"I find it absolutely incredible that The Washington Post would run that piece from a low-level Munchkin." --Justice Department spokesman Thomas P. DeCair, commenting on an article by a woman employe there calling the administration's efforts to end sex discrimination and provide an Equal Rights Amendment alternative "a sham."
"The last time I saw her she was the Easter bunny at the White House Easter Egg Roll."--White House deputy press secretary Larry Speakes, commenting on the same person and story.Dear Mr. President:
There they go again, and this time they've gone too far.
I have no brief for Barbara Honegger or the other up-in-arms feminists. They can take care of themselves. I don't worry, either, about presumed wrongs inflicted by your team on blacks or workers or Hispanics or other groups of voters, including women and older citizens. Those people can certainly take care of themselves, too, and probably will politically next year.
To be honest, I don't particularly care if your people also belittle bunny rabbits. They are tough little creatures and can dish it out as well as take it. As I recall, rabbits have a pretty powerful hind kick, female as well as male, and have a way of whacking you where it hurts most when you least expect it.
But when your people begin denigrating poor, harmless, defenseless Munchkins, I say enough. How can you let them get away with that, Mr. President? You, a man with a soul and a love of fancy.
Now I'll grant you that Munchkins might not count for much in the Great and Powerful capital of Washington with all its Wizards and Humbugs and Public Relations Poohbahs and guards posted everywhere before the doors to the Throne Room.
No, Munchkins aren't very imposing. They aren't even bigger than a little girl from Kansas, who never was thought of as big for her age. They aren't very impressive in their dress, either, at least as measured by the self-important buttoned-up way they put on airs in your capital of the East. I guess you'd have to say they look pretty funny, with their round hats that rise to a small point a foot over their heads and little bells around the brims that tinkle sweetly as they move.
Odd, all right, and obviously not fit company for the swell types that surround your palace. Let's face it, Munchkins aren't beautiful and smart in the way they assess such things around the mighty White House and Justice Department of Washington. Small as they are, their faces are covered with wrinkles, their hair is white and it is said they walk rather stiffly.
They are, so far as anyone has ever known, tender-hearted and gentle little folk given to sympathizing with people in distress and much more interested in tending their banks of gorgeous flowers and stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits than discussing weighty matters of state, as the Great Spokesmen like to do.
So I don't understand it, Mr. President. You're such a nice man but you don't seem to know anything about Munchkins. The trouble is, Mr. President, that your people seem to think that low-level Munchkins are different from high-level ones. All your Humbugs seem to care about are the high-level types. Well, really, Mr. Reagan, they're all the same, and want to be treated the same. Munchkins don't go for this high-level/low-level stuff. I know any of them would tell you that if you'd just give them a chance.
I'd like to help you, really I would, but I don't think I can as long as you keep all those PR Wizards around you. With help like that, you're never going to get to the Emerald City where my friends live. Why, the way your people are taking you, they're going to guarantee that you succeed in accomplishing the impossible.
You're going to make even Munchkins mad.
A very disappointed
P.S. And lay off Toto, too.
NOTE: In last Sunday's column about Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered 20 years ago today during the March on Washington, I cited this paper's failure then to mention either King or his speech in its page one coverage, or barely give them any other notice inside its pages. Since then I have been shown the comparable coverage in The New York Times. In the spirit of fairness, and as it turns out with some humility, I am happy to report that our journalistic competitor did not let the trade down that day but rose memorably to the occasion. Both its lead story by E.W. Kenworthy and an accompanying one by Russell Baker as well as a page one essay by James Reston about the enduring impact of King's speech on the capital ("it will be a long time before it forgets the melodious and melancholy voice of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. crying out his dreams to the multitude") more than do justice to the historic event and capture, for decades to come, its central meaning. It's nice to know we didn't all miss the story.