I don’t mean to be, um, catty, but has anyone else besides me noticed
the apparent, uh, fishy connection between New Jersey Gov. Christine
Todd Whitman giving President-elect George Bush a cute little nameless
Scottish-terrier puppy — live, not stuffed — for a gift and her
subsequent appointment as head of the Environmental Protection Agency?

Does the Scottie-nouveau have Cabinet status, too?

Welcome to the dog house — I mean, White House. No, I’d never
mention the word “bribe” aloud, let alone think it. But is that what it
takes to become a Bush Cabinet member? A cute, yappy four-legged
presidential present that pees on the carpet of the Oval Office?

I can do that. And then maybe Barbara Bush will write my biography,

Certainly Christie Whitman must be simply thrilled to be getting out
of Jersey — wouldn’t you be? But riding to Washington on the back of a
small defenseless dog she has thrown to cast its dicey lot with the
Bushes’ already swollen and presumably territorial animal menagerie?
Well, as prospective EPA head, shouldn’t she be aware she violated the
cardinal rule of prudent pet purchasing: Never give a pet as a
friendly present, particularly around the holidays or during disruptive
transitions like moving, especially if there are other pre-existing
animals, lest the pets fail to adjust to each other and the new pet ends

dumped in a pound
I guess not. That’s Consumer Protection, and she’s EPA. Sorry.

Romping in the Rose Garden for photo ops with the family Bush will also be their English Springer Spaniel, Poppy, and the daughter dog of Barbara Bush’s Millie, the calamitously christened Spot Fetcher Bush actually born in the White House during Poppy’s previous administration — plus there’s the six-toe stray cat, Ernie, named after

and India, the obligatory black cat for good luck and diversity.

Hey, the Bush administration plans to fill something like 6,000 jobs, and I want one of them. Shrub, as Molly Ivins dubbed him, definitely needs me as Presidential Yenta. Doesn’t that have a nice ring to it? Although getting confirmed could be quite the uphill battle, what with surviving the exhausting and exhaustive gauntlet of Senate confirmation hearings.

“The application process is daunting,” writes the London Telegraph’s David Wastell, “with would-be officials asked to supply details of relatives whether living or dead; of foreign trips made over the past 15 years, with the reasons for them; and full financial details, including all assets that are worth more than $1,000.”

Naturally I would ask them to disregard my late somewhat problematically wacky family — a.k.a., the Bermuda Triangle of Psychopathology, less “South Park” and more “Ally McBeal.” And my radical speechwriting travel to El Salvador, and my restaurant-hopping jaunts to Guatemala to, um, sample the cuisine. Money might be another problem. I have none. Nor was I exactly a Bush campaign supporter. While I heard that it helps if you went down to help the Florida recount, I didn’t. But I wanted to. As a former supermarket cashier/bookkeeper, I’m great with math. And it did cross my mind I shoulda joined the recount if only because Florida’s much warmer than Philadelphia.

I am, however, the daughter of a loyal, long-time civil servant, emphasis on servant. For close to 50 years, my electronics engineer dad served his country as a civilian employee for the U.S. Army Signal Corps. It gave him bleeding ulcers. I would hope for better.

My duties as Presidential Yenta — which I’m assuming Bush would raise to Cabinet-level status as he’s doing with Christie Whitman, and I’m from New Jersey too — would be wide-ranging and intuitive. A yenta, of course, has an opinion on nearly everything, much like a commentary columnist. The depth and breadth of my cocktail-party-level conversational gambits, I mean, abilities, are truly vast, from canine/feline geriatrics to ghostwriting speeches to recommending alternative healing techniques, to yenta-izing. Besides, I can whip up a mean grilled

hummus-on-Pita-with-black olives-and-provolone
midnight snack. Plus, my friend “Luna” gave me a bright red, portable

for my computer, which I think could definitely come in handy as part of Team Shrub. And, unlike many yentas, I’m a great listener.

After all, it’s clear Dubya has … tension issues. Not nearly enough has been made of the president-presumptive’s boil. Think how long he had that telltale red protrusion on his cheek. Stuh-ray-uss!

Remember how, around the election or shortly thereafter, media reports began surfacing that Duh-bya was making public appearances with a “bandage” — Band-Aid? — on his face, and my first thought was a Band-Aid, how tacky, but at least it’s not a bloody chad, or one of those teeny pieces of toilet paper stuck to his skin. Hmmm, I reasoned further, if W. cut himself shaving, that must mean shaky hands, possible nervousness at the outcome.

Then we learn it’s a boil, one of those painful, red and inflamed skin eruptions which, no matter what D.C. spinmeisters say, in the Bible signifies plague. Fear. Disaster. Destruction. Catastrophe. Cataclysm. Boils were, to be specific, the sixth plague on Egypt, among others including frogs, lice, flies, hail, locusts, darkness and if you can’t see a movie with that title you don’t know which way the wind’s blowing.

Plagues, according to

Easton’s Bible Dictionary
represent “a stroke of affliction, or disease. Sent as a divine chastisement (Num. 11:33; 14:37; 16:46-49; 2 Sam. 24:21). Painful afflictions or diseases, (Lev. 13:3, 5, 30; 1 Kings 8:37), or severe calamity (Mark 5:29; Luke 7:21), or the judgment of God, so called (Ex. 9:14). Plagues of Egypt were ten in number.”

Interestingly, Easton’s describes the sixth plague as “like the third, sent without warning (Ex.9:8-12). It is called (Deut. 28:27) ‘the botch of Egypt,’ A.V.; but in R.V., ‘the boil of Egypt.’ ‘The magicians could not stand before Moses” because of it. …'”

If his doctors didn’t lance the presidential boil — actually a nasty infection usually caused by staphylococcal bacteria invading the skin through the hair follicles, producing an inflammation in the form of a tender, raised, pus-filled red area, also called a furuncle — they might have given him antibiotics and/or some nice steroids to shrink his testicles, when any number of

might have been useful.

How do I know this stuff? Cause I’m a Presidential Yenta, that’s why.

And speaking of “the magicians,” let me pass on these nifty prophecies from 16th century seer Nostradamus (1503-1566):

Nine are set aside from the human flock,
Divided in their judgment and counsel
Their destiny is to be divided
Kappa, Theta, Lambda dead, banished, lost.

Secret conspiracy, perilous change,
Factions to conspire secretly;
Rains, great winds, plagues for proud ones,
Rivers to overflow; pestiferous actions.

False messages about a fraudulent election
Are stopped from circulating through the city
Voices bought, chapel tainted with blood
The empire goes to another.

While I make no claims at being able to deflect — or detect — plagues, I do have my unique talents. From where I sit, looks like Team Bush won’t be complete until it has a Presidential Yenta.

Nominate me.

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