GOPs Shocked by the Great White Way

  • Capital Connections ®
  • |
  • September 01, 2004

by Karen Feld

GOPs Shocked by the Great White Way, Prefer the Govern-ator

Republican convention planners invited delegates to wholesome family musicals — Beauty and The Beast and The Lion King — but some wanting to experience still more Broadway landed tix to not-so-politically correct theater and ranted louder than the protesters behind police lines. Some of his fellow Republicans weren’t amused by the puppet sex and off-color lyrics in the Tony-winning, Avenue Q, but Steve Abrams of Potomac, MD, a major investor in the hit show, says he’s thrilled that the show is booked at the new Wynn Vegas Hotel, opening Labor Day, 2005.

If you thought Teresa Heinz Kerry has the monopoly on ketchup, you’ll be surprised that Republican convention-goers bought more than 1500 bottles of W Ketchup. What’s more, it’s kosher, and billed as America’s Ketchup… And several of the convention-related parties had ritually correct food stations. Perhaps the rainmakers at the DC law firm, Blank Rome, thought that would enhance the lobster martinis. Just a subtle way that Republicans are competing for the Jewish voting bloc.

What would you do if you had five minutes with the President? Ron Reagan, Jr., looking, talking, and acting like a Democrat, was flogging a book with his introduction and 55 celebrity essays answering that question. He doesn’t look like Joe DiMaggio but one fan asked him to sign two baseballs. “You’re not going to sell them on ebay?” asked the late President’s son… He wasn’t the only popular Reagan in NYC for the hoopla. Even David Eisenhower, grandson of another GOP president and hubby of Julie Nixon, was spotted waiting patiently in line to get into Michael Reagan’s bash at Gotham Hall. No pushin’ and shovin’ for those well-mannered pedigreed Republicans!

Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s significant other, NY State Banking Superintendent Diana Taylor, and her 70ish mother marched for “Choice” last weekend. “Just don’t get arrested,” he warned them. The Mayor admitted privately that he was relieved they didn’t embarrass him.

Insiders schmoozing in VIP hospitality suites in Madison Square Garden stepped ahead of the ballot box and speculated on who would be the key players in a second Bush administration. Here’s the buzz: Sec. Of State Colin Powell, a leading candidate to head The World Bank, will be replaced by Condi Rice or Jerry Bremer, America’s top governor in Iraq. Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, who along with his Deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, and Attorney General John Ashcroft were persona non grata in New York this week, were likely plotting damage control in Cheney’s bunker. Rumsfeld has confided to close pals he’d like to “out last” Powell. Those in the know say Condi is eyeing Rummy’s job. But Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge and UN Ambassador Jack Danforth are also contenders… Expect the President to remain loyal on the domestic home front. No need to worry about job security for Karen Hughes, Karl Rove and Andy Card… And wordsmith Peggy Noonan has signed on with the President’s team as well.

Noticeable absence at the GOP gathering is as relevant as visible presence. Dan Quayle had the number two job in the senior Bush’s administration, but this time, he was told to stay away… Hurricane Frances kept First Brother Jeb away, but not the “JEB 08” placards. The Guv was home in Florida attending to constituents’ evacuation worries… Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, a Democrat, says he told the President a condition of accepting the job was “no political conventions or campaigns.”

“Govern-ator” sightings throughout NY from Planet Hollywood to the Boat House in Central Park generated excitement among celeb-starved Republicans, who have adopted Arnold Schwarzen-ator as their new hero. Old-timers were surprised that he lifted a taboo by resurrecting Richard Nixon as his political inspiration… Singer Pat Boone caused the Grand OLD Party loyalists to swoon…. Boxing promoter and Florida resident Don King calling himself a “Republicrat” grabbed almost as much media attention as culture icon, filmmaker Michael Moore, who Republicans dubbed “Cheeseburger.” But overall TV and film stars were scarce, perhaps because as Florida Congressman Mark Foley remarked, “It took a librarian — The First Lady — to convince The White House to increase funding for the NEA (National Endowment of the Arts) this year.”

On the subject of celebs, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told a handful of entertainers ­ Mike Farrell (MASH), Tim Blake Nelson (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou), and Joey Pantoliano (The Sopranos) — lured to the GOP convention by the non-profit arts advocacy group, the Creative Coalition: “You have the greatest megaphone — Use your celebrity status!” The Guv added, “You have more power than we do, and more people love you than love us.” Now that’s an admission for a politician!

And another presidential candidate is brushing up on his campaign skills. Longtime Democrat activist Jimmy Smits has signed to play a three-term Congressman from Houston who runs for the White House on The West Wing. We hear his character will be modeled after Lloyd Bentsen, who of course, was a Congressman from Houston, a Senator, 1976 presidential candidate, and Mike Dukakis’ running mate in ’88, before serving as President Clinton’s Treasury Secretary. He’ll be hitting the campaign trail in DC, Sept. 14, at a benefit for the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, a group he co-founded.

Austin, TX. attorney Kent Hance, the folksy Democrat who defeated George W. Bush for Congress in ’78, regaled dinner companions at the posh La Cirque in New York with colorful Bush stories. When Hance met with him in the Oval Office recently, the President couldn’t thank him enough. “Just think, I’d be Chairman of the Ag Committee now.” That’s gratitude!

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