New rule

You can't be a Washington outsider if you're already president.

Published March 14, 2004 12:16AM (EST)

Hearing President Bush these days constantly complain about "the politicians" and John Kerry being part of a "Washington mind-set," and saying things like "I got news for the Washington crowd" is like hearing Courtney Love bitch about junkies.

"Washington insider" is by definition a function of one's proximity to the president. That's you, Mr. Bush. You're ground zero. Ever wonder, sir, why everyone stands and they play music when you enter a room? When you're given check-writing privileges by the Federal Reserve, you just might be a Washington insider.

Lemme try to explain it to you in a different way: You're not "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" -- you're the Washington part. We need a Mr. Smith to mess with you. You're not on a mission you reluctantly accepted, like the old farts in "Space Cowboys." You campaigned for this job, and now you're doing it again.

And having been the Grand Poobah for three years, it's a little late to be selling yourself as some fish-out-of-water cowboy visiting the big city on assignment. You're not McCloud, you're the grandson of a senator and the son of a president and CIA director. For 15 of the last 22 years you've had a key to the White House. The last thing that happened in Washington without the Bushes getting a piece of it was Marion Barry's crack habit. "The Exorcist" happened in Georgetown, but Satan had to run it by Jim Baker first.

So knock off the regular-guy act -- and by the way, that also goes for John Forbes Kerry, the other white meat. Two Skull and Bones preppies, these guys are, from Nantucket and Kennebunkport, who use the word "summer" as a verb and probably had monogrammed beer bongs in college.

Please, John Kerry: Stop rolling up your sleeves at campaign rallies like you're about to man a register at Costco. You're a Boston Brahmin who married not one but two eccentric heiresses -- you're not Joe Sixpack, you're Claus von Bulow. I think your current wife is great, but hello, she inherited the Heinz fortune! She's the ketchup lady! -- which explains why sometimes he's gotta smack her on the bottom to get her to come.

Look, fellas, we've got almost eight months till the election. That's a long time to hold in your gut. To pretend you're something you're not. Let's just be real and admit that finally, and unfortunately, true class warfare has come to America.

Yale class of '66 vs. Yale class of '68.

By Bill Maher

Bill Maher is the host of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher."

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