Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sweetly Tart
Harriet the Judge

Maureen Dowd over behind the NYTimes TimesSelect firewall (if you have access, here's the link) gives a very Dowdian look at President Bush's women:

The West Wing is a parallel universe to TV's Wisteria Lane: instead of self-indulgent desperate housewives wary of sexy nannies, there are self-sacrificing, buttoned-up nannies serving as adoring work wives, catering to W.'s every political, legal and ego-affirming need.

Maybe it's because his mom was not adoring enough, but more tart and prickly, even telling her son, the president, not to put his feet up on her coffee table. Or maybe it's because, as his wife says, his kinship with his mom gives him a desire to be around strong, "very natural" women. But W. loves being surrounded by tough women who steadfastly devote their entire lives to doting on him, like the vestal virgins guarding the sacred fire, serving as custodians for his values and watchdogs for his reputation.

First he elevated Condi Rice to secretary of state, even though she had bungled her job as national security adviser, failing to bring a sense of urgency to warnings about terrorism aimed at America before 9/11, and acting more as an enabler than honest broker in the push to invade Iraq.

But what were these limitations, considering the time the workaholic bachelorette logged at W.'s side in Crawford and Camp David, coaching him on foreign affairs, talking sports with him, exercising with him, making him feel like the most thoughtful, farsighted he-man in the world?

Then he elevated his longtime aide, speechwriter, memoir ghostwriter and cheerleader Karen Hughes to undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, even though it is exceedingly hard for the 6-foot Texan to try and spin a billion Muslims whom she doesn't understand the first thing about.

But who cares about her lack of expertise in such a critical job, as long as the workaholic loyalist continues to make her old boss feel like the most thoughtful, farsighted he-man in the world?

She also adds this bit about the emerging view of Harriet Miers faith:

Bushie and Harriet share the same born-again Christian faith, which they came to in midlife, deciding to adopt Jesus Christ as their saviors. The Washington Post reported that she tithes to the Valley View Christian Church in Dallas, "where antiabortion literature is sometimes distributed and tapes from the conservative group Focus on the Family are sometimes screened," and where, when she returns, Ms. Miers asks well-wishers to pray for her and the president.

Born Catholic, she switched to evangelical Christianity in her mid-30's and began to identify more with the Republicans than the Democrats, The Times reports today; she joined the missions committee of her church, which opposed legalized abortion, and one former political associate said that Ms. Miers told her she had been in favor of a woman's right to have an abortion when she was younger, but that her views hardened against abortion once she became born again.


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