Heard on the Hill: The Politics of Costumes

Posted October 20, 2010 at 6:36pm

With election night approaching, those on both sides of the aisle are getting spooked. But another fright night is almost here, and HOH has tips for getting into the Halloween spirit with political flair.

Dressing as President Barack Obama is bor-ing, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is played out. Witch-turned-Senate-candidate Christine O’Donnell? Too easy. If you want to get noticed this Halloween, get creative.

• House Minority Leader John Boehner: Dressing as the Ohio Republican isn’t hard, as all it takes is a suit, an orange spray tan and a cigarette. But HOH recommends politically minded partygoers take the perpetually tanned would-be Speaker to the next level by making him a cast member of the Jersey Shore. Keep that suit jacket open to show off a six-pack and style a spiked hairdo, a la Pauly D. Don’t forget to utter phrases throughout the night such as ‘Obama’s health care takeover? We’ve got a situation.’

• Sen. Scott Brown: There are two ways to dress as the handsome Massachusetts Republican. Option A is Brown’s current look, a Senate-appropriate suit accessorized with a basketball. But the more daring can aim for Option B, the retro-centerfold look. Go shirtless, and craft a big piece of cardboard into a Cosmopolitan magazine cover, attaching it to your body in a strategic area. Bonus points for arriving in a GMC pickup truck.

• Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.: Accessories are key. Dress in a suit, but add details to reflect the Illinois Democrat’s sporty side. Jackson does the martial arts practice of budokan, so add a karate headband and black belt. Carry wrist weights, and if you can swing it, ride on a Segway.

• Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton: Again, accessories are essential. Wear a skirt suit, but pair it with a ‘Taxation Without Representation’ T-shirt. Carry a sign reading, ‘I hate Stephen Colbert,’ which will be timely, as the D.C. Democrat is expected to present her nemesis with a gift ahead of the comedian’s Oct. 30 rally.

• The intern: HOH would never recommend anyone to go the tacky ‘sexy kitty’ costume route, but dressing as a Hill intern comes close. Guys can dress in standard-issue blue sportcoat, button-up shirt and khakis, while gals can sport a cardigan, low-cut T-shirt, super-short skirt and flip-flops (or Ugg boots).

Members Held in Low Regard

Poll numbers don’t always articulate just how unpopular Members of Congress are. Occasionally, one needs a good story to paint the picture.

Take this tale, relayed by a tipster, which Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) recently shared with a room full of people. It’s a saga involving her, her husband, Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-Fla.), and a bookie.

As the story goes, the Congressional couple was relaxing on a Florida beach, and Bono Mack began chatting with a man sitting with his family next to her. The man boasted about his wife, explaining that because she’s a great spouse and mother, he can focus on his work. Bono Mack asked him what he did for a living, and the man told her he was a bookie.

Considering his, um, slightly shady profession, Bono Mack cut the man off, explaining that because she and her husband are both Members of Congress, he should probably stop talking. But the man, not at all fazed, replied: ‘You two are Members of Congress? Man, you’re the lowest of the low.’

A Bono Mack spokesperson did not return a request for comment by press time. But our tipster says Bono Mack told people that she and her husband got a kick out of the man’s response. In fact, Bono Mack said the story illustrates how hard Members must work to counter the negative sentiments that many Americans have about those in high office.

The Fiscal Hawk?

Capitol Hill aides can be superstitious, and some of them took the appearance of a creature Tuesday to be an omen.

A tipster e-mailed HOH a photo of a hawk perched on the balcony outside the House Appropriations Committee’s Democratic office. And the tipster saw it as a portent of things to come on Election Day.

‘This ‘deficit’ hawk alighted on the Approps majority’s balcony today,’ the tipster writes. ‘Thought it was a cool (and telling?) pic.’

But Ellis Brachman, a spokesman for House Appropriations Democrats, disagrees.

‘The hawk has been feasting on rodents scurrying around the Capitol grounds, and clearly there are plenty of them running around,’ Brachman says.

Spike Enters the Food Fight Ring

Capitol Hill’s fedora-wearing celebrity chef, Spike Mendelsohn, has been selected to compete in the annual Capital Food Fight next month.

The ‘Top Chef’ alum and owner of Good Stuff Eatery and We, the Pizza ‘ both of which count first lady Michelle Obama as a fan ‘ will face off against three other chefs in an ‘Iron Chef’-style cooking competition.

A panel of celebrity judges, including Bourbon Steak owner Michael Mina and ‘Top Chef’ judge Tom Colicchio, will score the event, set for Nov. 11 at the Ronald Reagan Building. The charity event benefits the DC Central Kitchen, and this year’s festivities will be hosted by local chef and PBS host José Andrés and Travel Channel star Anthony Bourdain.

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