- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2002

Perhaps $30,000 is not "a lot of money" as far as government pork-barrel projects go. Still, it's a reflection of its priorities that the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities is embroiled in a squabble over how to blow that sum on wait for it "The Devine Miss Donkey" and 200 other "Party Animals," plastic effigies of donkeys and elephants in various states of drag, throughout the city as a part of an effort to "promote tourism."
Instead of school supplies or patched potholes, D.C. taxpayers get to work so that "artists" can create lipstick festooned, flower dress-wearing what's-its to draw the attention of understandably startled tourists. Miss Donkey, according to her creator, Jill H. Krasner, is "what Bette Midler would look like if she was a donkey." Hee-haw. Other representations include Carl Wilson's elephant with lacy skirt, and another donkey with a satin-lapel jacket and tuxedo shirt. Each of the 200 artists participating in the project was paid $1,200 to create the effigies, which are scheduled to be exhibited later this month at various points around the city.
Of course, it may never happen and not because outraged taxpayers have demanded their money back, but because the Green Party has filed suit to have its symbol (a sunflower) included in the fun. The Greens have asked for a temporary restraining order, and it's going to be up to a judge to decide what to do. A decision is expected by April 19.
The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities maintains that the use of donkeys and elephants is not "political" but it's hard not to see the Green Party's point. The elephant has been the symbol of the Republican Party for ages, just as the donkey has been the mascot of the Democratic Party. Neither symbolizes Washington and certainly not while wearing lipstick and dressed up in flower-print dresses.
Perhaps the money spent to fund this exhibit is "not a lot of money." But tell that to the taxpayers who must work to provide it.

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