The president tends to hog the headlines when he shows up at the Gridiron Club’s spring dinner — as President Barack Obama has done only twice since moving to the White House.
This year, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal managed to upstage Obama.
The press, however — OK, media, social or otherwise — also gets a few licks in at an annual event where, according to the 128-year-old club’s standing rules, the humor can “singe,” but must never “burn.”
To the accompaniment of the red-jacketed U.S. Marine Band Saturday night at the Renaissance Washington Hotel, the white-tie audience heard some serious singeing in the singing of satirical numbers by members of the invitation-only Gridiron and a few professional ringers in the chorus.
Clarence Page, longtime and prize-winning Washington columnist for the Chicago Tribune, appeared in the persona of Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.
“Nothing you can say could tear me away from my gun,” Page-LaPierre sang to the tune of “My Girl.”
If you hate the NRA, tell my Walther PPK.
You’re flirting with disaster, with my Bushmaster.
And when pigs start to fly, my cold dead hands you’ll pry — from my gun.
“I was the very model of a four-star CENTCOM general,” sang the ringer-singer posing as retired Army Gen. David Petraeus:
It really all began because I had a way of mentoring,
Aphrodite knocked upon my door and then I let her in.
I still just don’t believe it but I saw it with my own two eyes,
to think it all began with just a simple form of exercise.
Even the formerly tweeting and now retired Pope Benedict XVI was fodder for satire in the spoof entitled “Give Me That Online Religion.”
Sen. Marco Rubio got the pop-singer Ricky Martin treatment — “Livin’ La Vida Loca” became “Savin’ the Party Loca” in a duo with “Chris Christie”:
Upside, inside out I’m savin’ the party loca,
I’ll push and pull you round, savin’ the party loca.
We want our base to grow, we need skin the color mocha.
Young and old come on — savin’ the party loca.
For House Speaker John Boehner, it seemed, only “Les Miserables” would suffice:
Master of the House,
Rayburn I am not,
House GOP caucus is a sorry lot.
Hurtling off the cliff, gotta watch our backs.
Grover N will get us if we raise a tax.
Washington’s lobbyists found something in common with the press, in the delivery of a scene from “Tommy,” with a song about the president, aka Pinball Wizard:
Ever since November Seventh,
it’s settled like a pall.
On Congress, on the press corps,
From K Street to the Mall.
We never got this feeling from any other pol.
That mighty Obama don’t like us much at all.
Debt ceilings? To the tune of “Feelings”: “Ceilings, they’re coming back, debt ceilings…”
And to “Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious”:
Mandatory legislative budget sequestration,
across the board affecting every sector of our nation,
dairy goats and pleasure boats and civil aviation,
mandatory legislative budget sequestration.
With no apologies to the Beatles, Hillary Clinton was played as more concerned about 69 than 64:
Got a bit older, growing my hair, gained a pound or two.
Going home to vegetate in Chapaqua, I just want to be a gradma.
It was more than a case of Beghazi flu, still I’ll be just fine.
Will you select me, will you elect me, when I’m 69?
There was an homage to women in the military — “I Will Survive” — a lament about the polarization of Washington — “The Weight” — and a run at Vice President Joe Biden — “I’m Not Barack.”
Who needs Barack? We got Joe Biden.
Yeah Barack he’s the man, but Joe Biden, he’s your guy.
Yet, as a survivor of the Sixties, this guest of the Gridiron found particular pleasure in the rendition of Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women.”
Everybody must get droned.
We drone cause we got tired of Iraq
We drone you cause we got some drones in stock.
We drone because we haven’t got a clue.
Yeah, Barack’s got bigger drones than W.
We don’t know where the next insurrection might be grown.
So everybody must get droned.
Despite the fun that Obama poked at a dinner and show notorious for its length — the president, opening with a joke about the budget sequestration cutting his tails, said: “Of course, there’s one thing in Washington that didn’t get cut — the length of this dinner yet more proof that the sequester makes no sense” — it was all done by little after 10:30 pm.
Eastern Standard Time, that is.
The cast lost an hour to sleep it all off.