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Politicians for Dinner
Why Dear Jon wants Rice with dinner.

by Dear Jon
September 28, 2004

RECONSTRUCTED  LETTER TO DEAR JON after his computer crashed:
Dear Jon,
If you could have any politician over for a dinner party (10-20 people) who would you invite and why?
Sincerely, Name Forgotten
Dear Letter Writer,
Funny you should ask. I just had breakfast in Chicago with Mayor Daley and senate candidate Barak Obama. No, I’m not kidding. I just happened to be part of a crowd of 1500 or so.
I do not know our Mayor’s reputation outside of Chicago. In the city our local news likes to edit out anything substantive to give us 5 second sound-bytes of blustering incoherence. This media spin on Mayor Daley is a big reason why many Chicagoans, who are mostly partisan Democrats, do not join in the rest of the nation’s mockery of the blustering incoherence of the Republican President.
All of that is to make this point, that Mayor Daley is a passionate, eloquent and entertaining speaker. And there is no way I would want to stand in front of one of his bulldozers. However, in a more intimate dinner party setting, I am afraid that Mayor Daley would become the center of attention. This, as you know, is intolerable to Dear Jon, which is why Dear Jon has not had Dr. Spin over to a dinner party since my retro-seventies theme party last New Year’s Eve.
(Let’s just say that I didn’t NEED a “stand-in” deejay, especially a smart-aleck who decides to make fun of my party shirt before every song. Anyway, I was doing fine working off my “Disco Juniors” compilation. People were dancing, at least, not just sitting around laughing at me between extended sing-along sets of Led Zeppelin and The Who. But since I haven’t spoken to Dr. Spin since, it is safe to say that is all water under the bridge.)
Anyway, I would want a public figure who is important enough for the people at the party to feel privileged to come, and who is low-key enough not to crowd me out. Maybe Walter Mondale.
I would consider Nancy Reagan, but then I would worry about setting the silverware exactly right. I would consider Hilary Clinton for mixed company, and Bill Clinton for a guy’s only pizza night. I would not want them in the same room, which is probably fine with them. I would not want Tipper and Al Gore in the same room, but for opposite reasons. The Doles are a lose-lose prospect, because whether together or apart Elizabeth would get the same embarrassing questions as Bob would. After all, a dinner party of 10-20 implies that I have my friends over. I know my friends. I’m not inviting the Doles for the Doles’ sake.
The Dukakis’s are definitely in the Mondale category.
Either Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter would be polite guests, but of the ex-Presidents, these are the most Mondale-ish. George and Barbara Bush frighten me.
I would have Ashcroft, Rumsfeld or Cheney over ONLY if the dinner guests were going to be entertained by a very heated debate in which I would gladly quote our Vice President’s words right back at him. Believe me, I would feel better afterwards.
I would invite Colin Powell over, but not for dinner. Of course, I would make sure he had what he needed, but the “dinner party” as such would not be the point of having him over. What I and my 10-20 friends would do with him is an “intervention,” which would include extensive de-programming of neo-conservative cultic dogma and quite possibly an exorcism.
I just don’t think our Secretary of State would consent to an intervention at this point. Colin Powell first needs to admit that he has a problem before he can receive help. The goal is to “bring Colin back – no, no, not Dick. Am I talking to “Dick” now? No? Oh, this is Donny. Donny, I command you to come out of Colin and leave Colin alone in the name of all that is holy.”
Of course, there is President Bush. The reason I don’t want him over for dinner is that I am afraid he would sucker me back into his camp. I know he is a liar, that all the promises he made in 2000 about a posture of humility in international relations was just a line to seduce me. I know how he is; I just need to not open my heart to him again. I have to set boundaries.
This is what would happen if I let President Bush in my house. He would sit down like he owned the place, and ask for a lemonade with a little extra ice, and then he would stare at me over that frosting glass. Yes, I remember how I used to call you Georgie Porgie, that was a long time ago. And wipe that smirk off your face, oh gosh you’re smirking at me, you know how that drives me crazy, Porgie, it’s so cute and endearing it makes me want to vote for you again—no! No! I can’t! Please just go away!
The person that I would really want over for a dinner party is Condileeza Rice. She is current, which makes her “cool,” but I think she would have the instincts to be polite to her host. While she seems to be a puppet of the neoconservatives right now, she seems somehow “less” guilty. Maybe I am just idealizing her, as she is, after all, the National Security Advisor, and Americans are more insecure than ever. Still, she does not reek of the “evil” that fouls the air around the Pentagon and whatever secret location in which our Vice President lurks.
So I would be more disposed to be cheerful and gracious with Condi Rice. Also, I think she would be game enough to sing for her supper, and when we break out the Trivial Pursuit® she can be on my team.

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