Rudy At The Biltmore

Now that the Obama and Nobama affairs are over, it’s safe to talk about Republicans again. Word is, for example, that Mitt Romney will be in the area on Wednesday, September 26. The leading Republican candidate for the presidential nomination Rudy Giuliani, came to Montecito this past summer and walked away with some $290,000 for his primary campaign, thanks to local supporters Andy and Dolly Granatelli, Carolina and Parker Montgomery, Tom and Mary Belle Snow, and Lee and Lori Mikles.

That first experience must have left an impression on him, because Rudy’s back for lunch at Four Seasons Biltmore, on Thursday, September 27. This time around, it’s Ms Snow, the Granatellis, David Lack and Erik & Cynthia Krueger heading up the Rudy committee. Local supporters include Bob Fell, Robyn Freedman, Tab Hunter, Allan Glaser, Lad Handelman, Diana and David Hull, Wendy, Ralph, and Melissa Iannelli, and Diana and Ralph MacFarlane, and many others.

Emcee for the luncheon will be Montecito’s resident Fox News commentator and syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Miller, who has been in the vanguard of a cadre of Hollywood types that have turned down the opportunity to hop aboard the liberal bandwagon. In that small group, one can include Dennis Franz, Jon Voight, Robert Duvall (who has his own Rudy fundraiser in Virginia on September 20), Gary Sinese, Rob Lowe, Ivan Reitman, and well, as I’ve written, it is a small group, but fine actors, directors, and producers all…

There are still seats available for the Thursday, September 27 luncheon, and for those not wishing to shell out the maximum $2,300 necessary for the lunch and photo-op with the candidate, there will be tables set aside at $1,000 per couple, and even some $250 seats. With Miller as emcee it’s bound to be entertaining and slightly edgy; if you’d like to attend, you are invited to call Emily Ernsdorf at 310-914-9100 for more information.

Is the war in Iraq winnable?

If this is a question you’ve pondered unsuccessfully (unlike folks who appear to already have all the answers), it might behoove you to attend Channel City Club’s Wednesday, September 19 talk by U.S. Marine Colonel James D. McGinley at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree.

Other questions worth proffering: Why are we there? Is it worth the fight? Why is this war taking so long? What have we accomplished over there? What are the Iraqi people like? How do they feel about Americans? What should we be doing, on the home front, to support our troops and their Mission? Colonel McGinley, who recently returned from Ramadi, Iraq, is willing to try to answer those and any other questions attendees may throw his way. He will also share stories and pictures from his deployment to the combat zone, where he regularly served in Ramadi and traveled through Al Anbar Province. He also worked with Governor al-Awani and his cabinet to create the province’s first Emergency Response Center and Disaster Relief Agency, and trained the Iraqis to handle it for themselves.

Prior to deployment Colonel McGinley served on the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon handling Reserve Mobilization issues. Most of his military career was spent as a naval aviator and when a civilian, he is a partner in a law firm. He remains on active duty, stationed at Camp Pendleton where he is the Chief of Staff to the Reserve General for the First Marine Expeditionary Force. Col. McGinley has recently volunteered to return to Ramadi in Feb. 2008 to serve as the Provincial Reconstruction Team Leader working with the U.S. State Department on Iraqi reconstruction efforts.

If you are looking for front-line first-hand information as to what our chances of success are in Iraq, Colonel McGinley’s talk is about as close to inside information as you’re likely to receive. For reservations ($25 for Channel City Club members, $35 for non-members, required by Saturday, September 15), you should call Judith Hill at 805-884-6636.