Just for the record, I hate George W. Bush. And virtually everybody involved in his cabinet deserves to die painfully, or at least to be tried as a war criminal. And in particular, I am ashamed that anyone would even attempt to defend Bush’s atrocities. During his tedious and evil reign, every moment his spin-masters protected Bush from the media and therefore from public scrutiny, I felt we lost precious time for peace, and I often expressed rage at those who provided that spin and gave Bush that time. In fact, I publicly rejoiced at the death of Tony Snow, an opinion for which I incurred serious anger from a few folks who previously kind of liked me.
But Jeezuz and Gomorrah, how could I feel ill will towards the lovely Dana Perino, Snow’s replacement as Bush Press Secretary, and the angel of many a Republican’s wet dreams?
Okay, okay, I know that part of this comes from some ugly, sexist component of my brain, and I’m as disturbed by it as you are. Not only am I sexualizing a successful public figure simply because she’s a woman, but I’m also sending the clear message that if you’re cute and kind of dumb and a woman, you get a free pass when you fuck up, because hey, you’re just a gal! Our expectations are lowered by your gender (perhaps coupled with your news-anchor hotness). We didn’t expect hard reality from a blonde cutie anyway. When we heard Perino spin Bush’s ridiculosity for us, we just laughed it off as we would any woman’s estrogenic ramblings.
I know it sounds like that, but hear me out, and not just to assuage my own sexist guilt. Though I acknowledge having a really twisted crunch on Dana Perino somewhat similar to Drew Grant’s admitted hotness for John McCain, you know that there was something different about Perino’s approach to Press Secretary than her predecessors’. And it’s not just her womanhood.
By contrast, let’s take the late Tony Snow. Though I don’t believe Tony Snow actually drank the White House Kool-Aid (ironically, because he was far too right-wing), he certainly played the indignant, smug role well. He lied like it was breathing, he spoke arrogantly to reporters, he turned questions into excuses to insult people. He basically took Fox News and put it in the White House.
Perino had an entirely different tone. She was more human, less smug, and though I think she was definitely a dyed-in-the-wool Bushie, she was incapable of the glib lying her predecessor excelled at. According to conservative pundit Ronald Kessler, “what you notice when she is interviewed on TV is her expressive delivery. You stop and listen for her interesting nuances of emphasis. She doesn’t project the total confidence of the polished newscaster, and as a result, she inspires more trust.”
He was right, in a sense–she inspired more trust because we knew her lies were lies, or at least that she was reciting the lies with a knowing glance, like she was in on the hilarity of it all. It was her job to protect Bush, not to beat up on reporters, and she had the air of someone who’s just doing her job. Sometimes she would nearly level with the press, giving answers that amounted to saying “okay, I’m going to give the ‘official’ Bush White House account of what happened, and I know you won’t believe it, and neither do I, but I have to say the words written on this little paper anyway.”
Anyways, maybe in all of my lust, I’m actually picking on her, and that’s not even fair–she went to the same college as me (sadly, graduating a year before I got there), but then went on to grad school, which I didn’t even do, and worked her way into the public eye largely based on her merits.
And after last week’s appearance on the Daily Show, I can’t decide, in the parlance of Vice Magazine’s “Do’s and Don’ts,” whether I want to fuck her or be her. This is just too amazing.