Fall means golden leaves, weekend football games and class reunions. Okay, so The Lunch wasn’t supposed to be a “class reunion” benefiting Goodwill Industries of Dallas at the Omni Dallas Hotel. But that’s what it turned out to be.
With a front-row lineup of tables looking like SMU Family Weekend, the guests included Honorary Co-Chairs Carolyn and David Miller, Mike Boone, Gerald Turner, Cary Maguire, Luncheon Chair Jim Johnston and Goodwill Industries of Dallas Chairman of the Board Brooks Cullum Jr.
But the real reunion was the Bush gals. No, not Laura, Barbara I and II or Jenna. Rather, W’s daytime gal pals from his days in the White House including Harriet Miers, Karen Hughes and Condoleezza Rice.
Throughout the crowded room were smatterings of equally VIP-ish types like Caren Prothro, Nancy Halbreich, Ruth Altshuler, Gail Turner, Norm Bagwell, Laura Stockdale, Claire Emanuelson, Christie Carter, Bridget Goines, Ashley Miars, Pat McEvoy, Heather Smith, Kiley Faulkner and Elizabeth and Jack Wahlquist.
After an introduction by Harriet, featured speaker Condoleezza took her seat on stage in a chair facing Karen. At times it appeared as if the more than 700 peeps in attendance were eavesdropping on two college roommate reminiscing about the good ol’ days. The exchange was taken two different ways. One, there was a true comfort level in the conversation. Second, it seemed like it was a double bill of Karen talking as much as Condoleezza about her memories.
If anyone had expected headline-making revelations about the upcoming election, a review of the current administration, or regrets about the Bush foreign-policy strategy, they were left hungry. Despite the softball questions lobbed by her old Crawford ranch roomie/Burson-Marsteller exec Karen, Stanford Professor Condoleezza did rise to the occasion, demonstrating her smarts, diplomacy and humor with such comments as:
- George W. Bush’s calling the female White House staffers, who worked out with gloves, the “Chicks With Mitts.”
- Her not-so-keen relationship with Barney. Seems upon first meeting the late Scottish Terrier in the Oval office, he ambled up in a friendly manner. She thought that was nice until she realized he was chewing on her shoe.
- Karen’s having her over for dinner after one especially brutal week.
- The importance of female leadership and education. The K-12 system is in “crisis,” she said, leaving poor kids stuck in failing schools.
- Her understanding (as a “Russianist”) of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin, she said, sees himself in the mold of Peter the Great and is out to re-establish Russian greatness.
- Terrorists groups like Isis “just have to be defeated,” she concluded. Their “sexiness” or appeal needs to be degraded, while the western countries “have to have a better story than they do.”