- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2002

OK. Can we just take a Valentine's Day moment to talk about how sexy the president is? No, not the last one. This one. It feels frivolous and inappropriate to be saying this, but that's the point. Such talk should seem frivolous and inappropriate when one is talking about the leader of the free world. It's a sign that we have an actual executive in the White House.

I know what you're thinking: Mr. Bush? Dubya? Even he doesn't think he's sexy. Ladies, I know this isn't the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of George W. But that's just it. He's not interested. And that's attractive. They say a woman's sex appeal should be quiet and subtle. So ought a president's, assuming it should be there at all.

Unlike Mr. Clinton, who was sexy coming into office, George W. became sexy while in office. His appeal comes from doing his job well his mind on the business at hand, and not his hand on someone's business.

When the first lurid details of the Lewinsky affair emerged, and we heard about the infamous Bosnia phone call, a female friend of mine said she thought it was "kind of cool." But it's not interesting if a man is all about sex to begin with, the way Bill Clinton was. Because then scandal becomes redundant. In Mr. Bush's case, talk of sex seems scandalous. Just the way you would want it to be with an American president and the leader of the free world. With Mr. Clinton, it would be a surprise and scandal if there were no sex. The difference is that you don't want to trivialize Mr. Bush's serious presidency, whereas Mr. Clinton's trivial presidency made this kind of talk serious.

Bill Clinton's sex appeal was obvious and cheap. One look at the swagger, the silvery hair and the slick baby blues, and nothing was left to the imagination. In contrast to Mr. Bush's no-nonsense presidential stature, when I first laid eyes on William Jefferson Clinton in 1992, I didn't know whether to laugh or get my datebook out. (Although I can't really be attracted to a man who doesn't understand foreign policy.) But with Mr. Bush, sex is beside the point. Looking upon him, one sees the demeanor of a president, not a movie star. Whereas this president doesn't make room in his schedule for sexcapades, the last one's schedule was sexcapades. Mr. Clinton became a president for the reasons one becomes a rock star. (For the chicks, man.) To his fans, he was the antidote to the presidency. He was the un-president.

But these fans have a habit of mistaking style and charm for competence and intelligence. So what's wrong if I take competence and intelligence for style and charm?

Here is a man who projects strength rather than faux compassion. A protector-president is much more attractive than a social worker-president a man who instead of feeling your pain, is able to prevent it. Men like George W. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld are bringing out women's feminine sides. (Although Mr. Rumsfeld doesn't like movies, so he wouldn't make as good a date on Valentine's Day as Mr. Bush would.) Because these are not men for whom sex is a priority. Safety and security are the priority. In fact, meeting Mr. Bush and thinking sex should make a woman feel like a bimbo, which contrasts greatly with meeting Mr. Clinton and feeling like a prospect.

So I offer this Valentine to George W. Bush. In return, he is planning to deliver to me and to all the girls something a lot better than flowers, candy or dinner: Saddam on a platter.

Julia Gorin is a writer living in New York.

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