Phoenix Orion, right, listens to music on his watch MP3 player at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Monday, Jan. 8, 2007.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
So now former President Clinton will charge taxpayers only half the $700,000 rent on his new office digs in Manhattan.

I suppose that's a better deal than the first one he offered us - pay the whole thing. But may I make a suggestion?

I know some fine buildings all over the country that Mr. Clinton and the rest of our former presidents could use for free. They are called federal courthouses. They already have metal detectors, janitors, and all the other things required to keep them safe and clean.

And if the courthouse is full there's usually another federal building near by named for some otherwise long forgotten congressman which is home for the regional offices of all kinds of federal agencies. They must have a spare room or two.

The columnist Charles Krauthammer says you can judge the corruption of a presidency by how many laws have to be changed when it ends. The overhaul of campaign laws after Richard Nixon left comes to mind.

It may be the unique legacy of Bill Clinton that even the rules for leasing federal office space came into question after he left.

But in the meantime, think federal courthouses. They have a lot going for them.