Home / Laura Bush to White House Correspondent’s Dinner: I’m a Desperate Housewife

Laura Bush to White House Correspondent’s Dinner: I’m a Desperate Housewife

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The annual White House Correspondent’s Association dinner is usually a time when the President lets his hair down and tries some jokes on for his size for the award-winning journalists being honored. As recently as a few years ago, President Bush stirred up some controversy by making light of the war on terrorism.

However, this year it was First Lady Laura Bush’s turn to rock it hilarious in a bit of stage play and canned tomfoolery usually only witnessed at every entertainment awards show broadcast in the history of time.

As President Bush began to deliver his typical remarks, Laura Bush “shocked” those in attendance by interrupting the proceedings.

According to the Associated Press:

“Not that old joke, not again,” she said to the delight of the audience. “I’ve been attending these dinners for years and just quietly sitting there. I’ve got a few things I want to say for a change.”

The president sat down and she proceeded to note that he is “usually in bed by now” and said she told him recently, “If you really want to end tyranny in the world you’re going to have to stay up later.”

The cavalcade of jokes continued in the general vein of The President is a No Fun Loving Geek Who Goes to Bed Really Really Early. And then, finally, we are led up to the headline producing punch line:

She outlined a typical evening: “Nine o’clock, Mr. Excitement here is sound asleep and I’m watching `Desperate Housewives’.” Comedic pause. “With Lynne Cheney. Ladies and gentlemen, I am a desperate housewife.”

Clearly, we can now see where the Bush daughters, who joked it up at the Republican National Convention last summer, get their sense of humor from.

But is this light-hearted moment a throwaway line in a time of war and general unease, or is it an underhanded statement of what this administration sees as the ideal social condition:

Man and woman happily married (or not). Man goes to sleep early as he has a “country” to run in the morning. Wife settles into the nightly soaps, joking about the desperate normalcy of it all.

Is this a veiled desire to transport back to the idealized Ozzie and Harriet days of the 1950s?

Is this a new call for censorship, a plea for a further straitjacketing of the American Creative Spirit?

Or have I just lost my sense of humor?

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  • RJ

    You’ve just lost your sense of humor. 🙂

  • I better get watching the late night talk shows to get it back then! Hilarity will surely ensue in no time…

  • SFC Ski

    I think you just lost your sense of humor. She came off really well, even though I am sure a lot of things were scripted. What did come through is that she has a sly wit and that the President can take a joke at his own expense. She definitely has a great presence in front of a crowd.
    I wish the coverage had included Cedric the Entertainer, he is great, too.

  • Well, if it’s not obvious, this piece is just slightly tongue-in-cheek…


    It’s 0245 EST, I need obvious, and coffee, in that order.

  • I feel you on the coffee SFC, and I’m sorry I couldn’t serve up the obvious in this case…

    Why the burning of the EST midnight oil?


    I work the graveyard shift during the week, on weekends I try to keep something like the same schedule. It’s either ghost the aisles of Wal-mart or skulk around blogcritics at this time of the morning.

  • I worked at a TV station for seven months on the 2 – 10 am shift… some of the worst months of my life. Never quite got used to it. It’s funny — I like to stay up late, but my natural rhythem is sleep those very hours, 2 – 10.

    I don’t envy your schedule, man. At least you have BC to keep you occupied!


    Well, now that summer is coming it is a little easier, I actually don’t mind it, I get to do things when everyone else is at work, I almost feel like I am gettting over.

  • graceann

    Saying that you’ve lost your sense of humor, implies that you had one to start with. I don’t think you have. Last nights speech came off, just as it was intended, funny, for those of us who do not look at every thing Bush and Comp say for a chance to belittle.

    I swear, you’r bitch if you were hung with a new rope! laugh a little, the sky is not falling chicken little!

  • Dawn

    I think Laura was just saying she would like a little “quality time” with the hubby. You know those middle aged broads need some lovin’ too.

    And graceann – you complaining about someone’s lack of a sense of humor is irony at its best.

  • I worked graveyard shift once too. It actually suited my natural sleep cycle pretty well – I’m good at sleeping during the day, but it was back in the 70s when everything was closed after 8pm – I couldn’t even stop for a burger on the way to work because fast food restaurants were closed. The job also left much to be desired, but it did pay well.

    But back to the topic at hand, I find that the charm of the tale above comes through despite the negative spin Eric attempted to put on it. It shows President Bush’s self-confidence and Laura’s sense of humor, and those are qualities badly needed in the White House.


  • SFC – I agree that it’s a luxury nowadays to run errands and get stuff done during the week while the normal folk work. I have a strange schedule now that involves lots of travel (driving) and work in the afternoons and evenings. I like it, though — gives me the time to sleep in and cruise about.

    And to everyone (again) – I was having a bit of fun with this piece. I’m sure the actual event was very cute and well-staged and lots of fun for all involved, I have no doubt.

    But can’t a Democrat make vast and rash accusations every once in a while?

    I mean, our Republican friends get to do it all the time. Just turn on the radio, or stop on by many of the finely written articles here at the mighty mighty BC.

  • Shark

    EVEN Laura is making fun of Bush’s lack of intelligence:

    “He tried to milk a horse. [beat, beat] A male horse.”


