Monday, October 23, 2006

Mrs. Macaca’

Supporters of Virginia Sen. George Allen — or perhaps in this case we should say supporters of his wife, Susan Allen — are outraged by a letter to the editor from Jan Falk of Fairfax Station, published Thursday in the Centre View newspaper in Centreville.

“If this is how she is teaching her children to talk to people, then I can only feel sorry for her children and her family,” one Allen supporter said of the letter. “What a sad state of affairs when adults are teaching our children to be disrespectful to those we may not agree with.”

Mrs. Falk’s letter, “True Story About ‘Mrs. Macaca,’” reads in part:

“To the Editor: We had an interesting experience at Clifton Day this year. Myself, my 11-year-old son and a friend were walking up the street in the big crowd when we encountered Mrs. George Allen and her entourage …

“We are a very political family and we talk politics around the breakfast and dinner table on a daily basis. For some reason, Mrs. Allen introduced herself to my son, who has a sweet ‘howdy-doody’ face with freckles. Here is the exchange:

“Mrs. Allen: ‘I am Mrs. George Allen.’

“My son: ‘You suck.’

“Me: ‘She’s Mrs. Macaca.’

“Mrs. Allen: ‘Oooooo, don’t teach your children to hate.’

“Me: ‘Teach your children to think.’ (We chant) ‘Stop the corruption.’

“And she was whisked away by her handlers. I get the sense, like George W. [Bush], she isn’t used to opposition and the usual crowd is laced, ahead of time, with only supporters. I have never been more proud of my son. We are teaching respect on a case-by-case basis, not on arbitrary parameters having to do with social position or age.”

Mr. Allen is running in a very tight race to keep his Republican Senate seat against Democratic challenger James H. Webb Jr., former secretary of the Navy.

Twisted optimism

“What surprises me” — or so Democratic strategist James Carville observes whenever the conversation centers on Democrats’ chances of retaking both the House and Senate in the midterm elections Nov. 7 — “is how many Republicans themselves are openly talking about how the Democrats stand a good chance of winning.”

“That’s what surprises me,” Mr. Carville told Inside the Beltway over the weekend.

Cause to celebrate

That was Jan Eliasson, until recently the president of the U.N. General Assembly and, until two weeks ago, Sweden’s minister of foreign affairs, dancing up a storm with his beautiful wife, Kerstin, at Nathans in Georgetown on Saturday night.

Cooling down after twirling to Bryan Adams‘ hit “Summer of ‘69,” Mr. Eliasson told Inside the Beltway that the couple was celebrating House of Sweden Inauguration Week.

Two months ago, the Embassy of Sweden moved into the glittering brand new House of Sweden, located along the Georgetown waterfront, within sight of the Kennedy Center.

As part of the weeklong celebration along the banks of the Potomac River, popular Swedish musicians the Ark and singer-songwriter Anna Ternheim performed yesterday (no, Washington’s cool autumn weather doesn’t bother the Swedes).

But the grand finale of the inauguration is this evening , when Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf Folke Hubertus and Queen Silvia Sommerlath host a royal gala dinner in the House of Sweden’s Alfred Nobel Hall.

Sweden’s new minister for foreign affairs, Carl Bildt, will be formally introduced at the gala. He already has scheduled several bilateral meetings in connection with the inauguration.

Back in town

His customer list is remarkable, and so is his collection: a world globe purchased by a foreign dignitary for former President Bill Clinton; a champagne bucket purchased as a wedding gift for Elton John; a necklace once worn by Aretha Franklin.

See them all tomorrow evening at 2922 M St. in Georgetown, when the Keith Lipert Gallery hosts its reopening bash in Georgetown.

“In ancient Egypt, a myth prevailed about the phoenix, a bird that dies in flames, but rises again, in a new form, from the ashes,” the English-accented Mr. Lipert pointed out. “Unusual as it may seem, a transformation not unlike this one has taken place in modern-day society, just this past year, in the heart of Georgetown.”

The shopkeeper first opened his doors in 1994, providing distinct decorative arts and fashion accessories to a customer base that quickly grew to include Washington and Hollywood elite alike. However, a fire destroyed all the gallery’s contents in January. Rebuilt and expanded, it reopened this summer.

• John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or

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