Why is Bush outsourcing his bulge?

By David Talbot
Published October 26, 2004 9:59PM (EDT)

Forget the firestorm over stolen Iraqi explosives. The Bush Bulge continues to be the real talk of Washington. Today the president tried to lay it to rest once and for all on ABC's "Good Morning America," by confessing, "I'm embarrassed to say it's a poorly tailored shirt." This was a new version of an earlier blame-the-tailor line of defense offered by the Bush-Cheney campaign, which pointed the finger at a suit coat malfunction. The problem with this explanation, of course, is that the presidential tailor in question turned out to be French -- a man with the classically Gallic moniker, Georges de Paris. And that instantly raised a troubling question in red-state America: What the hell is red-blooded George W. Bush doing outsourcing his tailoring needs to some Frenchy named de Paris? Especially since de Paris' tony salon is obviously less skilled at producing a smooth-fitting jacket -- or shirt -- than any off-the-rack designer at Bloomingdale's? The headache for the White House only got bigger when the Hill ran a photo of de Paris, who was revealed to be an eccentric-looking gnome of a fellow, with a shocking white cascade of curls that put one immediately in mind of, well, a French poodle. A miniature one. Unless the president enjoys being made to look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame (written by another Frenchman) by incompetent -- or perhaps malicious -- poodle-maned tailors, it's time for Bush to start shopping at no frills, all-American Men's Wearhouse.

David Talbot

David Talbot, the founder of Salon, is the author of New York Times bestsellers like "Brothers," "The Devil's Chessboard," and "Season of the Witch." His most recent book is "Between Heaven and Hell: The Story of My Stroke."

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