Tomato or vegetable?

John McCaslin
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Posted: Mar 01, 2005 12:00 AM

Can you explain the difference between political and consumer sovereignty?

"In politics, you may vote for Candidate A over B. But if enough others vote for B, you're stuck with B," said Paul Jacobs, senior fellow at Americans for Limited Government. "In the market, it doesn't matter how many people prefer Campbell's Soup to Progresso, if you hate Campbell's, you don't buy it. Period."

EARLY WARNING

"Under the circumstances, the pro-life movement would never - absolutely never - support Rice, Giuliani, McCain, or anyone like them."

So pledges Douglas R. Scott, president of Life Decisions International, shooting down suggestions by pundits and conservative activists that the pro-life movement could be persuaded to accept a pro-abortion or "weak" pro-life Republican nominee for president if necessary to retain the White House in 2008.

Possible candidates whose names are being floated include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Scott says Giuliani would be a "disaster" for the party's abortion opponents, while McCain "would give us little more than lip service." As for Rice, who has not publicly declared her stance on abortion, Scott doesn't think she will run for president.

D.C. DEALER

The association that represents the commercial casino industry has a new lobbyist in Washington, veteran Capitol Hill staffer Dorothy R. Jackson.

A top adviser to former House Speaker Tom Foley, Washington Democrat, and former chief of staff to three members of Congress, Jackson becomes vice president of government affairs for the American Gaming Association.

Her new boss happens to be Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., president and CEO of the association, who was chairman of the Republican National Committee for six of President Reagan's eight years in the White House.

When Fahrenkopf retired in 1989, he had been chairman longer than any other person in the 20th century, and second-longest in the history of the Republican Party.

MATTER OF TASTE

The nation's governors, in Washington for their annual huddle, were treated by President Bush and first lady Laura Bush to a lavish dinner in the State Dining Room of the White House.

In the background, the U.S. Marine Band played "Fascinating Rhythm," followed by the more somnolent "Lara's Theme" and a piano interlude.

Bush was dashing in his tuxedo, and our White House pool reporter described Mrs. Bush as "stunning in a long dress."

A toast was soon offered by Bush to build a "more perfect union," his desire reciprocated by Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat said to have his eye on the White House in 2008.

Dinner guests then feasted on wild rice soup with pheasant, tenderloin of beef in a Texas marinade, spinach and sweet potato batonnets, spring vegetable ragout, mache and peppercress salad, with wild raspberry-apple pie and cinnamon ice cream for dessert.

It was a meal fit for a king. But not for reporters.

"Franks and beans with sauerkraut were not on the menu," a smart-aleck scribe wrote in the official White House pool report. "If they were, your pooler would have fought a mighty battle to stay."

SOMBER RETURN

There was no better reminder for Sen. Jim DeMint that freedom comes at a high price than the flag-draped coffins loaded aboard his flight from Iraq to Kuwait over the weekend.

The South Carolina Republican had spent the day accompanying the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force on a routine patrol of Fallujah. Shortly after the senator departed with the unit, Lt. Gen. John Sattler, commanding general of Marine forces in Iraq, was notified of a missile attack near his destination.

"I walked around in body armor and I can't say it was comfortable," the senator said, albeit a more painful portion of his trip was to follow.

"As we flew back to Kuwait City for the night, I was saddened to see flag-draped coffins aboard our plane," he said. "Upon landing and witnessing the respectful ceremony given to our fallen heroes, it was a reminder to us all that freedom does not come freely."

ALL BUT KING

Past presidential candidate, former Vermont governor and medical doctor Howard Dean has worn his share of hats, most of which he manages to attach to his signature as the new leader of the Democratic Party:

"Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

"Chairman, Democratic National Committee."

FEELING BLUE?

First came yellow "Live Strong" silicone wristbands produced by six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong's cancer foundation.

Next, "Count Me Blue" bracelets began showing up, in support of John Kerry. On their heels - or wrists, in this case came - "Count Me Red" wristbands.

LaDonna Hale Curzon, a Count Me Red rep, says sales of both political bracelets, taking their colors from the blue-red split, remain strong now, months after the election. It's a family matter, after all, between 36-year-old Berns Rothchild of New York City, who backed Kerry, and her father, John Rothchild of Miami Beach, Fla., who supports President Bush.

