Thursday, December 20, 2018

Visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Happy Holidays.
(Half a dozen Fox News people just rolled over in their graves!)

It’s time to focus one’s attention on gift-giving. So, here we will examine history to determine how to select a gift for your favorite Republican. 


In his (in)famous 1952 “Checkers” speech (in response to accusations about a political slush fund) Richard Nixon, fighting to remain on the Republican ticket as candidate for the vice-presidency, poor-mouthed that his wife didn’t wear a mink coat but “a respectable Republican cloth coat.” While Pat Nixon shivered through a few winters without a fur wrapping, Dick was apparently always thinking about fashion. For, when he became president in 1969, he decided that the White House police needed a new kit: a “white‐tunicked, gold‐braided, pillbox‐hatted ceremonial uniform.” (1)

If Nixon was concerned about outfitting those around him, his Supreme Court appointee William Rehnquist was concerned about his own threads. He eventually decided that his sitting on the bench as Chief Justice (after nomination by Ronald Reagan) called for new robing. Here’s the report in the New York Times:
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist appeared on the bench in a black robe adorned with four gold stripes on each sleeve. The courtroom audience was too polite to point or exclaim, but an explanation was clearly in order and, within hours, the Court's public information office provided one: the Chief Justice had designed a robe after one worn by the Lord Chancellor in a local production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Iolanthe," and he intended to keep on wearing it. (2)
Gilbert and Sullivan, perhaps, instead of The Student Prince to the Times’ eyes, but to mine, those stripes on the robe reminded me of nothing other than the length-of-service stripes on the ancient waiters at the Gage and Tollner restaurant in downtown Brooklyn. (3)


Having offered advice for gifting Republican fashionistas, we can turn our thoughts (in our not-quite-Martha-Stewart way) to jollying-up GOP office decor. 

We can start with a custom hardwood table, chairs, and a hutch for 31,561 taxpayer dollars for that bargain shopper Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development. But for a mega-list of gift ideas we had best turn to recently-resigned (but not lamented) Scott Pruitt, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. 
[Pruitt] installed a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in his office that the Government Accountability Office has deemed violates federal spending laws.Another $9,000 was spent sweeping Pruitt’s office for listening bugs and installing biometric locks. Pruitt’s head of security wanted to spend another $70,000 to replace two desks. A total of $1,560 was billed to the EPA for 12 customized silver pens. (4)

Hopefully, this post has eased the burden of your GOP gift selection anxieties. If you somehow forget these particular items, you can’t go wrong by adhering to the following advice: 

Make sure it’s costly, unnecessary, tasteless, and paid for by other people.


(1) To the Washington Star the men looked like West German traffic policemen: “One's first inclination ... is to ask, ‘Wo ist der Bahnhof?’” (“Where is the railroad station?”) The Cleveland Plain Dealer thought they looked more like “generals in the banana republics to the south of us.” To the Chicago Daily News they were like movie characters in “a rerun of ‘Graustark’ or ‘The Student Prince,’” the Detroit News found them “unusual but ghastly,” while the Buffalo Evening News said “even ushers at old‐time movie palaces were garbed with greater restraint and better taste.” “Ruritania, D.C.,” scoffed The New York Times. 

(3) For decades Brooklyn’s finest would be served she-crab soup, Baltimore broiled clams, English mutton chops and kidneys en brochette by waiters in gold striped uniforms that indicated their length of service, with the Gold Eagle the most prestigious award, signifying 25 years of service.

No comments:

Post a Comment