On Saturday night, a Supreme Court justice, two senators and the chief executives of McDonald’s and Lockheed Martin will officially join a secretive private club that meets just once a year, has no official purpose, and is named after a plant that will do almost anything for a drink. ¶ And despite that — or perhaps because of it — the Alfalfa Club is one of the most prestigious organizations in Washington. ¶ The 101-year-old club boasts a unique mix of politicians, administration officials, rainmakers, top military brass and corporate leaders from all over the country: Billionaires Warren Buffett, David Rubenstein, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Marriott and Steve Case; Chief Justice John Roberts, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Sandra Day O’Connor, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright and Vernon Jordan, to name just a few.Well, I'm sure the club grew out of some noble cause:
It’s a cross-section of power brokers so influential that almost every president has made a pilgrimage to the annual gathering. President Obama has addressed the group twice: a week after his inauguration in 2009, and again in 2012 when he joked about escaping the White House bubble: “One of my big goals this year was to get out and be among everyday, ordinary Americans — like the men and women of the Alfalfa Club.” Big laugh.
Why, you ask, would men and women with all the money and fame they could ever use care about Alfalfa? Because they’re never too rich or too successful to pass up an evening that really is like none other, where so many big shots from different spheres bond together over cocktails, jokes, lobster and filet of beef.
The club started in 1913, when — as the story goes — four friends gathered to celebrate the Jan. 19 birthday of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. They took their name from the alfalfa plant, known for roots that travel deep to find refreshment. The annual dinner, which quickly grew in numbers and prestige, is always held on the last Saturday in January.Oh. The Lost Cause. Goddamn fucking Confederates. At least it has now just transformed into a gathering of the overclass to hang out together and pat each other on the back.