THE BLOG
01/04/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Forget Naughty and Nice, This Year Santa's Got a Political Agenda

Did you think political partisanship had been momentarily stun-gunned by Barack Obama's outstretched arms? Just because Robert Gates gets to stay on?

No, no such thing when there are still plenty of opportunities to gloat or kick the departing Commander-in-Chief right in the Christmas tree on his way out the door.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, though the New York Sun, which first published that phrase in 1897, just went out of business for the second time. But he's loaded and spraying the holiday room with unseasonable politics.

The viral story of the week was about Seattle artist Deborah Lawrence. She was asked by her Congressman - all members of Congress were tapped for this by First Lady Laura Bush - to make an ornament for the White House Christmas tree. The rabidly anti-Bush activist made what the Washington Post Reliable Source blog called "a lefty political statement": she included in the design some miniature text applauding efforts to impeach George W. It was hung at 1600 Pennsylvania on the 18-plus foot fir from Crumpler, North Carolina, along with all the other balls submitted.

Ms. Lawrence said she was "convulsive" when she was first asked. "What could tempt you to cooperate with anything at the Bush White House?" Ms. Lawrence wrote in a diary of the events. "But when you're a cultural worker with a populist ax to grind, you must hold your nose and do your job." It must have been awkward making the thing with only one hand.

At first Mrs. Bush's press secretary said they wouldn't pull the ornament. "I would hope no one would take this as an opportunity to be divisive and partisan," said Sally McDonough. But the First Lady changed her mind, which is her prerogative. "We reviewed the ornament," Ms. McDonough said, "and Mrs. Bush deemed it inappropriate for the holiday tree."

Though it didn't make the tree, we can guess where the White House wanted Ms. Lawrence to put it. The suddenly-famous artist was in DC for a reception, along with the other artists, when she heard the bad news about her art work.

"I'd like to get it back, but that's probably not going to happen," she said, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. But then she added this, which the Post blog might have called radiGrinch if they'd thought about it: "I don't like Christmas."

Conservative commentators didn't even stop to notice that Xmas-bashing comment before opening up. Michelle Malkin, on her blog, said Ms. Lawrence and her impeachment ornament suffered from Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS), by which Ms. Malkin means crazy people who hate the current President.

Mr. and Mrs. Bush, in the meantime, have not sat idly by while this is going on. They themed the White House holiday this year as "A Red, White, and Blue Christmas", to distinguish it from, say, a red and white Canadian Christmas or a green, red, and white Mexican Christmas.


When did Christmas stop being a religious and retailer holiday?

Of course some San Franciscans cannot resist their own politicizing of the season. According to the San Francisco Citizen blog, the City's 79th annual tree-lighting ceremony set for tonight in Golden Gate Park will be "Obama-themed," complete with a miniature train underneath featuring "a huge Obama logo along with a few other Obama references."

If you're going, make sure you're stylish in a limited edition Obama-crested fleece jacket, as advertised on Wonkette.

Bill O'Reilly and Ms. Malkin take note. There's at least a day's worth of outrage over that.

Some people are in the true Christmas spirit, though, and not still embedded in partisan political snowdrifts.

In Augsburg, Germany, according to Australia's Courier Mail, citing AP, a priest found a real, live newborn baby boy in the nativity scene in his church's altar. Police later came across the mother who said she'd given up the infant because she was in "a difficult personal situation." She had named the boy "Christian."

The church is raising money to help her care for her new baby.

The story doesn't say if she'd come from Nebraska.


For more, read Bronstein at Large.