I DON'T have much to say about the Bush Twins--really, what is there to say? and once you've said that you've just about said it all--but for the sake of completion we might go ahead and touch a couple high points.
We certainly don't believe a politician, or any parent, for that matter, can be judged exclusively through his or her children, nor that people can be condemned for making mistakes. But it is once again interesting how the pandering Press played the Bush Daughters most notable achievement: being cited for criminal activity while under Secret Service protection (Jenna twice, the second time while still weighted down by a grueling sixty-day probationary period, after which her record would have been expunged). This was, remember, May of 2001. In other words, it was the height of the Charm Offensive, Boy, Aren't We Double-Plus Lucky the Court Picked Such A Good President For Us, Please Don't Wish My Career Into The Cornfield era, which had been more reliant on pushing the bad example of Those Horrid Clintons than on anything that could be conjured up by the appearance, speech, or alleged thought processes of the Acting President.
So while the seasoned political observer did not expect great gobs of moral outrage to take flight--if for no other reason than the fact that professional moral outrage is under long-term exclusive contract with GOP, Inc.--one of my general description might have been knocked slightly off-balance by what he did get, namely, this:
• suggestions that the server, or the manager, had singled Jenna out for the publicity (which they did get in spades, by the way, when the death threats started coming in)
• the "everybody does it" defense, notably (for me) put forward on whatever godawful punditfest Jeff "Concision" Greenfield was hosting then on CNN, where four or five middle-aged white guys simply agreed that this was the case
• "that's not news" and "the President's family should be off-limits" were, as always, advanced by the people who owned the ox in question, never mind they'd been the ones doing the Goring for the previous eight years
• the "they didn't ask their father to run for President" gambit, which tended to overlook the fact they hadn't asked him to be born filthy rich, either, but managed to struggle along with that one okay
Leave us simply put aside the small-potatoes ethics of the thing: that Bush, and the Republican party in general, spouted Jesus and Family and Morality and Service and Law-Abidin' as keys to their personal identity and electoral success; that where these particular Apples had fallen was of some importance in getting a hard look at the real George W. Bush; that we'd just spent eight years with schoolmarmish shrieks about sexual morality, the obligations of role modelhood, and Won't Someone Please Think of the Children? in our ears. It meant little enough, apparently, that the Bush Twins were the Alice Roosevelt of hedonistic conformity, nor that they appeared to be setting out to squander the opportunities of vast amounts of money, power, and connection on a tiresome squalidity without having learned anything from their father's bio. I personally didn't care a jot whether the hopeful pandering twits of Greenfield's program pointed out what was, after all, obvious; what I did object to was the rapidity with which twenty years of Wars on Drugs, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the more recent awareness of identity theft just suddenly left everyone's consciousness. Everybody does it, they said. You think we should be trying to do something about it or somethin'?
No, I don't care about the Bush Twins, although I don't think a program to reduce the incidence of Cocktails and Shopping as a Lifestyle Choice is necessarily unwarranted, and I was somewhat gratified to note that as 2004 rolled around someone pulled the Trust Fund strings hard enough to yank the two into a) campaigning for their father, however lacking in energy, luster, or enthusiasm; b) announcing their personal Noble Service to Mankind goals for after graduation; and c) giving this speech at the RNC [caution: may cause irreversible brain bubbles]:
right before they both disappeared for good. I'm still not certain if that was the deal ahead of time, or if that appearance caused Babs to cut 'em each a check and point in the general direction of South America.