You might say it takes a lot of gall for a Republican to make a profit by satirizing our current economic woes.
But David Howell and his wife Margaret-Mary -- both loyal Republicans -- are hoping to strike the supply-side funny bone and cause some of its capital to trickle down their path by selling their stuffed Reaganomics Doll.
The doll shows, on its "supply side," a chortling Ronald Reagan, dressed in a tuxedo and clapping his hands in glee. The "demand side" pictures a balding everyman, dejected and perplexed, his patched long underwear covered by a wooden barrel.
The couple first met at the 1976 Republican National Convention, where they were working for the Ford campaign's youth division. After working in this area as energy consultants for a few years, they formed Dots Okay, their Annandale novelty company. David Howell says their entrepreneurial venture is the essence of the politics of President Reagan, who has the Howells' "unqualified" support.
"We got a letter from Richard Richards of the Republican National Committee," he said. "The brunt of it was 'congratulations' . . . Some people might think we are poking fun at Reagan but, in a tough economic time, we are taking a lot of risk with capital, hiring people with that capital."
The first Dots Okay product was the Bureaucrat, a doll entangled in red tape and accompanied by "The Bureaucrat Survival Guide." Howell said the inspiration for this first toy, which is now sold in 47 states, was provided by "a little run-in with some people at the U.S. Department of Energy."
Even though the couple still has dealings with that department as part of their consulting work, Howell said that, "Fortunately, no one has taken offense that we know of."
The Reaganomics doll comes with lampooned lyrics to "Dixie" entitled "We're In Such a Fixie" and "The Battle Hymn of the Republicans," with the refrain "Glory, glory to the battle, the poor are just like herds of cattle."
The company has sold about 5,000 of the dolls, Howell said. They are available in about 15 to 20 local stores, including Bloomingdale's.