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Liza Minnelli for President! Making America Great Again, (One 11 O’Clock Number at a Time)

Liza Minnelli for President! Making America Great Again, (One 11 O’Clock Number at a Time)

Film, Music

Over the last eight years, while President Obama attempted to do his job and a large percentage of our country medicated itself with important things like reality show star Kim Kardashian’s big ass, the Hydra of Lerna—the Republican party and cable news networks—successfully reduced the US political process itself to a reality show with a big ass. By casting a pretend Republican and master showman Donald Trump as the star in this new production, the Hydra has created chaos in the name of entertainment. I ask you: what is Trump but a bellicose narcissist, a sphincter with a saffron sfumato combover? The vitriol that spews out of his mouth or, as I refer to it, “anal leakage,” is broadcast with fetish-like detail by 24-hour media outlets to a desensitized, disaffected population—now an angry mob—eager to act out their fury for the cameras. Now frantic Republican elders are hinting that Paul Ryan could be the solution at a brokered convention this summer, but I’ve got a better idea: I propose we nominate a pretend Republican and master showwoman: of course, I could only be referring to Liza Minnelli.

Corinna Tomrley, Liza Minnelli , Andy Warhol
“Andy With a Z” by Corinna Tomrley. Acrylic and pen on card. 10 x 14.5 cm.

Why Liza Minnelli?

Liza Minnelli for president!  Even just saying those four words creates a dopamine spike. As a country, we’re depressed—we deserve this. Let’s face it, the president is just a talking head anyway so why not Liza, a woman who is not only a talking head but a singing head. Everyone knows that politicians are just actors who don’t make much sense, so why not choose an actor who doesn’t make much sense who is an “EGOT” (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony)? I assure you, Stargayzers, I’m as serious as a hip replacement.

In actual fact, the idea of a Minnelli presidency is not entirely mine. It was first floated among the cognoscenti back in 2000 when artist Cary Liebowitz created the prescient “Liza Minnelli For President” rain poncho, which my dear friend Rob Looker gave me as a gift. Signed and numbered by the artist, I proudly wore my Minnelli rain poncho for years, until it was unfortunately eaten by my bulldog Emma Fay. Regrettably, all that was left was the text and, of course, the idea of a Minnelli presidency itself, which, if you ask me, has only grown in relevance and would, I’m certain, protect this country from a lot more than inclement weather.

Liza Minnelli Rain poncho, raincoat
The Liza Minnelli rain poncho by Cary Liebowitz is both functional and flattering.

What might we expect from a Liza Minnelli presidency?

  • Continued protection and expansion of marriage equality laws: Unlike candidates like Hillary Clinton, Liza’s position on gay rights didn’t have to evolve, she was born evolved. Not only is Liza in favor of equal rights, but she has first-hand experience with the subject, having survived legal unions to at least two gay men herself.
  • Dismissal of this divisive red state/blue state nonsense: In a Minnelli presidency, the color coding of political affiliation would seem so last season, replaced instead by the unifying idea of fifty states that glitter and sparkle in a rainbow of colors: one nation, under Fosse, indivisible, with liberty and bugle beads for all! Hit it, Pappy!
  • Where is it written that the white house has to be white? Let’s salute Halston and do the whole damn thing in grey ultra suede! Or maybe just stick with the Minnelli-esque sequins—you know, something that really pops!
  • Immediate resolution of the health care debate: As the owner of a new hip and two new knees, not to mention a medical history twice as long and three times as complicated as the script to New York, New York, Liza understands the urgent necessity of all Americans to have access to affordable health care.
  • A new national anthem: As any singer will tell you, the one we have now is a violent, unmemorable mess of thing that no one can remember the words to. Why not replace it with something catchy and positive, like “Cabaret”? At last, ridiculous references to bombs bursting and ramparts—does anyone even know what a rampart is—would be replaced by the inspirational story of good ol’ Elsie and her admonishment to get out of the house and “come hear the music play.”  Can you imagine how sublime it would be if people everywhere lifted their voices en masse before all sporting events and sang “Cabaret”?  So positive, so “post-Gay.”
Liza Minnelli Cupcake
A Liza Minnelli campaign cupcake.
  • Refreshing the pledge of allegiance: Enough of the right hand over the heart business.  Why not jazz hands over the head with a cocked hip?  So much more Liza and so much more fun.
  • Unity!  Liza is an independent candidate who could bring together both parties. Forget about Donald Trump and Ben Carson, is there anyone who is more of a Washington outsider than she? As for shrinking government, Minnelli would be ambivalent—take it or leave it. Do you really think Liza Minnelli has the time or interest to think about stuff like “shrinking government?”  Not when there’s an audience out there!
  • Repeal of Citizen’s United: Super PAC and corporate money would be replaced by “money notes” and Broadway angels.
  • The grand finale for birthers: As the daughter of legendary film director Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland, one of the most enduring sweethearts of the twentieth century, there will be no arguments about whether Liza Minnelli is actually a US citizen. If those crazy birther people come after Liza, they can go watch the last scene of In the Good Old Summertime and shut the fuck up. Having crossed the Garland police myself, I can tell you that those birthers are no match for the Judy Garland Police.
Liza Minnelli cupcake
A second Liza Minnelli campaign cupcake. The options are limitless.

