He's no Darrell Hammond, but Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) had the crowd in stitches with his President Bush imitation at the Hotline's post-inaugural comedy review Friday night at the Warner Theatre -- a taped performance now available for wider public consumption at C-SPAN.org.
"You folks in the liberal media will print anything if we call it 'Operation,' " the blue-tied Baird riffed. "Operation Iraqi Freedom is going to now be known as Operation Shia Theocracy. We're very proud of our successes there. . . .
Rep. Brian Baird jokes that President Bush is looking into the sun.
(Lauren McFalls - AP)
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"On the education front, we're going to launch Operation Easier Grammar. [Big laffs.] You see, there is way too many rules in grammar. . . . This will help my daughters pass the No Child Left Behind test."
He closed to guffaws by announcing Operation Solar Landing: "It's gonna put a man on the sun. Now, I know, I know, you pointy-headed academics and you liberal judges, you don't think we can do that. [Pause.] Heh. We're going at night!"
Baird, whose district backed Bush in the election, told us yesterday he has been polishing his routine for a year and a half, updating it to reflect the president's greater "confidence" as a speaker: "The shoulder-shaking laugh and the smirk -- there are vestiges of that but less pronounced." He watched inauguration events to get new material.
Next up for the mimic?
"I've got a pretty good Charlie Rangel," Baird said, then launched into an uncanny imitation of the gravel-voiced Democrat. "And I'm working on Bill Thomas and John Lewis," his congressional colleagues.
Four Big Thinkers' Big Rewards
Pundit George F. Will is one of four lucky recipients of the $250,000 prizes handed out this year by the conservative Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Other winners just announced: Ward Connerly, the activist behind California's anti-affirmative-action referendum; Heather MacDonald, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute; and Princeton's Robert P. George, a member of President Bush's advisory council on bioethics.
The Milwaukee foundation, which established the "stipends" to reward big thinkers, also funds right-leaning policy shops such as the American Enterprise Institute. The selection committee included conservative luminaries Robert Bork, Jeanne Kirkpatrick and Charles Krauthammer (who is, of course, Will's fellow columnist). Will did not returns our calls inquiring about how he planned to spend his quarter-mil windfall. A Feb. 16 ceremony at the Kennedy Center will honor the winners.
The Usual Suspects
An occasional feature revealing the secret lives of oft-quoted experts.
(Anne Schroeder - The Washington Post)
Occupation: President of the Free Enterprise Fund, which lobbies for the GOP agenda, including Social Security privatization. Author of a new book, "Bullish on Bush: Why George Bush's Ownership Society Will Make America Stronger."
Born: Feb. 16, 1960. Grew up on Meadow Road in Winnetka, Ill.
Marital status: Married for 14 years; three sons. "Sometimes we call our 3-year-old Osama. That's our pet name for him. He'll probably be emotionally scarred for life."