By MAUREEN DOWD
I know exactly how the Republicans feel. They've ensorcelled themselves.
They really, really want this relationship to work out. After
eight lonely years
they've eagerly invented the image of
their desires, imbuing him with magical qualities. Their fantasy
guy will sweep
in and transform their humdrum little lives. They're banishing all doubts, ruling
out all rivals, ignoring any disturbing intrusions of reality.
They are counting the moments until the Big Crush replaces the Big Creep.
You can picture Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, Rep. Dick Armey
and House majority whip Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, acting like giggling
schoolgirls, drawing hearts in their "G.W.B." scrapbooks while they watch
Yup, the Republicans are bewitched. And that means soon they'll
bothered. And then bewildered.
Dreamboats always sink.
Bush goes on his blind date with history this weekend, chaperoned
couple of hundred ravenous reporters, making his maiden campaign swing to
Iowa and New Hampshire.
There is a stopover in Kennebunkport, Maine, a town that, like
evokes the presidency. Just in case anyone missed the connection, Junior will
be stopping by to celebrate George Sr.'s 75th on Sunday.
Republicans should remain besotted as long as their crush can
pass a few
1. He'll be more deft on a rope line than Bill Clinton.
2. He will keep everyone from realizing that "compassionate conservatism"
fallacy, that you can't be generous and mingy at the same time.
3. He will be so attractive to women that soccer moms won't even
listen to Al
Gore babbling about how he'll fix traffic jams and suburban sprawl.
4. His position on abortion will be so nuanced, so finely tuned,
befuddling that the Christian Coalition will think he's fervently anti-abortion
and the National Organization for Women will understand that he's secretly
5. When reporters ask why he wasn't in Vietnam, he'll have a
excuse than Dan Quayle.
6. The fact that Bush has been studying foreign affairs so diligently,
fact that he now knows not to call the Kosovars "Kosovians" or the Greeks
"Grecians," will be seen as signs of growth and maturity, not as the beginning
of some horrible Quayle gaffe trajectory.
7. If a nude picture of W. dancing on a bar does show up, it
will be flattering
and have good lighting.
8. His platform will be so appealing that voters won't notice
Republicans can't pass a simple spending bill and don't even have the pretense
of an agenda.
9. His position on gun control will be so nuanced, so finely
beautifully befuddling that Rosie O'Donnell and Charlton Heston will both rush
to endorse it.
10. Boomers will find him groovy, even though he once confessed
that in the
'60s he did not like the Beatles when they went through their "weird
11. His vision will be as compelling as Ronald Reagan's and his
elegant as his father's.
12. His position on Social Security will be so nuanced, so finely
beautifully befuddling that it will be hailed by the American Association of
Retired Persons, Wall Street and MTV.
13. He will never lose that famous temper.
14. Reporters will gush over him more than Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
15. His pledge-torturing, beer-guzzling frat-boy past will seem
amusing, like the raffish Otter in Animal House.
16. Even if he did do something illegal, his escapades will seem
17. His position on campaign finance reform will be so nuanced,
tuned, so beautifully befuddling that it will get Republicans off the hook with
Common Cause without stopping the GOP's soft-money pipeline.
18. People will buy that story about his being a self-made businessman.
19. His part-ownership of the Texas Rangers will make him seem
of a jock than Bill Bradley.
20. He'll be so wildly popular with blacks and Hispanics that
will lose their image as the Simon Legree party.
21. He'll be tough on China without making it give back the secrets
during the Bush and Clinton administrations.
22. He will be seen as a true Texan. He won't need pork rinds.
Dowd, based in Washington, D.C., is a Pulitzer Prize-winning
The New York Times.