This Oughta Be Interesting

by Jay Nordlinger

I see my friend Ted Cruz has been tabbed as the Republican speaker at the annual Gridiron dinner. This could be really good. Also, it feels a little twenty-sixteeny to me — something to do pre-presidentially.

Every once in a while, the Gridiron Dinner is of some importance. It was important to Nancy Reagan, early in the first Reagan administration. (We used to count four years as one administration — I think that’s gone by the boards.) Nancy was getting killed by the press for her hoity-toity ways: new White House china, designer clothes, etc. So, at the Gridiron Dinner, she put on a goofy outfit and sang a parody song called “Secondhand Clothes,” to the tune of “Secondhand Rose.”

Brought the house down. Bought her some goodwill, for a while.

As long as I’m walking down Memory Lane, with historical tidbits: The House speaker, Tip O’Neill, refused to attend the Gridiron Dinner, because he refused to don the formalwear. That wasn’t the worst thing about O’Neill.

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