Washington DC is filled with unelected bureaucrats who wield powerful influence behind the scenes, far away from cameras.
Glossy News sat down this week with one such powerful, unelected face, retiring Senate Marketing Liaison Bob Barnum. The garrulous, gregarious Barnum spoke at length on his career and shared predictions for the Senate’s future.
“I came here straight from Madison Avenue. ‘Walk a mile for a Camel’ had gotten me lots of attention at McMahon & Tate, but I was surprised when Bob Byrd phoned to offer me work. First thing I did was get Medicare passed. They were getting a lot of heat from Goldwater; their own fault really. They had the legislation named something like MDFLEA. Senators know squat about mass marketing. So I stayed up all night working with that hot redhead from Dirksen’s office. We found a way to rename it the PUPPY Act, and it sold quick. Everybody likes puppies. So yeah, I invented the acronym legislation concept.”
Barnum talked of acronym triumphs and some missed opportunities. “Nixon should’ve asked me for help in 1972. That ‘Committee to Re-elect the President’ thing; amateurish. CREEP for Lord’s sakes? I recall the day Donny Rumsfeld walked into my office saying ‘I’m with CREEP.’ I still got his business card around here somewhere.”
The retiring SML grew wistful in speaking of his accomplishments. “That Bush kid showed smarts in bringing me into the loop. He laid out the legislation for me. At first I thought it was a gag; you know those Yale frat boys. Once I realized he was serious, explained to him this was going to be a harder sell than the 1964 PUPPY Act. But I finally figured how to name it the PATRIOT Act and it stuck. Obama hasn’t moved to rescind any of it, right?”
Bob Barnum grew sad when considering Capitol Hill without marketing help. “DREAM Act was my last bit, and my heart wasn’t in it. I did it mostly as a favor for Harry. It’s something about illegal aliens get a Corvette, not really sure. I just wonder how these idiots are going to get along without me. Who’ll do their acronyms?”