It was the new senator from California's turn to take the ribbing at the annual Gridiron Club dinner Saturday night.
A columnist dressed in a karate suit lead a choir in which the familiar "Hallelujah" chorus of Handel was transformed into a "Hayakawa" chorus to herald the arrival of one S.I Hayakawa, who responded (in the person of syndicated columnist Roscoe Drummond):
"Now that's my kind of rock 'n' roll song." The lampoon continued with Hayakawa suggesting to the GOP's Ronald Reagan and Ed Brooke that if they coul donly get on the same wave length, the party would have it made.
Naturally, several in the audience turned to see how the real-life senator was taking it. He was taking it fine. He was asleep.
Whether this was a triumph of self-control, or a somnolent criticism of the quality of the skits in the 92nd annual white-tie dinner was unknown. In any case, Hayakawa slipped quietly out of the Capital Hilton shortly thereafter.
That left about 500 other guests to be victimized by Gridiron Club routines, among them President and Mrs. Carter, Vice President and Mrs. Mondale, and members of the Supreme Court, the House, the Senate, the Cabinet, the White House staff, the military, the diplomatic corps and big-wigs of business and journalism.
The President got his fair - or was it unfair - share.
The curtain rose on Carter troops bearing suit-hanger bags over the right shoulder, in the new presidential style, and sining to the tune of "Marching Through Georgia," with the chorus, "Repent, repent, you Yankees don't forget we won, we won, you ain't seen nothin' yet:
"We give all the orders now, and you'll like what you get. "Now we are marching from Georgia."
The President's person-to-person call-in was satirized as "Miz" Lillian Carter, at the White House switchboard, conversed with a neighbor from plains to the tune of "Frere Jacques."
Billy Carter was not left out. A performer sauntered out weaing an Amoco uniform and carrying a Pabst (along with a copy of Playboy), settled on an oil drum against the backdrop of Margaret Mitchell's Tara, and remarked, "All right, lets show 'em who won that war even it it did take us a while," Rhett Butlet was on stage later, complaining, "We whupped the Yankees, but we still can't pay off the mortgage on Tara." Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett were actually looking for jobs in the administration. Someone wanted to know "if she could type."
The Republicans took it on the chin for their alleged love of golfing when the curtain opened on the 19th green of the Palm Springs Thunderbird Country Club, where NOP National Chairman William Brock was practicing Putting. The chorus, to the tune of "Top Hat":
We - ee - re putt-in on a golf course."
Pick-in" up a pension, Lec-tur-in' at Yale.
Wee - ee - ee might have done a lot worse -
Here there ain't no tension and we're not in jail.
Bob Dole was depicted singing, to the tune of "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue," the refrain:
Up a tree
Has anybody seen our roots?
The skits went on, from henry Kisinger shown sobbing because he isn't running the world anymore to the arioso from Pagliacci. Kissinger said, "When I stopped crying, I began to Laugh."
Former President Gerald Ford was seen approaching the 19th green in a parady of Petruchio's lament in "Kiss Me Kate."
Many of the guests got a turn to speak, however.
Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker got a laugh when he said that President Carter had originally planned to appoint Billy Carter head of CIA, but Billy didn't want to be head of anything he couldn't spell.
In the minds of a lot of guests Baker went downhill from there when he began to make references to homosexual jokes about the armed forces and at one point talked about the Marines putting a corsage on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Veteran Gridiron members said that his speech equaled the Charles Halleck "mournful monotone" and the speech of John Lindsey, then Major of New York, who once gave a talk that they called "Broadway Blue." They felt his speech was "too long and off color."
He ended his routine with yet another "Liz Ray" gag, when he tossed out a line about her running off with the Washington Monument.
President Carter did not arrive until after Baker's turn at the podium but in time to hear some very funny lines from Vice President Mondale who, according to several of the guests, was "dynamite, hilarious". When he poked fun at Carter's foreign policy, the President laughed as much as anyone. Mondale said that Art Buchwald wrote all his lines.
Carter heard Mondale say, "There are big changes in this administration's foreign policy compared to the last. in the Ford administration they held daily foreign policy briefings - whereas we have a daily foreign policy."
"I go to Paris, I go to Rome, and he goes to Plains, Ga., and Clinton, Mass.," Mondale said.
President Carter made sure he didn't crack a smile when it was his turn to speak. His follow to Vice President Mondale was, in mock arrogance, "The acting Vice President of the United States."
He told the audience he had heard all the cracks about his foreign policy being disatrous, but he thought that there should be some continuity from the last administration to his.
The President became serious when he said, "In every instance that I have known of with confrontation with the government and the press, the press was always right. So keep it up."
When Betty Friedan, author of "The Feminine Mystique," was introduced, the applause from this once all-male group was less than overwhelming. Eileen Shananhan, formerly of The New York Times and now on the Carter team, was also a guest. She had once picketed the same event.
On Sunday night they all got together again at the Capital Hilton Hotel, where the show was put on again for friends of club members.
This night was wives and guest night, and as political consultant Mark Shields put it, "I feel like it's junior varsity night. I feel like the traveling squad. Seventeen people have come up and asked me if I were here last night. I wasn't. I'm on the traveling squad."