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  • Friday, October 06, 2006


    Desperate Housewives

    Let's hear it for Lisa Schiffen who's lending a helping hand to the Santorum campaign because she knows what women want, even if they don't want Lil Ricky:
    A conservative political group is shelling out nearly $1 million to soften the image of Senator Santorum of Pennsylvania in the hope of boosting his standing with female voters and saving his Senate seat for the Republican Party.

    Softer Voices, an organization that touted security and terrorism issues to women during the 2004 campaign, is now running television ads emphasizing Mr. Santorum's role as an early advocate for and author of welfare-towork legislation.

    Mr. Santorum's Democratic opponent, Robert Casey Jr., does not support the so-called welfare reform bill signed by President Clinton in 1996.

    "We love this issue," a former speechwriter for Vice President Quayle and founder of Softer Voices, Lisa Schiffren, told The New York Sun. "It's really important for conservatives to remember and for voters to remember that welfare reform was a conservative issue and that people like Rick Santorum made it happen and that people like Bill Clinton signed that bill kicking and screaming."
    That would be this Lisa Schiffen who steamed up the pages of the Wall Street Journal with this pheromone-soaked love note to the Steely-Eyed Rocket Man:
    I had the most astonishing thought last Thursday. After a long day of hauling the kids to playdates and ballet, I turned on the news. And there was the president, landing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, stepping out of a fighter jet in that amazing uniform, looking--how to put it?--really hot. Also presidential, of course. Not to mention credible as commander in chief. But mostly "hot," as in virile, sexy and powerful.

    You don't see a lot of that in my neighborhood, the Upper West Side of Manhattan. (I'm told there's more of it in the "red" states.) I was mesmerized. I flipped around watching W. land on many channels. I watched the whole speech, which was fine. But a business suit just doesn't do it the way a flight suit does. In the course of this I peeked over at my husband, the banker. He was in his third month of reading a book about the Six Day War and didn't seem to notice.

    Nonetheless, I know that I am not the only one who entertained these untoward thoughts. The American media were fully aware of how stunning the president looked last week. And they chose to defuse it by referring endlessly to the "photo-oppiness" of the event. The man uses overwhelming military force to vanquish a truly evil foe, facing down balking former "allies," and he is not taken seriously as a foreign-policy president. He out top-guns the Hollywood version, and all the media can talk about is the impending campaign commercial.

    With a few exceptions: Brian Williams shook his head in awe at the clip and said, if I may paraphrase, "that, ladies and gentlemen, is a president at the pinnacle of success, having just won a war." The New York Post ran the hot shot on its front page. And Newsweek called it a photo-op but gave the president what can only be called a centerfold.


    I decided to run a reality check among the soccer moms I spend my days with. At my daughter's East Side school, my friend Emily, a mother of two and probably a liberal, examined the picture of the president in his fly-boy gear that I just happened to have in my purse. She looked carefully, grinned and said, "He's a hottie. No doubt about it. Really a hottie. Why haven't I noticed this before? He looks so much better than Michael Douglas in that movie we saw," comparing the tired, indifferent megastar of "The American President" to the totally present leader of the free world.

    Alexandra, an unmarried event planner in her 30s, e-mailed: "Hot? SO HOT!!!!! THAT UNIFORM!" In a more restrained way, my friend Maggie, a writer/mom, explained: "I think he is actually protecting me and my sons, and I find that attractive in a man." Suzi, who did her mom time and now writes biographies, also began with restraint. I asked, casually, what she thought about President Bush. She answered, carefully, "He's so confident. He is a very credible, trustworthy leader." "Yeah," I pursue, "but do you think he's sexy?" "Oh God, yes," she said. "I mean, that swagger. George Bush in a pair of jeans is a treat to watch." This from a soft-spoken woman inclined to intellectual pursuits.
    I'm finding it hard to believe that Lisa and her friends think that George Bush is a PILF. Actually I'm having a hard time believing that Lisa has any friends who don't think she's kind of creepy carrying around codpiece shots in her purse...


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