Heard on the Hill: Anything but Palin

Posted October 10, 2008 at 6:18pm

It’s time to plan those Halloween costumes, kids, so you don’t wind up scavenging the picked-over aisle in the drugstore on the day of. Note: Witches are not clever. And that sexy maid getup might be a tad inappropriate for the neighborhood shindig.

[IMGCAP(1)]Because it would be just too obvious to dress up as GOP vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (duh, glasses, updo, baby doll to tote), HOH brings you a list of alternative politically themed costumes. Here is the costume-worthy supporting cast of the presidential-campaign spectacle (if the four candidates are Gladys Knight, they are the Pips) along with HOH’s suggestions for pulling off their looks:

• Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston. She’s Palin’s pregnant 17-year-old daughter; he’s the 18-year-old fiance/baby daddy. It’s the perfect couples costume! For Bristol, it’s all about the baby bump. Pair with a large, comfy sweater, jeans and straight brown hair. For Levi, grab a hockey jersey, jeans and apply a scruffy beard. Complete the look with a fake tattoo of “Bristol” on your wedding finger.

• Roberta McCain, the feisty (but still classy) 96-year-old mother of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). Aside from a light gray wig, you’ll need a classic women’s skirt suit, preferably Republican red, paired with a strand of pearls and a McCain campaign button. Make sure to maintain a sassy attitude throughout the evening — nobody puts Roberta in the corner.

• The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, controversial former pastor to Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). Get your cloth on with a billowing robe; add a Bible for thumping and possibly a plastic foot to occasionally stick in your mouth.

• Gwen Ifill, PBS talk-show host and moderator of the highly entertaining vice presidential debate. Don a puffy turquoise coat and a cast for a broken ankle. After the predictable “Trick or treat?” refuse to ask follow-up questions.

• Todd Palin, aka the “First Dude” of Alaska, Palin’s husband. Fun with facial hair! Sketch on a beard and add a plaid shirt and rugged pair of jeans — bonus points for Alaskan accessories like a stuffed polar bear or snowman.

• Lobbyist, the persona non grata of the presidential campaigns. Accessorize an expensive suit with a paper bag — or a fright mask to cover one’s face to send chills down the spine of any candidate. Still, hand out wads of fake cash.

Feith the Thief? In towns across America, it’s commonplace to see handwritten signs hung on street poles announcing garage sales or seeking lost cats. But Washington, D.C., is anything but typical, and neither, apparently, are its handwritten street signs.

An HOH spy spotted such an only-in-Washington sign last week in Georgetown, targeting former Bush administration official Douglas Feith. The sign, placed on a pole at 35th and O streets Northwest, reads: “Boycot [sic] Douglas Jay FEITH (and his book): this public figure is a thief and an abuser. TATYANA B. FEITH.”

HOH couldn’t confirm whether the real Tatyana Feith, the wife of the former undersecretary of Defense, actually wrote the sign. What we can tell you is that Douglas Feith did indeed write a book, released in April and titled “War and Decision,” that highlights his time in the Pentagon.

It should be noted that Douglas Feith has been heavily targeted by some of the anti-Bush folks because he is considered an architect of the Iraq War. So it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that one of those protesters is playing a dirty trick.

HOH left a message for Feith on his cell phone to try to find out whether he had seen the sign or had any clue what it might mean, but he did not return the call by press time.

Sweet Relief. Look out, Jon Stewart. There’s a new spoofy news-magazine show on the teevee dial. “Chocolate News,” hosted by “In Living Color” alum David Alan Grier, is set to debut Wednesday on Comedy Central.

The show’s publicists promised HOH that there will be plenty of political humor in the mix — the premiere episode has a be-dragged Grier playing poet Maya Angelou composing a poem for the inaugural address of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). But unlike Stewart’s “Daily Show” or its cousin, “The Colbert Report” with Stephen Colbert, the show won’t have Members of Congress as guests, so flacks can rest easy that there’s not yet another forum where your boss can wind up looking ridiculous.

Whew.

The Part of the Matter. House staffers suffering through Friday’s e-mail meltdown used all the time that they normally would have been composing and reading electronic missives to joke about the technical snafu.

Most staffers were greeted with a voice mail Friday morning from the office of the Chief Administrative Officer announcing that there had been glitches in e-mail and BlackBerry service, and even some Web sites, and that technicians had to fly in a part from California to fix the system.

Merriment ensued as staffers speculated on what that oh-so-critical part speeding its way from the Left Coast might be: “It’s special string that they use to connect the cans,” one staffer suggested. “A Californian hamster to power the server,” was another staffer’s guess.

A CAO spokesman told HOH the part was a circuit breaker; the technical problems were apparently triggered by an overloaded circuit breaker in one of the House’s data centers.

OK, nobody plug in a hairdryer while the microwave’s on.

Esquire, Not So Gentlemanly. Forget the New York Times or even one’s hometown paper — Esquire magazine is back in the business of political endorsements. The November issue endorses candidates in all 482 House, Senate and gubernatorial races around the country. And, oh yeah, that presidential thing, too. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) gets the glossy’s nod, but we advise checking the newsstand for the rest of its picks.

Esquire also names the 10 best and 10 worst Members of Congress, a feature we found amusing. The best: Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).

The worst: Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.), Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska).

Some of HOH’s favorite hits (and not coincidentally, the meanest from the “worst” list, of course): Of Bachmann, the magazine writes: “Her vacant, wild eyes recall a doomsday prophet, or one of Charlie Manson’s girls.” Of Lieberman: “Some lose gracefully, some lose poorly, and in the case of Joe Lieberman, some lose their minds.” And on Pete Stark: “Stark gives bumbling, dyspeptic old fools who say stupid things a bad name.”

And we thought it was a magazine for gentlemen.

Inaugurating Inaugural Party-Planning. There are still about three weeks left until Election Day and months until the next president is sworn in, but planning for the big inaugural parties celebrating the new president (whomever that might be) has already begun.

Tentative plans for the Pennsylvania State Society 2009 Inaugural Gala, a bipartisan bash that will be held at the Ritz Carlton the night of the inauguration, already are in place. Themed “A Night of Stars,” the bash will be hosted by local weatherman Tony Perkins and will feature a performance from musician Mark Rivera, best known for his work with Billy Joel and Ringo Starr.

Tickets for the bash are $150, and party spokeswoman Bonnie Berry tells HOH that the society expects a quick sellout because the soiree features plenty of free food and an open bar.

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