Florida, most of the senators agreed, didn't mean a thing, but Mickey Ziffren, they concurred, was the greatest.
"Isn't it a nice way to go into the sunset?" asked Ziffren, who, at 61, has just published her first novel, "A Political Affair," and has spent the last 31 years enthralled and involved in the affairs of the Democratic Party.
Ziffren and her husband Paul, a former Democratic National Committeeman from California, have collected a lot of venerable friends since their immersion in what she calls the "boiling water of politics," and last night a number of them came to the reception in the Capitol given by Sen. Abraham Ribicoff (D-Conn.) and his wife Lois.
"You look beautiful and now you're famous," said Sen. Jacob Javits of New York, one of the few Republicans to venture into a room that was filled with the sort of people that reminded one observer of the Muskie presidential campaign, and another of the old Stevenson days.
Muskie himself was there, and the man who sparked the talk about Florida, Sen. Edward Kennedy, as well as Sen. Alan Cranston, (D-Calif.) Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) former representative and recently confirmed U.S. Circuit Court Judge Abner Mikva, Rep. Philip Sharp (D-Ind.) U.S. Circuit Judge David Bazelon, SEC Chairman Harold Williams, and a raft of California congressmen.
While most everyone was calling the Florida straw vote on Kennedy and Carter insignificant and premature, Kennedy himself was calling it encouraging and pronouncing himself grateful for the Floridians' support, what with him being a non-candidate and all. Note was taken that the Carter camp had also found the vote, the outcome of which has yet to be determined encouraging. "That's fine," said Kennedy, "that's the way it should be."
Ziffren, meanwhile, was asked if the characters in her novel, about a retired movie star pressed into service to run against an entrenched California senator with presidential ambitions, where true to life or larger than it.
"I think people in politics are larger than life," she said with a smile.