“With Minnelli, you might expect a shuffle or shim sham but never a flip flop.”

  • Energy!  As anyone who has ever seen her perform knows, the “z” in Liza stands for “zip.” This woman has been a force of nature for decades, and that tremendous energy will serve her well as our Commander in Chief. Don’t we deserve a president who could finally bring glamour and pizzazz to the beltway?
  • Experience!  A seasoned campaigner, Liza knows how to work a room.  What is politics if not performance?  What is campaigning if not a show?  A born performer with a lifetime spent on the public stage, Liza has more charisma in a single eyebrow than Ted Cruz or Ben Carson or that Democrat who dropped out whose name I already forgot.
  • Consistency!  With Liza, you might expect a shuffle or shim sham but never a flip flop.  The fact that she doesn’t always speak in complete sentences or has a tendency to digress would not be particularly noticeable. And unlike Mr. Trump, even in the most awful moment of her worst day, Liza Minnelli has never said anything negative or mean-spirited about anyone.
  • Public decorum: Could you imagine people hitting each other at a Minnelli event? I mean, really? Though I have heard that some queen once pulled another’s weave out in an argument over a seat during the intermission of The Rink in 1984, this has never been proven.
Liza Minnelli, Billy Porter, David Munk
Liza explains the difference between bound and unbound delegates to me in 1995. Billy Porter looks on. (Photograph by Andrew Fuhrmann).
  • Human Rights reform and the immediate end of the War On Terror: President Minnelli would never brook the idea of torture or have a mess like Guantanamo Bay on her hands. A “kill list?”  God no, she wouldn’t hurt a fly. The war on terror could be easily resolved by instituting a policy of forced repetitive viewings of the 1987 film Rent-A-Cop, wherein a somewhat miscast 41-year-old Liza played Della, a high-class hooker with a heart of gold (naturally), opposite an also somewhat miscast Burt Reynolds as a vice cop in one of his most laconic performances. The picture is not helped by the bizarre but hypnotic casting of Dionne Warwick as Liza’s madam. Several days of mandatory Rent-A-Cop viewings alone could completely destroy a terror cell. Don’t you agree that the mere act of connecting the heretofore disparate concepts of “Liza Minnelli” and “the war on terror” in the same sentence is irresistible?
  • Rebranding Mother’s Day: In deference to the enduring legacy of Judy Garland the predictable “Mother’s Day” would be rechristened “Mama’s Day.”
  • The end of partisan gridlock in congress: Just hand President Minnelli a microphone, put Billy Stritch on the piano, and Republicans and Democrats alike won’t just be crossing the aisle, but doing jazz runs in such perfect unison there will be no blue or red states, only purple. After hearing Liza belt out “But the World Goes ‘Round,” it is not hard to envision the once sour Mitch McConnell completely forgetting about obstructing the political process in order to organize republican senators in a perfect kick line. Listen, in a world where Donald Trump can, apparently, be president, is this so very hard to imagine?
  • Complete transparency: Though it might seem counterintuitive that the daughter of Judy Garland who has been famous since the day she was born could be a candidate of the people, consider this: every single thing that has ever happened to this woman has been a matter of public record, and that’s quite a long list of things.  There’s something for everyone: Divorce! Professional reversals! Alcoholism! Drug addiction! Recovery! Triumph! Failure!  Rehab! Bankruptcy! And that’s just the 1980s! Plus, who needs vetting? Liza’s an open book, we already know everything! As we all know too well, there are no skeletons in Miss Minnelli’s closet, only Halstons.
  • Easy branding: Liza could run on an unassailable platform of survival.  Is any message more universal or timeless? I mean, who’s anti-survival? Like Jerzy Kosinkski’s Chauncey Gardiner in a sequined pantsuit, all Liza would have to do is redirect any question to a simple survival metaphor, which could I could write in less time than it takes to sing “Liza With a ‘Z’.”
  • Completely rebuilt parts: Though Liza turned 70 years young just recently, many of her parts are brand new.  Like a ’69 Camaro with a rebuilt engine, Liza is sporting brand-new titanium hips and knees. As she put it a few years ago, with her customary giggle, “From the neck up I’m Dorothy, from the waist down, I’m the Tin Man.”
  • This November, Say, “Liza!”

Liza Minnelli for President
The Liza Minnelli for President Movement has already begun!  Photograph by David Munk.

More Liza Minnelli in Stargayzing:

On Stevie Phillips’ Incendiary New Memoir of Her Hollywood Years with Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli et. al.

D.I.Y. Minnelli: The Liza Box is Completely Restored for 2013!

Behind the Scenes at MGM’s 1974 Premiere of That’s Entertainment

Stargayzing Mix Tape: The Most Unbelievable Cover Songs of All-Time! #5: Liza Minnelli AND Luciano Pavarotti’s Version of “New York, New York”

For more information on artist Corinna Tomrley, here is her Facebook page.  Also, written contributions to Stargayzing by Ms. Tomrley:

Guest Columnist Dr. Corinna Tomrley Reviews Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

October 6, 1963: CBS Broadcasts The Judy Garland Show Featuring Barbra Streisand


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