    “George’s approach to EVERY problem is to pick up a chain saw.”


    (Note to Laura: Truth ain’t that funny.)

    The irony is: Mrs. Bush is making fun of her husband’s stupidity by doing it with really STUPID humor.

    Irony is apparently lost on these motards from Midland.

    Anyway, I hear Mrs. Mussolini was a riot, too.

    Despite her overall attempt at appearing both humorous and happy, it isn’t hard to look at the First Lady and see — deep in those almost-crossed eyes — an overwhelming impulse to run into the kitchen and pull a “Hunter S. Thompson”.

    Our prayers are with her.

  • Unsubtle as usual, Shark. Laura’s not making fun of her husband, she’s making fun of YOU for being naive enough to believe her husband is stupid. But being too simple minded to see that, you think she’s making fun of her husband, thereby proving that you deserve to have her make fun of you. Brilliant!


  • Ah, so there is underfooted messaging at play here I see…

    So my theory gains new credibility by those very forces who would… etc.

  • Dawn

    I thought Laura was plenty amusing and she looked damn good too. You can pick on Dubya all you want, but Laura is the BOMB!!!

  • Watch all of the wacky religious types come out of the woodwork to decry this speech as unsavory. I thought it was funny, and her sense of timing was surprisingly good. I laughed at a lot of this. Right or left, she was funny.

    Dave–people who disagree with Dubya think he’s stupid. People who agree with him think he’s smart. It has nothing to do with being naive. If his last name was Smith, and he came from humble beginnings to become president, then I would automatically forgive his inability to speak cogently.

  • I would think that the various Christian media watchdog groups would be up in arms about Laura Bush claiming to watch desperate housewives. What show on TV is more depraved and immoral?


  • BklynRaven

    If anyone wonders why Mrs. Bush has an overall 85% approval rating, last night should be required viewing. She is a very classy, sassy, funny First Lady!

  • gonzo marx

    my favorite quip from Mrs. Bush was about the “differences” between her and her husband..

    “I can pronounce nuclear” sez the First Lady…

    that was priceless…

    yas miss me?


  • Nancy

    Even I, a dedicated and declared Bush curmudgeon, found Laura’s schtick highly amusing. I liked the line about her working 12 years in a library, but somehow she met George. They should do it more. It might soothe the savages like myself, who usually feel that if Mt. St. Helens blows again, it’s Bush’s fault. 😉

  • Agreed, Nancy. I felt the same way. It was like, whoa, she seems kinda, I don’t know, human.

  • What about the sinister underbelly and the New Era of Censorship?

    Come on, work with me here people.

  • Nancy

    Oh. That. Well…it’s Bush’s fault. Actually probably a plot between Karl Rove and Dick Cheney, who after all are a lot more ruthless. Regarding the climate change, I have a friend in Wisconsin who has a banana tree in her back yard…granted, it’s in a sheltered position, but still, in Wisconsin? Doesn’t that qualify?

  • Dave writes: I would think that the various Christian media watchdog groups would be up in arms about Laura Bush claiming to watch desperate housewives.

    Interestingly, my brother thinks that was the whole point. It was a chance for the Bushes to shake off some of the Dobson-Frist self-righteous humorlessness; a way of saying “Hey folks, not all Republicans are total squares.”

    Anyway, I give her an A-plus, and I’m no fan of her husband.

  • RJ

    Almost everyone loves Laura. She’s hard not to love.

    Of course, there are those who are particularly malicious and bring up that unfortunate vehicular incident from long ago in her past, in order to somehow damage her, and therefore her husband.

    But still, there really isn’t anything tangible to dislike about this First Lady.

  • -E

    Laura is quite a smart lady too. Just because her jokes were silly doesn’t mean she is. And her jokes were much better than those of Barbara and Jenna- those didn’t even garner a smile out of me.

    And don’t diss Midland man, not all of em are idiots.

  • RJ

    I’m glad you’ve had a look around “E” and are commenting on other posts.

    We at BC.org are, after all, a diverse community.

    Please let your online buddies know that we welcome new posters and new commenters. The more, the merrier! 🙂

  • Mar

    Get a sense of humor. it was different, funny and genuine. it doesn’t always have to have an a hidden agenda!

  • Well, we definitely have a different idea of different, Mar (see post re: awards shows) but nonetheless, I’ve moved on from this…

    Frustrated Democrat Who Is Getting (A Little) Less Frustrated By the Day

  • Rodney W: “Interestingly, my brother thinks that was the whole point. It was a chance for the Bushes to shake off some of the Dobson-Frist self-righteous humorlessness; a way of saying “Hey folks, not all Republicans are total squares.”

    This occured to me too. It also occured to me that it might have been directed right at Tom Delay and his moralizing buddies, telling them to back down from the moral issues because Bush isn’t playing that game.


  • Just like Jenna at the RNCV convention. Except funny – except for the hypocrisy part of things. Think Bush slapped her when they got back to the White House?

    Me neither.

  • On the ass maybe.


  • which room is the shrine?

    oh and go away.

  • john

    You are all a bunch of redneck bush lovers; Kayne West is stating a fact. Second you are considered a patriot when you can criticize your country not when you are a yes man or woman, and agree with every dam thing the president says. When you actually get a chance, look up the executions in Texas when bush was governor.