I get so tired of hearing "isn't it great to have a strong christian in the white house". We all slip up sometimes but this is premeditated/planned out so don't give me any baloney about what great christian leaders we have.
Posted: May 6, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2005 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
"I am a desperate housewife!" With that plaintive lament, first lady Laura Bush stole the show at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner.
I've been to nine of those dinners. The routine never changes. After presenting a few awards for good journalism, which nobody pays any attention to, the head of the press corps introduces the president of the United States. The president tries to be funny, but is usually not. He's followed by a stand-up comic, who is sometimes funny. Then everybody goes out and gets drunk.
But this year was different. President Bush had barely begun his remarks, launching into a tired old joke about a cattle guard, when the first lady groaned: "Oh, no!" To everyone's astonishment, she then stood up, walked to the podium and took over. It was obviously all scripted, but it was no less effective – and Laura Bush delivered an Oscar-winning performance. She was very funny. She delivered her lines with perfect timing.
But the biggest surprise was not what Laura Bush did. It was what she said. She was not only funny, she was downright dirty. Or at least suggestive. Put it this way: Her subject matter wasn't what you'd expect at a church picnic. And Laura Bush proved herself no church lady.
First, she joked about being a big fan of "Desperate Housewives," the sleaziest, raunchiest show on television, about a group of women cheating on their husbands, which the Parents Television Council condemned as full of "gratuitous sex, explicit dialogue, obscene language, violent content, and therefore unsuitable for children under 17." Then she told about going out with Condoleezza Rice, Karen Hughes and Lynne Cheney to Chippendales, the male stripper nightclub, where they ran into Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "I won't tell you what happened," said the first lady, "but let's just say that the Secret Service's new code name for Lynne Cheney is Dollar Bill." (If you don't get that joke, you've never been to Chippendales – nor any female strip club).
That was still mild, compared to her next riff. To illustrate how uninformed President Bush was about ranching when they moved to Crawford, Mrs. Bush informed the world that he went out one morning to do the milking. Except he tried to milk a horse ... a male horse! (I'm sorry. I don't know about you, but, somehow, I can't shake the image of the most powerful man on earth manipulating a horse's penis.)
Once I picked myself up off the floor, three thoughts raced through my head. First (as is often the case with first ladies): Why isn't she the president? Second: What if Hillary Clinton had made the same joke about President Bill Clinton? The Religious Right would have roasted her alive!
Which prompted my third thought: poor Laura Bush. Now she's going to get hammered big time for her potty mouth. After all, Whoopi Goldberg got fired for less. And Howard Stern was fined $1.75 million for joking about flatulence. The purity police are in such force these days, you can't say anything even slightly off-color without fear of being visited by the Federal Communications Commission, the FBI, the Traditional Values Coalition or a representative of Benedict XVI.
Boy, was I wrong about that one. We haven't heard one word of criticism about Laura Bush from religious conservatives like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Lou Sheldon or James Dobson – those same people who would have crucified Hillary. And we never will, either. For one simple reason: They're too beholden to President Bush. They need him to appoint extremist, right-wing judges. And they suck too much money from his faith-based initiative. They're in Bush's hip pocket. They don't dare criticize him, or the first lady, no matter how many racy stories she tells.
Now, that double standard may be annoying, but it's also revealing. Because it exposes leaders of the Religious Right for the phonies they are. They invoke the wrath of God whenever a liberal says something risque. Yet they remain silent whenever conservatives do the same. In the end, they've become so identified with one political party, they are nothing more than political hacks.
And for that, all Americans owe Laura Bush a great debt of gratitude. She not only provided us a great evening's entertainment, she also taught us a powerful lesson: "Don't pay any attention to those pious political preachers. God knows, I don't."