A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, Bill Clinton was President, and anchors and pundits couldn't contain themselves as they tossed out phrases like "physical evidence" and "stained dress," and doubtless had huge giggle fits once they went off camera. Now George Bush is President and double-entendres are one of those things that went out the window with the restoration of honour and integrity to the White House.
Except that, with this crew, the psycho-sexual subtext to what goes on is way more bizarre, not withstanding the ability of our glorious pundit class to ignore it. The media never did want to touch the sexual aspects of the Abu Ghraib abuse, for instance, and yet this weekend New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd introduced us to an angry white male -- her brother -- who voted for Bush because he'd heard that somewhere in Maryland, schools are teaching kids how to use condoms.
But let's consider the White House itself. The constant references in reporting to Dubya's close relationship to various women in his administration. Condi's status -- including her blurted out reference to Bush as her "husband." Since the election, the continued reference to Dubya's "mandate," despite the obvious fun that that word lends itself to.
And from today's Washington Post about the reshuffling for Dubya's second term:
With the three Cabinet replacements Bush has announced so far for his second term, he kept his circle tight by dispatching White House staff members to take over the State, Justice and Education departments. Aides said many other such moves will be announced, because Bush and senior adviser Karl Rove are determined to "implant their DNA throughout the government," as one official put it.
Remember, this is the same Karl Rove who was rebuffed, with extreme prejudice, when he once asked the new Education Secretary for a date. Can someone get these guys a shrink? And as for our giggling 1990s pundits -- they're with Benny Hill in the grave.
UPDATE 25 Feb 2005: Others are noticing the weird subtexts among Dubya's coterie. Here's the State Department's picture of Condi Rice's coat and boots ensemble in Wiesbaden that launched the latest round of psycho-sexual speculation, as in the linked Post story.