It won't put Horchow or L.L. Bean out of business, but a new mail-order catalogue might be just the thing for recession-proof Republicans looking for politically correct Christmas gifts.
It's "The Official Republican Collection," a 16-page potpourri of GOP kitsch, from the White House wooden Easter Eggs ($7) to the Oval Office cuff links ($25), from the Boehm porcelain Nancy Reagan Camellia ($650) to the ultimate stocking stuffer: a set of 10 portfolios containing the signatures of every president from George Washington to Ronald Reagan for a mere $20,000.
Just the thing for that NCPAC knickknack shelf.
Brought to you by the National Republican Congressional Committee, the red, white and blue booklet (adorned with a cover shot of the White House) features all-too-familiar mail-order items such as pocketbooks, mugs, attache' cases, steak knives, bookends, guest towels, serving trays, umbrellas, tote bags, chocolate bars and aprons, all embossed with either the Great Seal or the GOP elephant.
"Many of the pieces in this collection make thoughtful gifts for members of your family, your friends or business associates. And some are beautiful keepsakes you will want to display proudly in your home and pass down to your children and grandchildren," NRCC chairman Rep. Guy Vander Jagt (R-Mich.) writes in a "Dear Friend" letter printed on the flyleaf.
In fine print, it is noted that reproductions of the Great Seal "in no way imply U.S. government authorization."
"Horchow started on a limited basis," says NRCC finance director Wyatt Stewart, who conceived the catalogue and mailed it out to almost 1 million potential buyers, including the GOP's "better donors."
Profits from the sale of the products will go toward the NRCC's $37 million budget, money used to elect Republicans to Congress. "This could well do three quarters of a million or a million dollars," Stewart predicts.
There's something for everyone. The 24-karat gold-plated putter with the presidential seal might improve Spiro Agnew's game. Perhaps David Stockman would like to do some belt-tightening with the official Republican cowhide model -- with presidential seal and brass buckle. And what about the Rolex Oyster watch emblazoned with the Great Seal for former national security adviser Richard Allen?
Whatever the choice, don't expect to find any outrageous offerings, like Texas oil wells, his and hers Egyptian mummies or a weekend for two at Camp David. After all, this is a conservative party.
"We weren't trying to gimmick it up too much," says Stewart.
The finance chairman says he already has his eye on the $85 Uncle Sam bank (for his daughter) and will probably purchase one or two other items for Christmas gifts.
And who is likely to order the 14-inch bust of a grinning, western-shirted Ronald Reagan, priced at a modest $3,000?
The finance chairman chuckles. "Someone who can afford it."