Secretary of Date

Goddammit. I really wish people would stop creating the need for me to have to defend Condi flippin' Rice:

Laura Bush's decision to stay home from this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Australia [is due to a pinched nerve]… Her doctors advised her not to travel overseas to avoid complications; this is the first time she's skipped a major trip since injuring the nerve while hiking in April.

Without the first lady at his side, the president is escorting his office wife—Condi Rice—to official events. At last night's dinner hosted by Prime Minister John Howard in Sydney, the president posed with Rice and told photographers, "She can be my date."
Last time I checked, Condi Rice was still the Secretary of Fucking State, not Bush's personal assistant who schedules his appointments with the chiropodist and picks up his dry cleaning. (And even if she were, the term "office wife" would still be demeaning and sexist.)

And what a cad Bush is for reinforcing this marginalizing horseshit by calling her his "date." For years, he's defended her credentials against critics who assert she didn't earn her position, but, even having granted it to her, Bush won't defend, or even honor himself, the notion that holding the position earns her some basic respect.

On another note: Can you imagine the ruckus it would have caused (and would probably cause still!) if Bill Clinton had attended an official event with another woman and referred to her as his "date," even jokingly? Oy. Good thing Bush restored dignity and honor to the White House, eh?

[Thanks to everyone who gave me the heads-up.]

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