Bartender Steve Otto toasted the scant crowd at the Pall Mall bar in Georgetown as the face on television announced last night that Ronald Reagan would be the next president of the United States.
"What's good for General Motors is good for the nation," Otto proclaimed.
The patrons only groaned.
At the RSVP restaurant in Southwest, a favorite watering whole for some younger, middle-class blacks who are doing well now but are uncertain of what Reagan will bring, Reagan's election drew bitter responses from the crowd, men in three-piece suits and women in designer jeans and expensive looking blouses.
"As a businesswoman, I feel that the Republicans have always been out front about the benefits they could offer [American businesses], but as a black woman, I have to think about other things," a woman seated at the wood and slate bar explained. "I'm afraid that Reagan may take social programs away and he could get us into a war any day now. In the voting booth, my business sense and my social sense were in conflict, but deep down, I am a Democrat and that's the way I finally voted."
At Columbia Station in Adams-Morgan, bartender Alan Balaran, brushed his shoulder length dark hair out of his face and said of Reagan's victory, "In a week or two people like me will be illegal."
At the other end of the bar, 21-year-old Bairbre Kennedy lamented the outcome of the second presidential election in which she has been able to vote. "I voted for Carter and I'm so depressed. I think I'll move to Canada."
Ronald Reagan captured the heartland of America and the presidency of the United States yesterday, but he has not captured the heart of the nation's capital, which will become his official address Jan. 20. h
In Georgetown, Adams-Morgan and Southwest Washington, there was little rejoicing yesterday as the returns came in.What little joy there was in these sectors of the city, came from voters glad Jimmy Carter is leaving, not elated that Reagan is moving in.
The District of Columbia, more than 70 percent black and 70 percent Democratic, was one of the few places Carter carried. For the young liberals, the city's blacks and those hemian-like bars like Columbia Station, Reagan's victory was upsetting.
Some blacks considered Reagan a racist. His campaign pledge to slash big government, they said, was a sugar-coated way to promise that black bureaucrats will be pushed from governemnt, along with social programs for minorities.
"Ronald Reagan's a right-winger and that's bad for black people," one businessman said, as Reagan's victory sparked bitter discussions at the RSVP in Waterside Mall.
"As a woman," a social worker, sitting nearby announced, "I just don't understand how any woman, black or white, could vote for Reagan. He wants to take us out of the work force, he's against the ERA, abortion and probably behind these people who want to take tampons off the market.He'd put us back on the plantation."
The victory of Reagan, the darling of the "moral majority" of Christian conservatives, was also received cooly among some ministers, including those who had worked in vain to prevent passage of a referendum that would permit city-run lottery and daily numbers games in Washington.
"I'm not happy about his getting it," the Rev. John D. Bussey said at the Bethesda Baptist Church where persons opposed to the D.C. gambling referendum were sipping coffee and munching coffee cake. "I'm still not pessimisitic about it either. In spite of whatever traits work against Mr. Carter, I felt you had someone you could appeal to." Reagan, Bussey said, is a question mark.
"I think Carter blew it by promising people too much in '76," John Lilien, a self-described liberal who was sitting at the bar at the Pall Mall. "He just couldn't deliver everything he promised."
Not everyone in Georgetown was moaning about the Republican victory. "I'm delighted," John Lewis Smith, a D.C. lawyer at the bar in The Third Editon, proclaimed. "This country was going to hell in a hand basket."
"That's right," added Leslie Jerwett, who has a Phd in medical education.
Mary Brookmon, a few seats away, was less enthusiastic. "I slit my own throat when it came to voting," she said. "I'm appalled by Reagan's stand on women's issues, but I voted for him because I need a tax break."