He's been called the JFK of the new right.
He was the inspiration for political cartoonist Mark Alan Stamaty's Bob Forehead character, who chairs the "JFK Lookalike Caucus" in "Washingtoon."
And now Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) hasn't helped staunch the flow of satire by hiring Barbara Reynolds, a professional Jacqueline Onassis look-alike, to be his personal secretary.
"Barbara does bear some resemblance," said David Hoppe, Kemp's administrative assistant. "There's no doubt about it . . . But Nothing was said about that."
Reynolds, former appointments secretary for Rep. Carlos Moorhead (R-Calif.), joined the staff this month and "she seems to enjoy it . . . She has the particular skills that fit our office very well."
"Oh, I love it," said Reynolds of her new job, the irony of which was first noted in a small front-page note in Friday's Wall Street Journal. " Kemp is a man who knows where he's going. He knows what he wants to do in Congress. He's very enthusiastic about his country."
Kemp, she says, has not referred to her celebrity profession, "but his staff thought it would be wonderful to have a Jackie look-alike. About the third day it began to surface. They were saying they think it's a good thing to have a Jackie Kennedy to work for a JFK. They think it's a novel idea, not a good thing. It's an enjoyable coincidence."
"It's amazing, isn't it," said Stamaty, whose syndicated cartoon appears in The Village Voice, The Washington Post and elsewhere. "Basically Jack Kemp provided the original inspiration for Bob Forehead. There is sort of a group of them . . . A lot of these people were Conservatives and a lot of them, they sort of mimicked or mimed John Kennedy. The fact that they seem to have a different kind of political position . . . using their image to get something out of it, struck me as absurd. Basically conservatives, Republicans, were basing their political identity on a liberal Democrat . . ."
Meanwhile, Reynolds' "Jackie" appearances are on hold. In January 1984, a New York Supreme Court judge ordered the Olney, Md., model not to appear in ads masquerading as Onassis. The decision followed her appearance in a Christian Dior ad, when Onassis filed a violation of privacy suit.
"I have a temporary injunction against doing ads only. The case is still pending . . . Onassis wants a permanent injunction against me and a large sum of money," said Reynolds, who could not disclose the figure. "She claims if she had done the ads, she'd have made that much."
Reynolds, who describes herself as "a decade younger" than Onassis, said "I always admired her. She's the most famous woman since Cleopatra."
But, she adds, "I just want to say I am a Republican . . . I'm afraid I'm on the other side of the [political] fence from Jackie."