Why Kwame Brown's boat is called 'Bullet Proof'
Woe to the boat-owning politician, who must withstand the scrutiny of owning such a luxury indulgence. Further woe to those -- like Gary Hart and Randy "Duke" Cunningham -- who feel they have to give their boats some clever name that ends up biting them in the rear.
So woe now to Kwame Brown, at-large council member and chairman candidate, whose 38-foot Chris-Craft yacht figures deeply in the $700,000-plus in personal debt that's now become a campaign issue.
One question is left unanswered: Why "Bullet Proof"?
Seizing on the violent connotations, opponent Vincent Orange has called the name inappropriate, noting to WRC-TV that sports owner Abe Pollin "changed his team from the Bullets to the Wizards" back in 1997 "because it's about image, it's about perception."
Brown insists the name is "not about violence."
Rather, Brown said in interviews that his wife, Marcia, named the boat. He was somewhat fuzzy on the precise inspiration, but he said it was a reference to President Bill Clinton -- "a comedy type of thing" involving either Chris Rock or Saturday Night Live. (Brown has worked in the federal Commerce Department during the Clinton administration.)
I suspect Brown speaks of a somewhat famous 1999 cold-open SNL sketch from just after Clinton was acquitted of impeachment charges.
The sketch sadly seems not to be posted online, but I remember it well: It depicts a West Wing party hosted by Clinton, played by Darrell Hammond, who is struggling -- and failing -- to present a somber face after surviving the months-long impeachment drama.
The staffers are drinking beer, not champagne, Hammond-as-Clinton notes -- and "it's not even good beer -- it's Pabst Blue Ribbon."
His climactic line, encapsulating the final triumph of a preternatural politician over his destructive personal foibles, is unforgettable: "I. Am. Bulletproof."
It may turn out to be a pretty clever name for Brown's boat after all. We'll know Sept. 14.
July 19, 2010; 2:37 PM ET
Categories: DCision 2010 , Kwame Brown , The District
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