Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Desperate Housewives in The West Wing

Maureen Dowd in the New York Times:

I hope President Bush doesn’t have any more office wives tucked away in the White House.

There are only so many supremely powerful jobs to give to women who are not qualified to get them.

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.


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?

And now he has nominated his White House counsel and former personal lawyer, Harriet Miers, to a crucial swing spot on the Supreme Court. The stolid Texan, called “Harry” by some old friends, is a bachelorette who was known for working long hours, sometimes 16-hour days, and was a frequent guest at Camp David and the Crawford ranch, where she helped W. clear brush.


But who cares whether she has no judicial experience, and that no one knows what she believes or how she would rule from a bench she’s never been behind, as long as the reason her views are so mysterious is that she’s subordinated them to W.’s, making him feel like the most thoughtful, farsighted he-man in the world?

Are you beginning to see a pattern here?

Let’s just hope that we don’t need a new attorney general any time soon, or we might be getting re-runs of “Charlie’s Angels.”