Welcome to gray-flannel glitz. That has to be the term for raising big money from men in business suits. And nobody is better at gray-flannel glitz than the local Republicans.
Tuesday night's event for the GOP Senatorial Committee proved that point--raising $100,000 at an event scheduled only 10 days earlier. White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan was the centerpiece of the two-tier party--a $500-a-person reception in the Yukon Pacific Rooms of the Arco Tower, followed by a $5,000-a-couple intimate dinner in the glamorous executive suite. (The $1,000-a-candidate limit to senatorial candidates doesn't apply if the money goes to a national party committee.) Arco's Lod and Carol Cook and John Gavin with his actress-wife Constance Towers hosted.
State Sen. Bill Campbell, the GOP candidate for state controller, pressed a little flesh at the reception--and kidded (this is a stout-candidate joke) that a lot of the Democrats were "just too thin."
But the others made it clear that for the GOP, holding on to the Senate is no laughing matter.
Sen. Pete Wilson said that without a Republican majority President Reagan would end his term "fighting a rear action when he should be finishing the Reagan Revolution."
The close tie between ideological and economic self-interest is always apparent at fund-raisers of both political parties. Regan managed to bring his message home--saying that the recent approval of chief justice nominee William H. Rehnquist by the Senate Judiciary Committee "was in a body of the Congress that we control." In 1987, with a Democratic-controlled Senate, "Who will be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee?--Teddy Kennedy. Doesn't that make you want to shell out even more?" (One note: Washington types say the chairman would most likely be Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, since Kennedy would opt for another chairmanship.)
Large "ughs" came from the gracious audience when Regan pointed out that Ohio Sen. Howard Metzenbaum would chair the energy, regulation and conservation subcommittee.
In a more positive vein: "I appreciate your generosity," Regan said, "and all these candidates will continue to respect the ideals you stand for." A few of those Senate candidates--South Dakota Sen. Jim Abdnor, Colorado Rep. Ken Kramer and Nevada's Jim Santini--mingled and met.
On other matters, GOP fund-raising honcho Joyce Valdez said that the Sept. 7 dinner for GOP Senate candidate Ed Zschau had already brought in $1.6 million--and the invites were just in the mail.
There was much talk about the tax bill--with this not-for-attribution line: "One man's loophole is another man's incentive."
There was no loophole for getting into the private dinner upstairs--a rose signified that the hefty contribution had been made. Gathering were GOP stalwarts such as Margaret Martin Brock with her good friend, Pepperdine President David Davenport, Wilson with his wife, Gayle (in a Diane Freis red-white-and-blue), and Randy and Carolyn Stockwell. Stockwell is the state GOP's finance chairman, busy raising money for voter registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns.
"Money in this state is hard to come by because Californians are generous to so many non-Californians," Stockwell said. It's easier, he said, to get support if you are a candidate, because "if you are in business, there are reasons you want to help them. I'm just a good citizen."
Other chat--Ann Regan telling Constance Towers that she had grown up in Washington with the glamorous Dina Merrill and they were "look-alikes" in those days. Also Arco's Cook, looking down at the L.A. Library and happily announcing that his committee has raised $4.2 million of the $10 million necessary for restoration.
After the Beef Wellington and Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, Regan answered some questions from the heavy hitters about the arms race and national security--all offthe record, but he frequently mentioned how everything he said had already been in print. Then the White House chief of staff and his entourage headed up the coast to the Santa Barbara Summer White House.
HEARTS IN PLACE--Guess you've been wondering what lucky charity was going to pick up that downtown young crowd whose parents have made such a mark on L.A. philanthropy. As it happens, it's one of the city's oldest charities--Good Samaritan Hospital. The new Century II group, headed by J. M. Taylor and Loring Rutt, opens its fund-raising efforts for the hospital's Angioplasty Unit with a black-tie benefit Sept. 12 at the fabulous Art Deco Fine Arts Building. The party is underwritten and catered by the Seventh Street Bistro, with wines coming from Vernon Underwood's Young's Market. Look for downtowners like Don Bowers, O'Malley Miller and Wayne Joe Clougherty (the president of Farmer John's Food). But before you think that second-generation male givers can do it without the distaff side, let's point out that the person in charge is Jenny Jones Rutt. This is a party to stand in line for.