Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I'm not going to get worked up about the front-page New York Times story on the Clintons' marriage -- the Times doesn't lay a glove on them, and the non-wingnut public, unlike the Beltway press, spends very little time speculating on the nature of this relationship. This, of course, was also true during most of Bill's presidency, but we really don't think about their marriage now -- the story isn't merely gossip, it's stale gossip. Caring deeply about the state of the Clintons' marriage in 2006 is as pathetic as still having a Leonardo DiCaprio poster on your wall.

What bothers me about the article is that it's yet another sign of the press's belief that Democrats -- and only Democrats -- engage in odd behavior because they have strange, mysterious psyches, full of shadowy recesses. I can think of another power political couple in which the husband enjoys frequent trips away from home and hearth for recreation -- in his case, to go hunting, at least once with dangerous consequences, on a trip taken in the company of more than one woman not his wife. The wife in question is a powerful career woman who once wrote a novel touching on taboo sexuality; the husband has a mania for secrecy and a paranoid streak.

Yet the press never seems to want to put Dick or Lynne Cheney on the couch; she's just a mom and grandmom with an impressive resume, and he's just a regular red-state guy who sometimes forgets to watch his diet and might get a little careless when he's had a beer. Oh, that's just Grampa! We joke about him sometimes, but he's the most normal fella you'd ever want to meet!

An exaggeration, I know -- the mainstream press does hint at Cheney's oddness. But his oddness is rarely examined; no one seems to want to ask whether he's more than just a tough old buzzard, whether he's half-crazy. He's a man; he gets his hands dirty -- he can't be crazy. To the press, amateur psychoanalysis is meant only for effete wimps and Democrats. But I repeat myself.

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