So Jenna Bush said on Larry King that she might not vote for John McCain. And you're thinking: so what? After seven years of basically making fun of the Bush girls for their teenage rebellious antics, their drinking, their partying, and their frenetic attempts to emulate Daddy-as-he-was rather than Daddy-as-he-is, why should we even care what Jenna Bush does or does not do?
And the answer is, of course, that we shouldn't. She's just one person. One Republican person. One very young, not particularly important or influential Republican person.
She is also the daughter of the sitting GOP President, and she says she could consider voting against his GOP successor. Another GOP Presidential daughter, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, endorsed Barack Obama this week. What if anything does any of this mean?
But like so many of her generation, Jenna Bush, the daughter of the President, does not seem to feel the need to perpetuate his policies. If she did, she would obviously support McCain, since he is on record as willing to continue most of them. And perhaps she will end up doing so. Clearly, though, she is hesitant.
I wish I could have been there when Laura and Jenna got home from the King show...
LAURA (entering): Is it too much to ask that you support him? That's all I'm saying.
JENNA (right behind her): As if Dad needs my support. He already has, like, 25% of the country behind him.
LAURA: You and your sister have had pretty darned good lives, young lady, and it's mostly been due to your father. I think you owe him.
JENNA: Right, Mom. I owe him. He's paying for the wedding. And I didn't say I wouldn't vote for McCain anyway. I said I've been too busy to think about politics.
LAURA: And I suppose you expect everyone to believe that.
JENNA: Why not? They believed Dad when he said he was a compassionate conservative.
LAURA: What's that supposed to mean?
JENNA: Let's just say I've seen him when the cameras aren't running. He's not so compassionate. And I don't think he's ever conserved a thing in his whole life.
LAURA: How dare you say things like that? After I just got through telling Larry King how upsetting it is to have those Democrats criticizing him, his own daughter---
GEORGE (entering): What about my daughter? Oh, there she is. Daddy's little girl. Heh heh heh.
JENNA: Not so little, Dad. (flashes ring) Getting married soon, remember?
GEORGE: I'll decide that. I'm the decider.
LAURA: It's a bit late, George.
GEORGE: I know. I'm joshing you. I'm the joshinator. So how was the King show? That little weasel do anything smarmy? Heh heh heh.
LAURA: Larry was a perfect gentleman as always, George. He just asked some questions and we talked about the election.
GEORGE: The election? He was politicating? I thought you wanted to talk about your book.
LAURA: Well, we just talked briefly about John McCain--
GEORGE: That old jackass. I have no idea how he ever got the nomination. But I guess we're stuck voting for him.
LAURA: Most of us are.
GEORGE: Whaddaya mean?
LAURA: Ask your daughter.
JENNA: Dad, I didn't say I wouldn't vote for him. I just--
GEORGE: You just didn't say you would.
GEORGE: Do you know how the bloggers will play that? Huffington and Kos will have a freaking field day. Drudge is going to go nuts. Jenna won't vote for Dad's Party. I can see it now. Not that I blame you. If the best we can come up with is McCain.
LAURA: George, John is not that bad.
GEORGE: He's an old fart and you know it. If he hadn't been tortured in Viet Nam he would never have had a chance. (a thought occurs to him) Hey, you don't think I'm setting up those Al Kaydas to be President someday, do you? By waterboarding them and all?
LAURA: No, George. I don't think so.
GEORGE: Good. Because I wouldn't want that. That wouldn't be good. It would be bad.
JENNA: May I go now, Dad?
GEORGE: Wait one minute, young lady. Who are you going to vote for? Please don't say Obama.
JENNA (hesitates): I refuse to answer on the grounds that you might waterboard me.
LAURA: Obama? Oh, for crying out loud, Jenna! I thought Hillary, at least. I mean we can beat her.
JENNA: I said I don't know yet! But Obama's message is appealing. I like the idea of hope and stuff.
GEORGE: I have hope. I have lots of hope. I hope that my approval rating doesn't end up in single digits. I hope that history shows I was right about Iraq. I hope that no one ever finds any evidence that we colluded with the oil companies on prices. Not that we did that. We didn't. But I hope they don't ever find evidence. I hope that Cheney stays healthy because he's the only reason they haven't impeached me. I hope I haven't totally blown Jeb's chances or he'll be so pissed!
JENNA: (shakes her head) I'm going upstairs. Good night, Dad. Good night, Mom. (leaves)
LAURA: She'll come to her senses, George. It's just youthful idealism. Remember how we were at her age?
GEORGE: Not really. I don't have a lot of memory of those years. I spent most of them wasted. (They laugh.) Laura?
LAURA: Yes, Dear?
GEORGE: Did I make a mistake in not replacing Dick? I know he protects me from the Democrat witch-hunters, but with him we ended up without a clear favorite and now we're stuck with McCain. I should have had him resign last year and replaced him with someone who shares my view on most things, someone in favor of the war but less arrogant than McCain. Someone who understands the Democratic party and could use their own rhetoric against them. Someone I could groom as a worthy successor.
GEORGE: Maybe it's not too late. I could still do it. McCain isn't actually nominated yet.
LAURA: Who are you talking about?
GEORGE (picks up phone): Hello? Get me Dick Cheney...I don't really care what time it is...no, I'll take responsibility if he has a heart attack...I'm the Responsibilitor...oh, and when you get him on the line, find me Joe Lieberman.
Maybe Jenna's generation--whether or not she comes around--will be the backbone of the Democratic Party for decades to come, as one diarist wrote earlier today. Maybe not. But I doubt they will vote lockstep with their parents, and that's at least something.