Grinch-o-Meter ALERT!

The Washington Post's gossip girls are trashing President Bush again, this time featuring a liberal artist who was “nauseated” by an invitation to create an ornament for this year's official White House Christmas tree.

In their Reliable Source column, “Christmas Colors for the White House: Red, White and Impeach,” Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts doted on Seattle artist Deborah Lawrence for using the opportunity to “make a lefty political statement.” Lawrence, a collage artist, created an ornament honoring Washington U. S. Representative Jim McDermott (D), for supporting a resolution to impeach President Bush. 

The nine-inch red and silver ball features tiny text glued in a swirl pattern that “salutes” McDermott for the impeachment effort, pays tribute to Washington State's 1919 labor strike, its suffrage movement and the “violent anti-World Trade Organization riots of 1999.”

Upon learning her ornament was not rejected, Lawrence offered the gossip mavens a slam of the First Lady.

“Apparently they didn't read it – or Laura Bush is more progressive than I believed,” Lawrence told us.

This year, according to the Post, Mrs. Bush “asked members of Congress to pick local painters to decorate ornaments” for the official White House Christmas tree. McDermott reportedly contacted a local arts organization, which contacted Lawrence

Lawrence told Argetsinger and Roberts she was sickened by the invitation. 

"I was at first nauseated, then realized it was an opportunity," said Lawrence, 55, who frequently combines politics and satire in her work and saw this as the perfect way "to highlight Jim McDermott because he's a hero of mine."

To the credit of the Post's gossip queens, they did quote Mrs. Bush's press secretary, Sally McDonough. McDonough told the pair that despite Lawrence's theme, her artwork was not pulled, nor was her invitation to the White House for a luncheon honoring the artists. McDonough did offer some mild criticism:

“It really is too bad. I haven't seen the ornament, but I would hope that no one would take this as an opportunity to be divisive and partisan. There is a time and place for everything, and I don't think this is either.”

Freedom of artistic expression is a wonderful thing.  But McDonough is right.  There is a time and place for everything and political jabs at Christmas reek of Grinchiness.  So does prominently featuring such jabs under the guise of Beltway gossip.

Grinch-o-Meter ratings:  Deborah Lawrence: 9

                                      WaPo Reliable Source:  9

The Grinch-o-Meter is CMI's unique tool for rating efforts to secularize, diminish or tarnish the celebration of Christmas in America.

Kristen Fyfe is senior writer at the Culture and Media Institute.