Our current president has always suffered from short pants. Even to his supporters, he's been Daddy's boy: the little millionaire who never did a thing to earn it. Previous occupation: team cheerleader, drunken frat president, artful draft-dodger. The Twinkie with the most toys wins, even if the election needs a little goosing.
None of those descriptions scream "presidential," but at the same time, they do not disturb W.'s gender identification. He has never been portrayed— the way Arnold would put it— as a "girlyman."
But the tutu has turned. Something is in the air. It all started with the company the president keeps.
The tabloids, the blogs, and even the MSM are saying that George W. Bush is only talking to four people now, four women. They are his mother, his wife, Condoleeza Rice, and Karen Hughes.
Since Brent Scowcroft was interviewed in The New Yorker, and revealed that Bush Senior is disappointed in his son, W. and Daddy aren't talking. The prodigal son doesn't seem happy with any of the father figures in his life: Rove, Rummy, or Cheney.
In every story about W.'s retreat to a reassuring female nest, there's been an air of sissy-bait about it. Nothing explicit, mind you— just the feeling that when all those Hair-On-Their-Chest Bush fans read such material, their stomach must turn. Their guy in the White House looks like Little Lord Fauntleroy, with long curls, a lollipop, and one hand on the apron strings. His ratings may be in the toilet, but this is different: his masculinity is being impugned.
Many opponents of George Bush over the years have felt the sting of being "queer-baited." It's classic Rovian attack strategy: when all else fails, accuse your opponent of being gay. The mere whisper of such a scandal triggers a wave of homophobia that then can be neatly worked into the ballot box. Exhibit A: John Kerry. Exhibit B: The French.
The success of damning someone to hell because they elicit gender anxiety has proved to be far more scalding than once-preferred red- or race-baiting. The "fag" or "dyke" accusation is the ultimate stink bomb that blows away all reason, and turns the what-me? apathetic into the foaming-at-the-mouth activist.
But can success spoil Tab Hunter? Apparently so. The Fundie wing of the GOP has been so pathological with their gay-baiting tactics that they are now turning it on themselves, an army of closet cases and cojones contestants.
They smeared Harriet Miers, a perfectly good right-wing nutjob, for being a lesbian, because she isn't married and doesn't know how to apply a mascara wand.
They say... he only talks to "girls." They say... he's afraid to be a man. They say.. he's nothing more than a spokes-model. In the vernacular of the teenage skateboarders I hear across my street, "That Is So Gay."
This queer frame job is the prelude to hanging the whole war fiasco on Petite Georgette. What a sap. One day he's getting personal messages from God to invade Iraq, and on the next spin, he's a stupid little pansy who got us into this mess. No one wants to get near this chick.
Donald Rumsfeld is the latest to let Bush know that "he's just not that into you." Rummy called a reporter out of the blue to say that he always had his doubts about "the Iraq thing." What gall— he makes Judas look like an amateur.
I wish we lived in a country where female counsel was admired, where women's experience and sexuality were respected. I'm crazy enough to dream of a national policy that isn't based on whose dick is the biggest.
Yet I know that's too much to ask in Bush's America. ShortPants is going to go down swinging, calling everyone else a coward and a pussy before they can fix the same can to his tail. I don't think he'll make it.
What a glorious distraction. The war profiteers, the corporate rapes, the erosion of all privacy and decency— it all pales compared to who can call who a fag first, and make it stick.