Catalogues offer perfect gift ideas for political animals

McClatchy-TribuneDecember 22, 2013 

In the spirit of goodwill to others, even if they are politicians, here are some gift suggestions culled from the catalogues.

 • For House Speaker John Boehner, who is now on the tea party’s naughty list for backing the budget compromise even though he spent the last two years bucking his own establishment Republicans, we suggest Dean and Deluca’s sweet “Coal Stocking Stuffer.” Dean and Deluca notes: “It’s the nicest stocking stuffer possible for those who deserve a lump or two.”

 • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who “presided over” the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act, to use one of the nice names for it, might find a “voice clarifying amplifier” from Hammacher Schlemmer useful. It is a digital earpiece that amplifies human speech frequencies above background noise so that spoken words are clearly audible. Perhaps the next time peons tell her a computer program is not ready for prime time, she’ll hear.

 • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who ran a tight ship when she was speaker, should receive a “fashionista Christmas tree,” a prelit 5-foot (just her size) tree designed like a dressmaker’s dress form, also from Hammacher Schlemmer. Pelosi always looks so well put together you forget the Republicans ignore everything she says.

 • We think President Obama would enjoy the new Play it Again Polar Bear from Gump’s. You ask the bear to play a song, any one of 12 Christmas carols, and he does it. Just like Obama tries to mollify whoever he is meeting with at any given moment.

 • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the beleaguered Senate Republican leader, might find under his tree a “teepee to call your own.” The Land of Nod catalogue notes that this teepee is “the perfect home away from home while trailblazing the playroom frontier,” which of course is Congress. Poor McConnell just keeps bashing Obamacare, and he still can’t win friends and influence people.

 • Michelle Obama, the near perfect first lady, ordinarily would get a vegetable-of-the-month club subscription. But she’s probably tired of that, so we are suggesting a Meatsplosion, a Big Box of Deli Meat from Zingerman’s. For only $200 she’ll receive pastrami, corned beef, sausage, liverwurst, applewood smoked bacon, pork spread, and salami. Yum-o.

 • Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who would like to be the first Hispanic president and used to be for immigration before he was against it, really should have an robotic avatar from Hammacher. It reflects an owner’s facial features and personality traits. “You can customize its response in your own voice to match your personality such as “stop that!” or “wait a sec, bub.”

 • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is best known for trampling anyone who stands between him and a TV camera and refusing to step aside. His aides might consider the runaway alarm clock from Hammacher. Put on Schumer’s lectern, it makes a “mischievous dash when its alarm sounds” and can survive a jump from a three-foot stand after which it scampers in an erratic path.” TV crews would love it.

 • You have to admit that Hillary Clinton, who has been first lady, senator and secretary of state, has everything. She’s rich. She’s smart. Neat clothes. Husband with great hair. Nieman Marcus’ big gift this year is an ultimate outdoor entertainment system ranging from $1.5 million to $2.6 million. What a perfect way to make a presidential announcement!

Happy holidays, pols. Isn’t it nice to know we’re thinking of you?

Ann McFeatters, a McClatchy-Tribune columnist, has covered the White House and national politics since 1986. Email her at amcfeatters@ nationalpress.com.

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