[[T U N E S]] * U.S. presidents must often contend with difficult or embarrassing family members. Richard Nixon had his brother, Donald, who accepted a $205,000 loan from none other than Howard Hughes to keep his struggling drive-in eatery from going under--only to see that California restaurant go belly-up less than a year later. Jimmy Carter’s brother, Billy, provided the inspiration for Billy Beer, claimed he could drink 20 to 30 cans of brew every day, and was the subject of Senate hearings after he registered as a foreign agent of the Libyan government. And, of course, Bill Clinton’s half-brother, Roger Jr., was convicted of selling cocaine and served a year in jail.
George W. Bush has already had to deal with his younger sibling Neil (implicated in the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s), his niece Noelle (who’s been arrested for alcohol and drug offenses, and done jailtime), and his twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, who’ve been involved in underage drinking incidents. But now, it seems, he’s got another contentious relative to hide in the closet: Flora Bush, the third Bush “twin”--“the daughter the president doesn’t want you to know about, because she’s a Democrat.” OK, before you start reaching for the nearest biographical dictionary or click over to Wikipedia to learn more, let me just tell you that there isn’t really a third, black-sheep Bush twin, a punkish popstar who, according to her publicity, has been hidden away from the public--until now, when her father’s a “totally lame” duck and she can do whatever the hell she likes. Nonetheless, “Flora” (played by Karen Weinberg) isn’t a bad singer, and she’s got a Web site where you can check out her album, The Child Left Behind.
Flora’s lyrics combine post-teen angst with politics (“Get out of Iraq/And out of my bedroom ... Your credibility gap is twice as wide/As the generation gap between us”), and they lament her seclusion from both friends and prying paparazzi (“My dad holds elections every week/On whether or not to set me free/But Barb and Jenna always vote against me/And Daddy calls it democracy ... I’m all alone, like the USA/I’m on my own, like a right-wing gay”). There’s also a lot of pent-up pain expressed in these songs, most of it generated by Flora’s separation from a father who seems unable to level with her about anything under the sun (“I don’t desire a democratic Mideast/Or a voucher to redeem my reckless youth./I don’t require a social to secure me/I only want my Dad to tell the truth”). Listening to Flora (the creation of multimedia satirist Frank Lesser) can put a smile on your face, even on a day like this one, when Republican members of the U.S. House seem more concerned with limiting access to their private gymnasium than curbing the lobbying excesses that led to the Jack Abramoff influence-buying scandal.
Give it a listen, when you get a chance.
(Hat tip to State of the Day.)