It’s not brain surgery

By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  November 28, 2007

Iowa songbird sings of Obama
A little white-haired bird that flies in serious Democratic Party political circles in Washington, DC, came across Phillipe + Jorge’s path last weekend, all atwitter, and told us some interesting news.
 
Although our source has his eggs in another candidate’s basket, he revealed that Barack Obama is definitely the flavor of the month among voters in the Democratic caucus in Iowa. Don’t believe a thing you hear from most in the DC crowd, P+J are advised; Obama is about to give Billary a slap across the chops with an Iowa State Fair corn dog. 
 
In addition to your superior correspondents throwing our public endorsement and considerable influence behind Obama, the mighty Oprah is also taking to the stump for him. That clout, however appalling in most circumstances, is not to be sniffed at, especially by the professional sniffers in Hillary’s camp.
 
Wouldn’t you give a million bucks to have been a fly on the wall when Senator Pantsuit got the message that the Big O was deifying her archrival? Flying ashtrays all around!

The moral challenge of Trent Lott
Another person who could have undergone surgery at Rhode Island Hospital without much fear of attracting a liability payout is former US Senate majority leader Trent Lott, the Mississippi Republican, who announced Monday that he’s resigning his seat in a few weeks. That is not since he shares the “wide open spaces” trait with P&J, but because even the most powerful laser would be challenged to penetrate his way-beyond-industrial strength helmet-like coiffure.
 
We do, however, congratulate the greatest cheerleader in Ole Miss history for the humanitarian impulse that, obviously, was the primary motivating factor in his walking away from the Senate. The Trentster would have had a far easier time seeking re-election than most Republican members of Congress next year. After all, the GOP is about as strong in Mississippi as the Democrats are here in the Biggest Little.
 
But the ever-modest Lott only made vague references to “Hurricane Katrina” and “financial commitments” to his family in explaining why he is leaving. (His wife made no comment as she had recently turned into a pillar of salt.)
 
Some suspicious observers suggest that Lott’s resignation may have something to do with new ethics and lobbying rules, going into effect in 2008, that will restrict former members of Congress from lobbying former colleagues for two years (rather than the current one-year moratorium). We’re sure the way in which the extra year’s wait could translate into millions of dollars for Senator Lott had nothing to do with his calculations. 
 
In an unrelated non-story, we understand that Senator Larry Craig, R-Idaho, is not gay. 
 
There’s something about Martin Van Buren
Regular Cool, Cool World readers may recall an item from a year ago in which your superior correspondents described a rather memorable night at the Providence Athenaeum, the landmark private library in the heart of Benefit Street.
 
Shouting and impassioned argument on the cusp of fisticuffs broke out at a speaking program commemorating the birthday of our eighth president, Martin Van Buren (aka, the Red Fox of Kinderhook, not to be confused with the Redd Foxx of Hollywood).
 
One would not expect this sort of display at a scholarly presentation on a one-term 19th century president, so we have to ask: was it a disparaging comment by historian (and Van Buren biographer) Ted Widmer about the current occupant of the White House that so provoked a coterie of (shall we say) right-wing nut-bags in the audience? Or is there something about Martin Van Buren? (This would be a good film title if Van Buren had just a little bit of Cameron Diaz’s visual appeal, but, sad to say, he more resembles comic/actor Kevin Pollack, with mutton chops and extra avoirdupois.)
 
You can make up your own mind on Wednesday, December 5, when the Second Annual Martin Van Buren Birthday Party busts loose at the Athenaeum. Was Marty a genius or merely a vertically challenged butt boy for Andrew Jackson? Maybe he was a pre-Marx commie (what’s with this Free Soil shit?). Or is Widmer the real commie, as some talk-radio aficionados in last year’s audience would have you believe?
 
We understand that there will be some interesting new wrinkles this year, refreshments (popular hors d’oeuvres of the 1830s — bring your own vomit bucket), and cotton swaths available for DIY sideburns. Sorry, no face painting.

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