Sanjaya Steals the Show

For Washington, D.C, it’s as close as we ever get to prom night: The White House Correspondents Dinner. I was one of the 3,000 who crowded in the ballroom of the Hilton Towers for this year’s intimate event. And, as always, it was jammed with big names.

From the White House: President and Mrs. Bush, Karl Rove, Tony Snow. From the Cabinet: Condoleezza Rice, Alberto Gonzales and Michael Chertoff. From the Congress: Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), David Dreier (R-Calif.), Jane Harman (D-Calif.). From Politics 2008: Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson. From the states: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer; California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

From the media: Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams, David Gregory, George Stephanopoulos, Helen Thomas, Wolf Blitzer. And from Hollywood: Jane Fonda, Morgan Fairchild, Laurie David.

But here’s what’s really funny: The star of the show … the one person everybody was talking about … the one who signed the most autographs … the big buzz of the night was … none of the above. The star of the show was Sanjaya, a young singer nobody ever heard of until two or three months ago.

Now, you can draw from that whatever conclusion you want. But I think it says something about the state of American politics when the biggest name at Washington’s biggest dinner is a 17-year-old kid from Seattle who didn’t say a word — and can’t even carry a tune.