Fun & Games, Then & Now
The invitation from GOP pollster Frank Luntz read "My Fifth Annual Baseball All-Star Party" -- and the rookies who RSVPed "Yes" believed they'd be watching a baseball game. Ha!
A life-size Bill Clinton doll in an "Addams Family" electric chair greeted guests Tuesday at the entrance of Luntz's Fairfax County home -- and that was just the beginning of what some have dubbed "the Smithsonian, McLean branch," an eye-popping collection of baseball, political and historical Americana from secondhand shops and flea markets around the country.
"As you look around here, there's a lot of cool stuff," explained Luntz, leading one of many tours he conducted throughout the evening. "I love this. I love walking through history."
Rare magazines and newspapers. Baseball cards. Talking bobbleheads. Art. Posters. Photos. A six-foot Frankenstein monster. Santa Claus. Toys. Vintage pinball and video games. A choice of "Political" or "Advertising" bathrooms. And not a cutesy pillow in sight. Yes, the 42-year-old Luntz reigns in the ultimate bachelor pad.
As the 200 guests -- including Reps. John Sweeney, Jack Kingston and Clay Shaw and former congressmen Bob Livingston and Bill Archer -- wandered through the house and patio, Grover Norquist battled against Rep. Tom Feeney at an old "Missile Command" video game. "Well, there goes Reagan's missile defense," Feeney sighed after an especially lousy shot. A few hardy souls hunkered in front of Luntz's massive television to see the American League clobber the National League.
The peripatetic host finally managed to see a little baseball at the end of the game. "I only do one of these parties a year," he said. "But the house wants to do more. There's something here for everybody."
A Bush Party Goes Nationwide
Good news for Republicans looking for a party Thursday. Michelle duPont and Cathy Tripodi hosted one of the nation's 6,900 "Party for the President" get-togethers that night at duPont's McLean home. "They're neighborhood parties," said duPont. "The idea is to invite a few Republicans and a few people who might be on the fence, and help spread the president's message."
The grass-roots effort (and very green grass it is) served up barbecue, banana pudding and some excellent mojitos for about 30 guests. The speeches were short but heartfelt. The GOP thoughtfully provided a presidential video, postcards, bumper stickers and voter registration information. DuPont, a jewelry designer, gave out "W4W" pins (W Stands for Women).
After dinner, everyone gathered 'round the old laptop for a live interview with Laura Bush. The first lady noted that her daughters were attending similar parties elsewhere in Virginia and in Florida ("Hey, girls!"), gave a short pep talk and thanked all the partygoers across the country. She finished with a surprise: The president's voice streamed through the computer. 'We're going to win," he promised. "I'm fired up and I hope you are."
What a Long, Strange Trippitini
Finally: the explanation for Howard Dean's primal scream after the Iowa caucuses. "I told him, 'Don't drink a Trippitini before you go out there,' " chuckled Joe Trippi, Dean's former campaign manager.
Just kidding -- Dr. Dean doesn't imbibe. But the Trippitini, a heady combination of vodka, pineapple juice and other potions, was the drink of choice at yesterday's book party for "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," Trippi's account of how he (and 600,000 supporters) reinvented grass-roots politics on the Internet. "When all is said and done in this election cycle, they're going to say the one individual who made the most impact is Joe Trippi because he changed the way we campaign," said political consultant Mame Reiley, who hosted the gathering.
More than 75 political junkies feted Trippi at the Fahrenheit Restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown before his whirlwind tour, which will land in Boston for the Democratic Convention. So, after their abrupt split in January, will he and Dean kiss and make up? "I like him," said Trippi. "You'll have to ask him." 'Nuff said.
With Laura Thomas