Most people remember Bush\'s tasteless joke he told at the White House Correspondent Dinner a couple of years ago, in which he made fun of looking for those Weapons of Mass Destruction under his office table. (And we know now not only that there were no WMD but Bush was already making plans to go to war for "regime change" in 2002).
We hadn\'t given much thought about who actually wrote those "jokes" for Bush until the other night when Laura Bush gave her own speech, instead of Bush, at the White House Correspondent Dinner. The jokes she told made her look trashy, sex-starved, above her buffoon husband in intellect and literacy... but she didn\'t write the speech, only agreed with it by voicing it. C Landon Parvin, of the appallingly bad WMD jokes, wrote it. What we can\'t figure out is why, when Bush\'s approval ratings are in the toilet, the powers in the White House chose to trot out Laura to tell jokes that denigrate Bush and his family and choose to make him look like even more of an idiot. The jokes were funny, no doubt about it, mostly, for us, because we enjoyed hearing the Stepford Wife take down her Idiot Husband...unfortunately, Laura was funnier than Cedric the Entertainer, making her a tough act to follow. But the tasteless jokes that had Laura visiting Chippendales with a number of other political women (including "Dollar Bill" Cheney) in "Desperate Housewife" mode while her drab husband sleeps in made her look cheap and sex-starved. And she called Bush out on his phony cowboy-ranch image which he has carefully cultivated for the public. Perhaps among those who think that being cheap and fake is a wonderful trait for the Presidential family, Laura\'s jokes were the epitome of high culture. But telling funny jokes trashing your own husband, who is President, doesn\'t recommend her to those who now wonder, if she\'s so much smarter than Bush, and understands all his shilling, why is she with him?
About Parvin. He also writes joke speeches for others, has done so for Reagan, and Arnold Schwarzenegger., including his campaign speeches, inaugural address, State of the State Address, and Republican National Convention speeches. (Nothing about Arnold that isn\'t manufactured, but he can sure read his lines). Arnold\'s wife, Maria, is the one who recruited Parvin.
But the governor’s “Buy Californian” policy apparently doesn’t extend to speeches. For is State of the State address, Schwarzenegger looked past his staff of full-time speechwriters and outsourced the job to C. Landon Parvin, of Fredericksburg, Va.
Parvin, who has written for President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan, reportedly received in the neighborhood of $19,000 to pen Schwarzenegger’s address.
The speech, which included at least four references to creating and keeping jobs in California, was well received by most listeners, just like the brilliant Parvin speech Schwarzenegger delivered at last year’s Republican National Convention.
The RNC-we remember the whopper Arnold told, that he remembered the Soviets occupying his part of Austria. We also remember the offensive "girlie men" comment- written by Parvin.
Campaign advisers were slightly uneasy about whether "Ah-nold" would come on too strong for the folks back home. But in his prime-time convention address, the BC04 apparatus let the Governator get off his signature line, "Don\'t be economic girlie men!" (Afterward, Schwarzenegger called his speechwriter, Landon Parvin, from the convention hall. Parvin could hear the roaring crowd in the background. Schwarzenegger told the speechwriter he was glad the campaign hadn\'t nixed the "girlie man" line. "It just took the roof off the place," said Schwarzenegger.)
Natural, too, that some of Arnold\'s other lines would evoke Reagan, since Parvin was Reagan\'s speech writer, including the line "A Time for Choosing".
What about G W Bush? Landon writes his jokes, too. Why? Because Bush doesn\'t have the sense or good manners to tout his own. Shortly after David Letterman had surgery, Bush went on his Late Night Show
Bush seems to have only half understood why he was there, and so he came prepared with several jokes about Letterman, who had recently undergone heart bypass surgery. “It’s about time you had the heart to invite me,” Bush said early in the show, prompting a round of boos. Later, Letterman asked what he meant by his slogan “I’m a uniter, not a divider.” Bush replied, “It means when it comes time to sew up your chest cavity, we use stitches,” a line that elicited more boos from the audience. At one point, when the conversation grew particularly testy, Letterman said to Bush: “Let me remind you of one thing, Governor: the road to Washington runs through me.”
Parvin also has written jokes for Bush\'s speeches at the Alfalfa Club.The Washington Post and NYTimes have reported on his mean and partisan jokes.
"But what a stellar crowd," Bush continued. "It looks like the index of Paul O\'Neill\'s book. Let me say something about that book. Paul said I was disengaged because he talked to me for 45 minutes and I didn\'t say a word. I wasn\'t disengaged. I was bored as hell and my mother told me never to interrupt. . . . -Washington Post
...Mr. Bush chose to swipe at Mr. Kerry in some off-the-record jokes in a speech on Saturday night at the Alfalfa Club dinner, an annual banquet for Washington\'s political upper class. The official position of Mr. Bush\'s advisers is that he is too busy running the country to pay attention to the campaign, but someone must have forgotten to tell the president.
"I think Kerry\'s position on the war in Iraq is politically brilliant," Mr. Bush told the Alfalfa Club guests at the Capitol Hilton, according to a guest who heard the remarks. "In New Hampshire yesterday, he stated he had voted for the war, adding that he was strongly opposed to it."
The line got a big laugh, the guest said, as did this one about Howard Dean\'s "I Have a Scream" postcaucus speech in Iowa: "Boy, that speech in Iowa was something else," the guest reported Mr. Bush as saying. "Talk about shock and awe. Saddam Hussein felt so bad for Governor Dean that he offered him his hole."-NYTimes
We wonder if Parvin also wrote the memorable "Some people call you the elite.. I call you my base" line Bush delivered, and, in fact, does he write those Social Security stump speeches that Bush delivers with very little change from city to city? Was he also largely behind the awful Bush twins speech at the RNC that is credited partly to Karen Hughes?
Why might a politician get a speechwriter?
Parvin- “A politician will be in some trouble and he’ll say, ‘Will you do me some lines on it?,’ because he’s heard that humor can get him out of trouble,” Parvin told me. Sometimes he can help, and sometimes the trouble—misuse of public funds, for example—is intractable. “I tell them, depending on the situation, ‘No, this is trouble. You should not make fun of this.’ ”
Back to Laura Bush for a minute. Bush said she doesn\'t watch Desperate Housewives. Not only is she not above trashing her husband, but anything she says is manufactured tripe, for a purpose written actually by Parvin, to try to improve the ratings of her husband. She\'s a phony, too.
UPDATE: The NYTimes has this
White House officials cast Mrs. Bush\'s performance as an attempt at fun, not a political calculation
Not a chance this wasn\'t a political calculation... "although they said the idea came from one of the more shrewd political animals at the White House, President Bush"