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September 29, 2007

Jenna Bush...Not Exactly What You'd Expect

Perusing the Washington Post this morning, I learned that Jenna Bush, the blonde twin, taught elementary school right here in my own neighborhood of Mt. Pleasant, Washington, D.C., at the Elsie Whitlow Stokes charter school. In recent days, Jenna has made herself available to the media for the first time. She's promoting her new book, Ana's Story, which tells the tale of a 17-year old HIV-positive mother in Panama who she met while working with UNICEF. Jenna is also recently engaged to Henry Hager, a GOP blue blood.

But what I found really interesting is that despite defending her dad as a good man, Jenna comes perilously close in the interview to publicly opposing his policies. Here's some of what she had to say:

On Iraq and criticism of her father: "Nobody wants war. ... Obviously, all of this breaks my heart."

On HIV prevention strategies: "Everybody knows that condoms prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS."

On the United Nations: "I'm not my dad. I can tell you that UNICEF is doing incredible work."

Visiting Elsie Whitlow with reporters from the Post and NBC, Jenna speaks frankly to the students about HIV. "Can you get HIV from holding hands?" she asks the students. "No!"

Someone call Bill Frist.


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Interesting, but saying "Nobody wants war" doesn't set her apart from members of the administration:

Great, so 24-year-old Jenna, daughter of a schoolmarm and a Harvard/Yale grad, a gal who has had every conceivable advangage life can throw at her--except having a MLB team handed to her, in exchange for political access to the sitting president (but a lot can happen in 16 months)--isn't a complete fucking dithering idiot. Wow, stop the presses...

"Nobody wants war. ... Obviously, all of this breaks my heart."

This really isn't any different from what her father has said. He's stated repeatedly that "we did not seek this war" and remember, nobody suffers more than the president and his wife over the tragedy in Iraq.

I'd be glad to dismiss writings in praise of Jenna as the soft bigotry of low expectations in action.

But even if jimm and KCinDC are right that some of her words aren't that revolutionary, the fact is that not everyone with her background chose to go to Panama to work with people with AIDS.

Jenna Bush has some visibility because of who she is rather than because what's she's done. I've no problem with that, the advantages also came unasked for; the question is can/will she grow beyond that?

thanks, dana, for being my source on this remarkable information. just used it in a post about my Condom Amulet project. do you knit? unlike some of your commenters, i'm glad to have right thinking on HIV wherever it emerges.

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