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Two Cheers for Jenna Bush

April 24, 2008

With her presidential wedding just weeks away, First Daughter Jenna Bush will once again be the subject of celebrity and political gossip alike. Just a few years ago, the bar-hopping the Bush twin seemed destined to follow in her father's footsteps as a Republican Party Animal. As it turns out, on abstinence policy and the election of John McCain - two issues near and dear to her GOP father's heart - Jenna Bush may not be much of a Republican at all.
Appearing on the Larry King show with her mother Laura to hawk their new children's book, Jenna Bush surprised host and parent alike by leaving open the possibility she might not vote for the presumptive nominee, John McCain:

KING: Do you have a favorite between the two, the two Democrats?
LAURA BUSH: My favorite is the Republican.
KING (pointing to Jenna): Yours too, I would imagine.
JENNA BUSH: I don't know.
KING: A-ha! Are you open to...
JENNA BUSH: Yeah, of course. I mean, who isn't open to learning about the candidates and I'm sure that everybody's like that.

(Armchair psychologists will no doubt speculate that Jenna Bush's reluctance to support John McCain may be the result of empathy for he predecessor, Chelsea Clinton. Chelsea, after all, was the target of a vulgar McCain joke at a 1998 Republican fundraiser. And to be sure, empathy is not a trademark Republican family value.)
This isn't the first time Jenna Bush has sided against her presidential parents. On the Bush administration's calamitous abstinence policies here and abroad, Ms. Bush took a different line in her first book, Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope. In it, she parts company with her U.S. AIDS ambassador/mother regarding abstinence. In an interview with Diane Sawyer, she added, "kids need to have education. They need to be educated in order to make the right decision for themselves."
None of the above is meant to suggest that Jenna Bush has become the embodiment of progressive values. No doubt, the enduring images of her tenure as First Daughter remain her yawning during her father's inaugural address, petulantly sticking her tongue out at the press, the underage drinking and falling down drunk in a bar. Yes, Jenna Bush may be a part-time Republican, but she'll always be daddy's little girl.

2 comments on “Two Cheers for Jenna Bush”

  1. I saw it live, too. Right after she said it, there's was this look that passed between mother and daughter -- a look that said something like, "Uh oh... this is going to be trouble."


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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