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Jewish World Review Nov. 26, 2001/ 11 Kislev 5762

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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Consumer Reports

With George W. Bush, they're going to have to invent a new fluoropolymer

http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- WHEN Ronald Reagan was in office, they called him the Teflon president. He was so smooth, nothing stuck to him. When Bill Clinton was in office, they said, no, he's the Teflon president. He was so smooth, he was slick.

With George W. Bush, they're going to have to invent a new fluoropolymer. Almost a year into his first term in office, he's got a 90 percent approval rating, the highest for the longest period of any president in history. You just know that George Senior and Barb lie in bed at night and speak the unspeakable: "Hon, are you believin' this?"

Of course it's wartime, and good Americans support their president no matter what. Of course Bush Jr. has incredibly good people working with him. Of course of course a horse is a horse, but this is beyond any optimist's expectations.

When Bush's un-fan, Rosie O'Donnell, showed up at the third game of the World Series with her kid in tow to see the president's first pitch, we knew that something was different in America. And just when we began to think, nah, this can't continue: George is bound to flub, trip down the stairs, stab himself in the eye with a Popsicle, invite a rabbi to a pig-pickin' -- something.

He does just the right thing. Again.

Somewhere in the bowels of the West Wing is a wizard of public relations who deserves a Nobel Prize in, oh, Patriotism. It's not Dick Cheney. It's definitely not Donald Rumsfeld, and surely not John Ashcroft, Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice. Karen Hughes, maybe? Or is it, perhaps, the never-seen or heard but always-there Mary Matalin?

Whoever it is, this genius of timing has Junior making all the right moves at just the right moments. She looks at the 90 percent approval rating and thinks, 90, huh? A few skeptical Muslims out there, you say? Still a few Democrats holding back? (I'll deal with him later.) A few homeless 'n' hungry belying our compassionate conservatism? Watch this.

And suddenly there's George dining with Muslim clerics to celebrate Ramadan. Never mind that pre-election, George wouldn't have known a Ramadan from a Rubadub. These days, he's practically a muezzin. Muslims, check.

Then there's George renaming the Justice Department's headquarters for Robert F. Kennedy, kissing Ethel and snuggling up to all those Kennedy offspring. Except for Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, who earlier in the day said her father never would have favored Bush's policies, which, she said, undermine Americans' civil liberties. Oh, Kennedy may have dabbled in a little wire-tapping here and there, but who's trying to be historically accurate? That was then; now is now.

Even Attorney General Ashcroft was looking more breathlessly born-again than usual as he praised his predecessor, who, if alive today, would have gone swimming in the Bay of Pigs to keep Ashcroft out of his former office. Never mind; now is now. Ashcroft said he felt that he could do a better job under the influence of Kennedy's intense patriotism. Check, liberal Democrats.

And then, to leave absolutely NO one behind, including the bag lady who perchance might have a faded Gore/Lieberman sticker still clinging to her grate box, there's George throwing money at the homeless. Hey, wait a minute -- isn't that what the Dems do? Instead of feeding fish to the unfortunate, aren't conservatives supposed to hand these people fishing poles? Check, all the rest of you.

I don't know about you, but I haven't felt this excited about the future of mankind since Toto escaped the Wicked Witch's monkey lair. Next thing you know, George will be blessing a new Palestinian state, emancipating Iraq from the nefarious Saddam Hussein and applying his Parker pen -- ahem -- to a lasting Middle East peace treaty.

Stranger things already have happened.


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