WASHINGTON — Facing criticism that he appeared disengaged from the disaster wrought by Hurricane Katrina, President Bush has been looking for opportunities to show his concern. But the White House will take the effort a step further Tuesday, venturing into untested waters by putting the nation's first lady on reality television.Wow. Suddenly, this photo makes a lot of sense.
Laura Bush will travel to storm-damaged Biloxi, Miss., to film a spot on the feel-good, wish-granting hit "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Mrs. Bush sought to be on the program because she shares the "same principles" that the producers hold, her press secretary said.
In its standard format, the popular ABC series finds hard-pressed but deserving families, sends them away for short vacations and then, in a whirlwind of carpentry and appliance-shopping, gives them new homes. This time, though, the show will broadcast from an underserved shelter near Biloxi, where a convoy of trucks stocked with everything from mattresses to pants will arrive, courtesy of Sears, one of the show's sponsors.
It's not clear exactly what Mrs. Bush will do, but Tom Forman, executive producer and creator, said he is hoping that she'll just pitch in and help unload.
"I think we say, 'Mrs. Bush, the stuff is over here, the people are over there, could you grab the other end of that mattress?' " Forman said.
I suppose this is meant as the domestic counterpart to Bush's "Mission Accomplished" photo op on the aircraft carrier. Only this time, the banner will be a quote of that old George H. W. Bush chestnut, "Message: I Care."
I hope this becomes a new trend for the administration. I'd love to see Dick Cheney make an appearance on Fear Factor, though I suppose they'd have some real trouble finding something that the Dark Lord of the Sith was actually scared of. Still, it'd be fun to watch him eat a puppy.
Or maybe Bush and Cheney can reprise their legendary roles as Gilligan and the Skipper for The Real Gilligan's Island. Pops and Bar Bush can play the ditzy Howells, although they'd have to really slum it to pretend to be mere millionaires. Rumsfeld is perfect for the Professor, except his innocent coconut-powered radio would somehow kill thousands. Condi, with her incredible fashion sense, would be perfect as Ginger, while Laura makes an obvious Mary Jane. (Heck, they could even give Saddam Hussein a guest spot as the Japanese soldier who still thinks World War II is raging.) And every week, we'd get to watch Georgigan ruin the administration's efforts to get off the island. Perfect.
(Thanks to Digby for the tip.)