“In the Loop,” Al Kamen’s indispensable guide to official Washington for 23 years and one of The Post’s proud institutions, puts down its pen today.

The column started as a temporary assignment for Kamen to chronicle the launch of the Clinton presidency. It was called “In Transition.” Kamen deployed his sometimes ouch-inducing wit and the delicious intelligence provided by his extensive contacts and turned the column into a Washington must-read.

Today, looking back on the column’s high points, he writes:

A 2010 column noted that the “hapless” and “increasingly loopy” Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama was the biggest loser at a Washington summit for failing to score a private meeting with President Obama.
The Japanese media went wild. “Loopy” suddenly became a popular phrase in Japan, where it was printed on T-shirts (in English) with a sketch of Hatoyama. Hatoyama conceded to Japanese lawmakers: “As The Washington Post says, I may certainly be a foolish prime minister.” He was out within weeks.
I’ve written often about codels — trips by congressional delegations to find elusive foreign policy. Although apparently difficult to find, it seems to be seasonal, requiring trips to Europe in the spring and summer and to Latin America (Iguazu Falls, the Galapagos and Rio) or Southeast Asia in the colder months.
Readers sometimes ask why I write about them so much.
Answer: Jealousy.

Al, we miss you already.

Read today’s full adieu here.