"We had a concession speech before we had ice," said political satirist Mark Russell, one of countless election party hosts about town last night. His get-together took place in suite C-130 of the Shoreham Hotel, and wasn't supposed to be hopping until midnight.
When Carter was conceding just before 10 p.m., only a few friends of the comic were there to eat meatballs and watch. Russell amused everybody with one-liners. Some selections:
"I thingk Gloria Swanson will do a good job in the cabinet."
"Hamilton Jordan has burned his last tie."
"I'm going to buy ox-blood wing-tips."
"I was hoping Carter would win tonight because Amy would get an office and Brzezinski could move to the tree house."
As at every other election party around the country last night, Russell's guests sat glued to the tube. Party conversation consisted of comments and/or insults directed at network anchors or presidential condidates who couldn't defend themselves. Most other conversation consisted of "I just can't believe it."
Russell strolled around with his hands in his pockets, quipping as fast as Carter had lost. "The president didn't get the hostages into Germany in time for the polls to close in Hawaii," he said. "I always said that the person who would win would be the evil of two lessers."
Finally, on a serious note, he observed: "Just turn the clock back four years when Carter said Washington was rotten to the core. Now he turned out to be the person he was warning us about."