Yee Haw! The Codpiece is back with a vengeance! And guess who can’t keep his grubby little hands away from it. You guessed it: Joe Klein.

Via  John Amato:

"I was up there in the cockpit of that airplane coming into Baghdad," the President told the press corps assembled on the White House lawn after his dash into and out of the war zone last week. "It was an unbelievable, unbelievable feeling." In fact, George W. Bush’s body language—let’s call it the full jaunty—was reminiscent of his last, infamous cockpit trip, onto the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in May 2003 to announce the "end" of major combat operations in Iraq, beneath a mission accomplished sign. His public language is more cautious than it used to be, but he seemed downright frothy in a private session with the congressional leadership after his press conference.

He called the new Iraqi Defense Minister an "interesting cat" and Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, the deceased al-Qaeda leader, "a dangerous dude." Bush had reason, finally, to strut. The al-Zarqawi raid had netted valuable intelligence data that were enabling U.S. and Iraqi forces to roll up al-Qaeda cells—the best haul since the capture of Saddam Hussein, which made it possible for U.S. forces to disable much of the dictator’s inner circle in early 2004. What’s more, the first elected Iraqi government was finally fully in place. Back home, Karl Rove was officially unindicted in the CIA leak case, and the Democrats were busy being Democrats-divided, defensive and confused about the war, with Bush’s favorite punching bag, Senator John Kerry, leading the charge..

That’s right. Bush is stuck in the mid-30′s, his brain narrowly escaped indictment and he had to mount the most top secret trip since Kissinger went to China (someone left the cakewalk in the rain) yet Klein is drooling and panting over the president’s pants again, getting all hot and bothered when the frat-boy in chief calls the Iraq defense Minister an "interesting cat" and al-Zarqawi a "dangerous dude." Why it’s almost as if Joe got invited to a kegger with the BMOC’s and got to hang with them and "rap" all night about "chicks" (or "dangerous dudes", whatever.)

Perhaps someone can explain to me the strange male attraction to George W. Bush. I have never encountered anything quite like it. From day one, DC nerds like Klein have had massive man-crushes on Junior, describing him as "loose-hipped" and "swaggering" and showing all manner of strange obsession with his masculine body language. Klein seems to barely be able to contain his squeal as he writes about Bush’s "strut" and his "full jaunty"  (which sounds suspiciously like "full monty" — giving full rise, as it were, to speculation about what Klein was thinking about when he came up with it.) But, can someone please tell me what in the hell he’s talking about when says that Bush was "downright frothy?" What in god’s name was Klein doing while he wrote this column? (Don’t go there…)

Seriously, this has been a huge problem since the beginning of the Bush administration. And it tracks quite handily with the opposite reactions among the chattering geeks during the Clinton years. Bubba was female friendly (if you know what I mean) and was the object of a great deal of derisive coverage for his tomcat vibe by the priggish DC press. What worked in his favor out in the country — his smarts ‘n sexual charisma — made the Washington media squirm like a bunch of little old ladies caught by accident at a Marilyn Manson concert. And then along came the codpiece and they all fell in love. Wassup with that?

On the substance of Klein’s column, such as it is, after he extolls the vitues of Bush’s manly manliness for two paragraphs he points out that his policies are all wrong and that Karl Rove is a lying sack of manure — but that Democrats are icky so we need to stay the course. John Kerry says we should leave by the end of the year and that’s crazy Democratic defeatist talk. Hawkish, man’s man Klein, on the other hand, thinks we shouldn’t get out for another six months. You do the math.

It’s a typically shallow analysis that could have been written in his sleep, but the first two paragraphs are carefully crafted observations of the president’s confidence, demeanor and manly assurance. (How many people can manage to get past the first paragraph of any Joe Klein column, do you think?) It’s  the image of Bush as some sort of cowboy hero that kept him propped up for so long (if you’ll excuse the expression) and which the press corps has been dying to get another lingering look at. They love their man when he’s all sweaty and swaggering. Preferably in a tight jumpsuit.

 But this will do too.

Joe’s screensaver:

Pay no attention to the transmitter on his back.