As though he weren't already thoroughly parboiled by Congress, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Michael Pertschuk got roasted last night by 300 of his dearest freinds.
In the Virginia Citizens Consumer Council's "first fund-raiser that wasn't a flea market," the embattled consumer advocate had his hair compared to static electricity, his wardrobe compared to Ralph Nader's and his very ideals skewered by Mark Green, director of Congress Watch, who accused him of "giving good intentions a bad name."
There were a lot of terrible puns. The poetry was worse, especially presidential consumer assistant Esther Peterson's something about "industry's gremlin" which she rhymed with "Kremlin." This drew from emcee Lee White of the Consumer Energy Council a weary little sigh: "Esther, Esther, Esther . . ."
Some of the better lines:
He's a humble guy, and there are many things he should be humble about."
"He has accomplished the work of two people -- Laurel and Hardy."
"About this roas: You've earned it, you have it coming, it's all overdue."
"I'm reminded of George Bernard Shaw, who said that martyrdom is the only way to become famous without ability."
Actually, a fair percentage of the comments made by the forever-similing group at Stouffer's Arlington restaurant was decidedly positive. Even Sen. Alan Simpson, the Wyoming Republican who has locked horns with the chairman more than a few times, spoke sympathetically of that Washington parlor game where the first one who moves, loses.
He also pointed out that the light at the end of the tunnel may well be an oncoming train, very likely a reference to the commission's upcoming test in Congress on the limitation of its powers.
When at last his own turn came, the "Buford Pusser of regulation," that "genial, pleasant, mischievous, brilliant, tiresome Mike Pertschuk" recalled a quote that a friend gave him recently: "Many enemies; much honor."
"Hey, that's great," he told the friend."I'll use it next time I make a speech. Who said it?"