I do so love getting
personal letters from George Bush.
That's what I said – from the president of the United
Imagine what an item I'll be at parties when I casually
mention that George sent his most recent letter just last
month, and that he addressed it “Dear Dana.”
Or when I remark that I am also on friendly terms with
James Carville, the famous Democratic operative and TV
news show hotshot who has started sending me notes as
Of course, both guys are asking me for money, but I
don't care. I do admit I'm curious to know how I
simultaneously showed up on both Democratic and Republican
fundraising lists. But so long as my money is green, these
two guys probably don't care, either.
Now I am a little perplexed by some of the wording Bush
– uh, George – uses in his correspondence, and not because
of the president's famed tendency for grammatical gaffes
and tortured syntax. Heck. It's a letter from the
president. I can get beyond that.
It's when he calls me a “grass-roots activist” that I
grow a bit baffled.
ANDROIDS FOR DANA
I think the last time I actually got involved in
politics – rather than just reporting on it from the
outside – was when I ran for school secretary in the
fourth grade, donned a robot costume, gave a robotic
campaign speech, got laughed off the stage and sort of
lost my appetite for the campaign trail.
Today, in my capacity as a political reporter, I'm not
supposed to take sides in these presidential election
matters. I may have a few opinions that I keep to myself,
but you are not supposed to know about them.
So it concerns me when George identifies me as an
activist who likes to “put up the yard signs, knock on the
doors, make the phone calls and do what's necessary to win
and elect a Republican president and Congress.”
As if I had time for this.
Now George does seem to know me well enough to hit me
up for money. And lots of it. He comes right out and asks
me to make an online contribution of $1,000, $500 or
whatever I can afford.
As if I had the bank account for that.
DANA OR DOUGHNUTS?
My most recent letter from Carville is dated Sept. 27,
and he addresses it, “Dear Friend.”
Now I've actually sat right next to Mr. Carville – uh,
my friend James – at our neighborhood cafe. I've watched
him eat up a plate of eggs and squint at his Washington
Post, and I've marveled that his face is even more
angular in person than it appears on CNN.
To be perfectly honest, my friend James wouldn't know
me from a doughnut on the cafe pastry shelf.
Still, his is another of those letters I can leave open
on the dining table when friends come for dinner. James
makes it seem it's up to me – all on my lonesome – to
“make sure we've got what we need to hit back as soon as
the fur starts flying” in the presidential election. I
have to admit, this makes me feel important.
He isn't quite as ambitious as George in the money
department. James only asks me to contribute $50, $75 “or
more” to help the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
raise $2 million so it can solidify its majority in the
Senate. Since that is a down payment on my daughter's
American Girl doll, I'll have to chew on this.
James' letter is more entertaining than George's. In
typically brazen style, James writes that the “Republican
leadership is like a horror movie. Just when you think one
bad guy's gone, another one pops up.”
He warns me that “Republican candidates aren't going to
stop trying to claw their way back to power, even though
they've got a pretty good record of screwing things up
once they have it.”
I like that my friend James feels he knows me well
enough to speak candidly.
Dana Wilkie is a
Washington-based correspondent for Copley News Service and
a longtime observer of California politics and social