That is the new distinguishing characteristic of the fancy parties at the Democratic Convention this year, thanks to the congressional ethics rules that have gone into effect since the last one, which allow members of Congress to attend lobbyist-sponsored events only if they can be labeled as “receptions”– that is, if only finger food is served. But don’t feel too sorry for the lawmakers. At the brunch honoring Vernon Jordan that I just attended, there were elegant little crab cakes on skewers, at least a half-dozen different varieties of teensy-weensy quiches and adorable little pastries. I doubt that anyone left feeling a craving for the $6 hot dogs they are selling in the convention hall.
As the Washington Post noted on its editorial page this morning, the lavish gift bag is also a thing of the past. The Akin Gump folks at this bruch were passing out little donkey-shaped rubber squeeze toys they were calling “stress donkeys.”