The Capital: Pass TheSalt


The social life of Washington is a damask extension of the business day. The season's dinner parties are invariably dimpled with a dizzying variety of ambassadors, Cabinet members, agency heads, socialites, Pentagonians, and sometimes the President himself. And a major problem to the Washington hostess is the proper seating of her guests by the order of their rank. This is called precedence, or among the truly ingroup, precedence.

Anyone can ring up the State De partment's helpful Protocol Division to find out who is outranking whom lately. But people who are in...

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