Thursday, July 22, 2004



Jenna and Barbara

TWINS. The president's daughters have been back in the news of late, joining their father on the campaign trail. They made joint appearances before Ohio GOP workers and Vogue Magazine. They sound serious these days:

In the Vogue interview for the August issue, conducted in a Manhattan hotel room on Mother's Day, the daughters present a picture of themselves in striking contrast to the image of fun-loving twins known for partying and under-age drinking in Texas. Barbara Bush says that after the election she plans to sign up for a program to work with children with AIDS in Eastern Europe and Africa; Jenna says she plans to teach at a charter school.

Despite all this grown-up-itude, the irrepressible Jenna, who almost lost her dress at the Republican Convention four years ago, playfully stuck her tongue out two days ago at the reporters and photographers surrounding the president's limousine in St. Louis. Maybe she was remembering the snotty coverage The Washington Post gave to their Vogue interview:

Jenna's ruby red dress is by Oscar de la Renta, a designer favored by her mother. Barbara is wearing a similar ivory gown by Calvin Klein. They are accessorized with an array of borrowed diamonds. The dresses are classic designs -- styles a designer would keep on hand in the showroom but wouldn't bother to put on the runway.

The 22-year-old twins look like debutantes, minor royals, or that particular New York species of well-groomed, pedigreed and socially connected women known as the "Bright Young Things." For much of the time their father has been in the White House, they were kept under wraps. Occasionally they emerged from their protected world to be snapped attending a fashion show or traveling with their mother. The only significant ink on them has been on police reports detailing their ill-advised underage drinking.

The article goes on like this for quite a while, as if the Washington Post has never had any truck with the well to do. It would seem that Jenna, at least, hasn't been so thoroughly protected that she doesn't know how to deal with the press.

We at InstaPunk think the Bush twins are charming. There's something mischievous going on there that defies the slick characterization offered by the Post. We think they have a sense of humor. We think they have secrets. We think they're always up to something, which their father probably knows but doesn't worry about because Laura does plenty of worrying about it.

Herewith our lowly tribute to the First Daughters: a photo caption contest. We really like this picture, which was published the same day as the notorious 'tongue' photo:

There's Dad, leading the way, probably just out of earshot of the girls (what with the jet engines and all), and something is happening between the two of them, but what? A sly comment? A cutting barb? An argument? A plan? You tell us. Mail your captions to, and we'll sort through them and decide on first, second, and third place winners. First prize is an autographed copy of The Boomer Bible, courtesy of our friends at, and second and third place will be a hat or T-shirt or something, courtesy of same. We'll accept entries through midnight Tuesday, July 27. We'll announce the winners one week from today.

No big deal. We're just having fun. Maybe you will too.

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