Unplugged | Kate Clinton

Unplugged | Kate Clinton

Extreme Makeover

At kiosks and bus stops all over New York, there are posters for the movie Resident Evil: Apocalypse. And almost on every poster, someone has graffitied a very tasteful P at the beginning of the first word. That about sums up the election for me.

But not quite. The final summation comes on the reverse side of the President Evil billboard, with a poster for the ABC series Desperate Housewives. The series' tagline is "Everyone has a little dirty laundry."

Now I know Michael Moore has told me not to be a Downer Dem, so flattened by the Juggernaut of George that I am not able to walk upright, but when I saw the poll that Democratic Soccer Moms had been switching to become Republican Security Moms because they believe that the resident of the White House will best protect them from terrorism, I did have a moment.

In New York magazine, Naomi Wolf, whose alpha plan for the Gore man the Republicans gleefully derided four years ago, credits the original girlieman, Karen Hughes, with the extreme makeover. And all without giving each and every housewife a new Pontiac!

In her "The Sexes" column, Wolf writes that Hughes has managed the transformation first by bringing out the warm, fuzzy side of the Vice Cusser through the tender stories from his blushing bride. And second by having Aura Bush humanize her hell-is-on-the-way husband with purred stories of him wrastling with issues of war and peace. Which cause him to fall off his bike a lot.

And though it pained Wolf to say it, she said it nonetheless: The Republicanizing of the desperate housewives is all Teresa Heinz Kerry's fault. For by keeping her Heinz name, she is "publicly, subliminally cuckolding Kerry with the power of another man--a dead Republican, at that." Hold the mustard! He might as well change his name to Harry Kerry.

W stands for War on Women. The Administration's policy on women is often hard to see because it is written in the font size of pharmaceutical ads. So let me enlarge it a little: The heading is that wives must be subordinate to their husbands. And here is the fine print:

* propose a constitutional ban on abortion

* pledge to support only anti-choice judges

* enforce a law banning abortion without any exception for the woman's health

* maintain a law blocking abortion for poor, young, and military women

* submit a Human Life Amendment conferring personhood on the fertilized egg

* fund abstinence-only sex education

* extend the global gag rule on contraceptive education worldwide.

Meanwhile, Bush gets away with all this by "feminizing" some of his rhetoric, especially in his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, where Hughes's handiwork was obvious. "Two thirds of all moms also work outside the home," Bush said, "and government must take your side."

His government? Where's he been for four years? He hasn't exactly been hiking the minimum wage or funding free quality child care. Nor is he proposing it.

But the rhetoric is the thing. And Hughes made sure he talked emotionally about the wounded soldiers and the kids who just wanted their mothers and fathers back. Message: "A good man with a big heart," as Laura put it.

And a weird mind. A few days after the convention, Bush was speaking to a crowd and was denouncing medical malpractice suits when he let this one slip: "Too many OBGYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

Am I the only one who found that creepy?

-- Kate "I hate Kerryoke" Clinton is a humorist.