I’m Kind of a Big Deal

Posted March 5, 2007 at 6:55pm

If HOH were chairwoman of a committee, she most certainly would wear a sparkly tiara at all times to signal her importance. So she feels kinship with Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), who sports a blue fleece jacket emblazoned with the title “Mr. Chairman.” [IMGCAP(1)]

The bold white embroidery on the front of the jacket celebrates, we can only assume, Dicks’ chairmanship of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Interior and environment.

The jacket is weekend wear, not an on-the-job uniform (we hope), since most people on Capitol Hill know who’s Messrs. Chairman and who’s not. The rest of the world, on the other hand, sometimes needs a little reminder. And so Dicks was wearing the flashy gear Saturday, along with sweats and sneakers, at Camillo Barber Shop in upper Northwest Washington, an HOH source reports. The barbershop has been around for decades and is known among a certain politician/lobbyist set as THE place to get a trim.

Dicks sat down, spoke briefly to the scissor-wielding fellow and began to read The Washington Post sports section. There was brief chit-chat about the weather in Iraq (Dicks — ahem, Mr. Chairman — had just returned from a trip there) and more sports-page reading.

Cut completed, he got up, went to the register, paid for his $14 ’do with a $20 dollar bill and then tipped the barber several dollars, our source noted.

As he was heading to the door, his wallet fell out by the register and several people, including our source, called out, “Hey, Mr. Dicks, you lost your wallet.”

The grateful chairman retrieved the errant item. And wouldn’t you know it, the Congressman was showing even more Congressional pride: The wallet, our source says, looked like it sported either a Congressional emblem or an eagle insignia.

Waxing Influence. If you can’t be cast in marble, isn’t wax almost as good? The announcement that Washington is soon to be home to a branch of the famous Madame Tussauds wax museum might just touch off a round of jockeying among lawmakers.

Janine DiGioacchino, the general manager of the New York and future D.C. locations, says there are no Members of Congress who will be included among the replicas — save Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) who is to be included, next to her husband, Bill, because of her status as former first lady. “We asked people who they wanted, and they all said historical figures,” DiGioacchino said by way of explaining why you’ll see former President George Washington, but maybe not Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) among the waxy faces, most of which will be historical or glam Hollywood types a la Beyonce and Brad Pitt.

“I guess they don’t want to see any more of those guys,” she said.

But lawmakers aspiring to campy fame still have a shot at securing a spot, she says, as long as they get votes in upcoming polling Madame Tussauds is planning to conduct to determine who will fill the final slot.

Manipulating polls? Now there’s something these guys are good at.

Friendly Skies. Chivalry isn’t dead, at least not in the South. And not as long as Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) is around. The charming, drawlin’ Senator was spotted on damsel-in-distress patrol Friday while attempting to board a plane to Greensboro, N.C.

The flight from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport had been delayed by about two hours, an HOH spy reported, and the weary travelers waiting to board were getting restless.

When they finally were loaded up, Senator included, on a bus to take them to the tarmac, tempers flared a bit. One woman was grousing about how packed the bus was, complaining that some of them were forced to stand in the aisle. Another young woman, who was standing and gripping an overhead rail, replied that she was from Boston and was used to standing.

Our gallant Senator would have none of it. “Well,” he said, leaping to his feet. “I’m from North Carolina.” He offered the woman his comfier seated spot, which she took gratefully.

Alas, Burr’s show of gentility didn’t quite save the day: The N.C.-bound gang arrived at the plane only to find out there wasn’t a crew and were therefore were bused back to the terminal, finally getting airborne more than three hours late.

Now if only Burr could save a gal from those horrendous in-flight meals …

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.