"Rothchild's daughter was distraught with the presidential election results especially so during a Christmas trip to London, where she was bombarded by European snide remarks about the election outcome," notes Curzon.

"So after her return from Britain, her mother suggested she wear a blue wristband to wear her politics on her sleeve. And so she did. She invested in making and marketing Count Me Blue wristbands.

"When her father caught wind of that, he determined that he had to counter with his own political sentiments, and he started Count Me Red wristbands. Now it's a father-daughter competition as to who can sell the most wristbands."

DEFENDING SUMMERS

The Caveman is defending an embattled university president.

"I thought how ironic it is that Harvard President Larry Summers is taking criticism for pointing out factual differences between the sexes, and people are packing the Spectrum nightly to celebrate and poke fun at the differences between the sexes," says Washington publicist Matt Amodeo.

Summers, he notes, has been sizzling in the feminist frying pan ever since suggesting "intrinsic differences" between the sexes when it comes to the ability to climb the science and engineering ladders.

Yet the show "Defending the Caveman," which has been performed in more than 60 cities for the past 13 years, gets rave reviews by examining obvious differences between men and women.

Amodeo points to "lots of affectionate nudging during the performance and couples are commonly seen strolling out into the night holding hands."

The Caveman even enjoys "a loyal following in the therapy community, having been seen and recommended by thousands of psychologists and counselors."

"Defending the Caveman" is entering its fourth month at the Spectrum Theater in the Rosslyn section of Arlington.

NO MORE KISSES

This Valentine's Day, Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat, encouraged the romantic sweethearts in his party not to buy chocolates from three of the nation's biggest chocolate producers: Hershey, Nestle and Mars.

After all, he warned, all three are "red" companies - purportedly supporters of President Bush and his policies.

It's not just Hershey's Kisses that Democrats were asked to give up. Outback Steakhouse is similarly a target of the left, as are hundreds of Wal-Mart stores that are "not so blue." And Democrats are pumping Hess "blue gasoline" these partisan days.

"You may have voted blue, but every day you unknowingly help dump millions of dollars into the conservative war chest," reads the mission statement of Buy Blue - buyblue.org.

"By purchasing products and services from companies that donate heavily to conservatives, we have been compromising our own interests as liberals and progressives."

Buy Blue is developing an extensive list of companies for Democrats to monitor - "to lift the veil of corporate patronage, so consumers can make informed buying decisions that coincide with their principles."

The impact, if any, of buying blue - or red - remains to be seen. There's always the question of whether a consumer, regardless of party, will give up Almond Joy solely to demonstrate party allegiance or principle.

The Hershey Foods Corp., the largest North American manufacturer of chocolate and nonchocolate confectionery products, recently announced record sales and earnings for the last quarter, with revenues of more than $4 billion.

And recently came word that the company hopes to double its outstanding shares, generating even more money. With such a promising job-market in these uncertain times, we wonder how many Democrats among the candy makers' 14,000-plus employees appreciate being snubbed by their own.

HAPPY MEALS

The American Progress Action Fund, the sister advocacy organization of the District-based Center for American Progress, observes that President Bush has had several "warm" dinners with foreign leaders during this week of negotiations in Europe.

Still, administration policies - from Iran to Kyoto - continue to leave a bad "aftertaste" on the continent, the group says.

So much for Bush making small concessions on this journey, like during dinner with French President Jacques Chirac, when he pointedly announced a plate of Belgian "frites" as "french fries."

TALKING FOR ONCE

In search of clarification, one White House pool reporter watching the arrival ceremony of President Bush in Slovakia pulled aside a senior administration official and asked about the president's expression of support for the negotiations by Britain, Germany and France with Iran.

Yes, the administration official confirmed, it represents a shift in attitude.

"Last fall, we were yelling at each other," he noted.

RELIC NO MORE

Before he left Germany for Slovakia and meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Bush took a stroll with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder through the Gutenberg Museum, where Bush observed that one of the tailing White House correspondents, Richard Kyle of Bloomberg News, was sporting a Boston Red Sox cap.

Schroeder, probably more familiar with the world-famous New York Yankees, could then be heard repeating the words "Red Sox."

"He used to not wear that until they won the championship," Bush told Schroeder.

IN CLOSING

You're opposed to mercy killing
And find the prospect chilling,
But supposing you
Can't express your view
And your relatives are willing?

- F.R. Duplantier