[quote]About three months ago, First Lady Laura Bush, in a speech to the National Book Festival, told a charming anecdote about her husband. Here, according to the White House website, is what she had to say:
"We delight in great works of literature and especially in the works of budding new artists. President Bush is a great leader and husband – but I bet you didn’t know, he is also quite the poet. Upon returning home last night from my long trip [to Europe], I found a lovely poem waiting for me. Normally, I wouldn’t share something so personal, but since we’re celebrating great writers, I can’t resist:
Roses are red,
violets are blue
oh my lump in the bed,
how I’ve missed you.
Roses are redder,
bluer am I
seeing you kissed
by that charming French guy.
The dogs and the cat
they miss you too,
Barney’s still mad you dropped him,
he ate your shoe.
The distance my dear
has been such a barrier,
next time you want an adventure,
just land on a carrier. [/i]
It was such an awful poem that it actually rang true, and therefore kinda treacly sweet.
Now it turns out that this was a bizarre falsehood. A lie. Interviewed on “Meet the Press” over the weekend, Laura Bush was shown the video clip of her remarks – in one of those let-our-hair-down moments the television journalists so love. Anchor Tim Russert teasingly turned to Mrs. Bush for comment:
MR. RUSSERT: Now, who could have written that poem, huh? I mean, what …
MRS. BUSH: Well, of course, he didn’t really write the poem. But a lot of people really believed that he did. That evening at the dinner, what some woman from across the table said: “You just don’t know how great it is to have a husband who would write a poem for you.”
Gee, I wonder if some people really believed that George Bush wrote that silly poem because Laura Bush said: Hey, my husband wrote me this silly poem, and normally I wouldn’t share it because it’s so personal, but I can’t resist.
This hardly qualifies as “an outrage.” It’s more just weird. Think about it. If George Bush didn’t write that poem – who did?
Did they do some focus group of how a significant percentage of women around America would find a bit of POTUS doggerel wistful and sweet? Did the White House’s crack political team than assign some poor junior staffer the miserable job of ghosting it? Did he start by interviewing Mrs. Bush about pet names and pillow talk (she confirmed for Russert that her husband has indeed called her his “lump in the bed”)? Is there a file somewhere labeled SENTIMENTAL SWING-VOTER CHICKS of the early drafts?
Now that you know Bush didn’t write it, look at the poem again. Can’t you just hear some crapulous Republican operative in a rumpled suit croaking instructions? “Make sure you get their damned mutt Barney into it, those soccer dames love the dogs. But if there’s gonna be a dog, you gotta mention the cat! Everybody knows that, kid! Put in some vague bedroom imagery – somethin’ about the bed. Nothing too explicit! And, uh, get in a slap at the French – that French-bashing stuff is really going over well. Something about how they’re so prissy, kissin’ hands and all …”
So who wrote George Bush’s love poem to Laura Bush?
I suspect we’ll just have to add it to all of the other mysteries – like who lied in George Bush’s State of the Union speech, and who had manual-labor-like relations with that doggoned “Mission Accomplished” banner, and which jerk at the White House unmasked a CIA agent to punish her husband, and why lie to Ground Zero rescue and cleanup workers, and how the President’s brother got all that free sex and money when visiting Asia …