Michelle Cottle

Barack Star
February 05, 2007

This is going to be So Much Fun. Say what you will about the downsides of a Hillary Clinton v. BarackObama smack-down; it has already delivered a shot of adrenaline tothe oh-so-jaded journalists who cover--and shape--the presidentialelection season. Case in point: Last Wednesday, almost by accident, I found myselfwith a front-row seat for Hillary's press conference about herrecent jaunt to Iraq/ Afghanistan/Pakistan with Indiana SenatorEvan Bayh and New York Representative John McHugh. The Senate TVstudio was a zoo.

Sleeper candidate.; Bayh Low
December 25, 2006

Eschewing the more exotic lunch offerings of the Senate Dining Room,Senator Evan Bayh boldly orders the short ribs with a side ofmacaroni and cheese. "That's what happens when you've goteleven-year-old boys: You get addicted to mac and cheese," heproffers with a self-deprecating smile. From where I sit, thesenator's choice needs no explanation: comforting, unpretentious,mild, quintessentially Middle American, and, yes, more than alittle cheesy. The Indiana Democrat and I have met to discuss his not-yet-officialrun for the White House: qualifications, priorities, vision,message.

Daddy Dearest
October 30, 2006

Most parents feel a twinge of anxiety at the thought of leaving their teenagers unsupervised for any length of time. It’s not that the kids are bad; it’s just that, set free from parental oversight, the urge to run wild can prove irresistible. The 1983 Tom Cruise hit Risky Business provided a worst- case template for how quickly things can spiral out of control: One minute, your super-responsible son is lip-synching Bob Seger tunes in his underpants.

George Allen's nightmare.
September 11, 2006

The Senate candidate looks awkward --even shy--as a plumpish, middle- age woman crosses the dimly lit rec room filled with members of the Arlington, Virginia, Kiwanis Club to shake his hand. With firm efficiency, Democratic nominee Jim Webb grips the proffered appendage, gives a slight nod, then swiftly retreats into his personal space--until another well-wisher steps forward, necessitating a similar interaction. Grip, nod, retreat. Grip, nod, retreat.

Arm candy, Beltway-style.
August 07, 2006

The stylist has just finished applying the color to Jeannemarie Devolites Davis's hair, and now the Virginia state senator, who also happens to be the wife of Representative Tom Davis, has 20 minutes of enforced stillness in which to chat on her cell phone. Twenty minutes. That's 1,200 seconds during which the Fairfax County legislator cannot be dashing between Rotary Club luncheons, Chamber of Commerce receptions, and the endless constituent-service functions and fund-raisers that threaten to suck up her every waking moment.

The right's bedtime monster.
July 03, 2006

Some days, modern parenthood feels like an ever-expanding spiral of anxiety. Is your child watching too much "Wiggles"? Will she be seduced by an Internet predator? Will video games inspire him to shoot up his preschool? As if this situation weren't stressful enough, Eric Jackson, chairman and co- founder of World Ahead Publishing, wants conservative parents to contemplate one more nightmarish scenario: What if, God forbid, your indescribably precious offspring grows up to become ...

May 22, 2006

As both my husband and I scrambled to meet work deadlines last week--while simultaneously juggling multiple doctors' appointments and assuring our daughter's day care teachers that, yes, one of us would still be able to watch the class for an hour during the monthly staff meeting--it once again struck me: What most modern marriages really need is an extra wife. I've been thinking about this a lot lately in response to all the buzz surrounding HBO's new polygamy-themed hit, "Big Love." Conservatives have taken to brandishing the show as Exhibit A in the fight against gay marriage.

The Gray Lady Wears Prada
April 17, 2006

The newspaper of record is always ready for its closeup.

The New York Times and lifestyle porn.
April 17, 2006

Praise Jesus and pass the chinchilla, fur is hot again. For the last several years, the skinned-animal taboo has been receding, and now, with Beyonce sporting the look and Neiman Marcus hawking fur scrunchies, everyone is panting after fashion's ultimate luxury symbol. Muffs, socks, mittens, wraps-- you name the accoutrement, it can be upgraded with a touch of mink. Or, better yet, sable. When contemplating an expenditure of this financial and spiritual magnitude, however, it is important not to go off half-cocked, rummaging through the racks at any old department store.

Condi for president.
October 31, 2005

Crystal Dueker vividly recalls the moment she was bitten by the Condi bug. "I was at the Republican convention in New York, where I was one of the alternates," the 50-year-old office manager recounts in her made-to-charm North Dakota accent. "We were probably a hundred feet away from Father Bush's box, where Barbara and the daughters were sitting.