A film on government spending premiered last night at the Kennedy Center, a building erected in part by government spending. It will be shown later this month on public broadcasting stations, subsidized by government spending. In the crowd were numerous government spenders, who chortled when they learned from the film that one Big Mac is subject to 41,000 government regulations.
"If you know of something that doesn't involve federal regulations, let me know," said Donald Lambro, the conservative columnist who conceived and starred in the show. "It would make a good story."
"Sex?" came one inquiry.
"No," sighed Lambro. "A lot of studies on sex."
The show was called "Star Spangled Spenders." It was shown to a crop of a few hundred bureaucrats, economists, politicians and journalists who had a buffet dinner after the show and who, presumably, will put the word out. It was also supposed to air on WETA, Washington's public broadcasting station, but WETA canceled.
"They said the program was inappropriate," said Mary Alice Gold, the film's distribution coordinator. "They said it went beyond personal journalism. That's the only comment they would make -- and it was difficult to get that one."
"Oh, we say it's one-sided," said Robert Chitester, the executive producer. "In our judgment, it's a very competent, accurate piece of advocacy journalism."
The conservative Heritage Foundation, along with Chitester's production company, gave the party in the Kennedy Center's Atrium afterward. Red rug, red cushions, ficus trees, seafood crepes, buttered noodles, chocolate cake. Who should turn up but Richard V. Allen, recently hired by the Heritage Foundation after spending a tumultuous year as the administration's national security adviser. He resigned Jan. 4.
"Where's Bud?" somebody asked him.
"Bud?" he said.
"Bud Nance," said the guest, referring to the national security adviser who served temporarily between Allen and the current job-holder, William P. Clark.
"Well, he's not here," said Allen. "I think he's been gently lowered over the side, and now they're hammering on his fingers."
Then he settled down with his dinner. Across the room was Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.), who makes an appearance in the film.
"I do the defense number," he said.