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I hadn’t thought about Sandie from Florida in years. Then, as sudden as the flash from a .45 Magnum in a dark alley, she was back in my mind’s eye, in all her glory and splendor.
Like a guerilla soldier from Victoria’s Secret, she was armed to the teeth but wore little except for a revealing black leather jacket and camouflage make-up. She held a semi-automatic rifle, poised for action in defense of freedom and the 2nd Amendment. Her hard stare and cold smile showed that she meant business. She was a blonde—if not quite “a blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window,” as Detective Philip Marlowe put it Farewell, My Lovely—she was a blonde to be reckoned with.
The recent death of G. Gordon Liddy triggered the vivid—and quite disturbing—memory of Sandie, one of hundreds of women who once graced the pages of Liddy’s annual Stacked & Packed calendars. For more than a decade, from the mid-’90s until 2009, the $10.95 calendars were must-haves for red-blooded, gun-crazy Bubbas from Alaska to Florida, proudly displayed in repair shops and office cubicles and hunting cabins and man-caves across the land.
When I wrote about the 1997 Stacked & Packed calendar for City Paper (“Arms and the Women,” 12/20/96), it seemed like a passing lark from a shameless showman making yet another money grab. Twenty-five years later, these calendars may turn out to be Liddy’s most enduring legacy.
The women-next-door pin-up queens were loyal listeners of Liddy, the radio talk-show host and Watergate burglar, known to his millions of fans as “The G Man.” His nationally syndicated G. Gordon Liddy Show, which he trumpeted as “Radio Free DC” pitted against the Beltway establishment, was a mainstay on conservative airwaves until 2012, when Liddy signed off and retired to his mansion in Fort Washington on the banks of the Potomac.
The stars of the Stacked & Packed Brigade were led to arms by Liddy as a way to get a rise out of his arch-enemy, P.C. liberals, then a relatively new species in Washington’s political ecosystem. It is worth noting that this was a strictly grassroots, volunteer effort. With no more incentive than some prodding from a Liddy-ite husband or boyfriend, many of these big-haired amendment defenders posed with their favorite gun in honor of the G-Man and the right to keep and bear arms.
With Liddy’s death last week at 90, it seems altogether fitting to revisit Sandie and other memorable Stacked & Packed alumni, lest these veterans of the Culture Wars fall into obscurity forever. They came from all walks of life across the American heartland and both coasts. Say hello to Barbara, VP of a California bank, lounging in undergarments in wicker chair with a Colt revolver; and to Kim, a Kansas waitress and mother of two, in black lingerie, hose and high heels crouched sniper-style in a tree with an assault rifle; and Diana, a surgical sales specialist from Maryland who informs calendar readers that she enjoys swimming, reading, shooting and following her stocks.
In hindsight, this was a Roguettes Gallery of the Voting Bloc that was beyond the ken of the pollsters, an underground Annie Oakley demographic that may have helped swing the 2016 presidential election. There is much to ponder here, especially in light of recent events: Look closely at their confident expressions of steely resolve and listen to their cool, calm and collected voices, emblazoned in sidebars hinting of prophesies that have come to pass.
Here’s Melissa, the voice of mom-and-pop shops throughout the land. “I work in the family business, Coastal Engine and Head Exchange, where we listen to the G-Man every day,” she says, leaning over the trunk of a Jaguar in lingerie while aiming a Luger at points and persons unknown.
“San Francisco is so liberal,” says Barbara, rocking her smart bob haircut while clutching her Colt 45, “that it’s refreshing to listen to the G-Man’s logic and common sense.”
And finally, the regal but sensible Diana of Maryland, who “listens to the G-Man to learn, and knowledge is power!”
As for Liddy himself, his benediction on the back of every calendar provided fighting words to his civilian shock-troops on the front lines: “Display this calendar and help return America to its traditional values: Guns, Gals and a healthy appreciation of both! Without your support, these ladies would be walking around, unarmed, with their clothes on, and liberal bravo sierra would go unchallenged!”
Liddy wasn’t heard from much in his final years. But the eternally tasteless spirit of his Stacked & Packed calendars live on in storage bins and on eBay, as well as private shooting ranges and decaying deer stands, leaving a legacy of crucial artifacts from the early sallies of the Culture Wars that still rage on today.
The G-Man and the women of Stacked & Packed were always in on the joke. Now it it’s our turn.