[Originally published in Vp issue 9 interview by Jill Sobule (2005)]
I have been the subject of many an interview. Some are a joy and others are like death itself: “Who were your biggest influences?” “Why aren’t you more famous?” And the worst: “What’s your favorite color?” So when Velvetpark asked me to interview Laura Flanders, I was honored, excited, and really scared. Could I do it? Laura Flanders was intimidating to me. She is way smart, funny, and has this incredibly sexy accent. Her book, “Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species,” has been on my bedstand for a couple of months so at least I sort of knew my subject (plus I Googled her a lot).
You open the book with "honorary Bushwoman" Katherine Harris—"George Bush might have never snagged the White House if one woman had been laughed at less." Did the media and our focus on her scary make-up cover the fact that she was a crook for Bush? We didn't take her seriously.
I think we all fell into it in one way or another. Everybody was making the same jokes and, frankly, so was I. I didn't eralize how much there really was already on record about this woman's crimes and tendencies to lie and deceive, and I felt guilty. And at the time, I did write something saying I'm sure there's something more to this than what everyone is saying. But I never did the research until I did the book.
Isn't it similar to our obsession with Condoleezza's Emma Peel boots on her last trip to Europe?
Yes, the whole "Matrix" look. We wouldn't have been laughing so hard if it had been Colin Powell or Donald Rumsfeld. Plus they wouldn't have looked as good.
So do he Bush women really have power?
I think they do, to differing degrees. I think that Gail Norton really has power. At the Department of the Interior she's in her element and she's a terrible person. She's good for the photo-op distraction and she's clearly aware of that when she poses with endangered species perched on her arm. She's had a lifetime goal to get rid of the environmental protection legislation of the 1970s. Karen Hughes, I think, has a lot of power. Elaine Cho is, I think, more of a tool.
You mentioned that, in the old days, there was something more honest and nostalgic about anti-feminists like Phyllis Schlafly,