Sunday, May 15, 2005

Hiding the truth in plain sight

Hiding the truth in plain sight
May 15, 2005

Laura Bush's recent appearance at the White House correspondents' dinner -- her ribald monologue about her husband, the president -- has caused a minor stir. A number of conservatives are upset, given the subject of her jokes: male strippers, desperate housewives, fondling a horse's private parts. The first lady was lucky her routine was televised on C-SPAN and not on PBS, where it would have been shredded with edits decreed by the newly censorious, Republican-led Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

But her comedy routine was a case of Laura Bush letting her class slip show. Just as President Bush in his prime time news conference attempted to put some space between himself and conservative attacks on the judiciary, Laura was sent out to put a little distance between the right-wing puritans and the Bush family. George W. has done such a good job portraying himself as a regular guy, Laura needed to remind the media elite that the Bushes were sophisticated and with it, not fuddy-duddy prudes. They aren't the media elite, but better: the actual elite. Laura Bush's job at the correspondents' dinner was, in part, to pander to the Christie Todd Whitman-Arnold Schwarzenegger side of the GOP: therefore, the jokes about Chippendales, the male strip clubs, and the wife abandoned by her early-to-bed husband, and so on.

As the president often tells the world, he made a good choice when he married Laura Bush. It is impossible to imagine him married to a lawyer, a Hillary Clinton sort. A schoolteacher, librarian, is just right. The sexual nature of Laura Bush's humor was to remind everyone that here was a woman of warm sensuality, but a woman under control, possessed of a wholesome licentiousness masked by proper manners: hidden but not repressed. What has been hidden, repressed, though, is Laura Bush's long-held pro-choice position on abortion. For quite some time that has been hidden in plain sight.....