'Girlie Men': The Unfair Sex?

"Girlie men": The phrase won roars of approval when Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger used it at the Republican National Convention, but is it an insult? Sean Bulson, the principal of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, thinks so, and he won't allow the school's young Republicans to wear it on their chests.

After 16-year-old Hanna Buckley proposed the slogan "Young Republicans Aren't Girlie Men" for her club last month, Bulson shot it down. Decrying what she considers censorship, Buckley -- the great-niece of William F. Buckley -- told us: "I didn't think it was offensive to anybody. It's just a quote from Arnold!" (At the convention, Schwarzenegger said, "To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: Don't be economic girlie men.")

Bulson, citing the school district's "human relations and nondiscrimination policies," said he didn't want to give the term an official blessing. "The slogan struck me as insensitive at best," he told us. "In one way it's anti-gay, and I'm certain I could find people who say it's anti-female. I know there are people here who would find this offensive."

Buckley, a junior, has no avenue for appeal but, like the Terminator, promises she'll be back: "I come from a very political family. I want to be a politician when I'm older."

Now, while we're on the topic, a history lesson. John Lofton, who handles communications for Constitution Party presidential candidate Michael Peroutka, says "womanish" was an oft-used political term among the Founding Fathers. Example: Alexander Hamilton's May 26, 1792, letter to a Col. Edward Carrington denouncing the foreign policy views of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison as "equally unsound, and dangerous." The letter referred to both men as having "a womanish attachment to, and a womanish resentment against Great Britain."

Bob Schieffer the Author, Looking for a Post-Debate Bounce in Sales

* When you're plugging a book, it's nice to have your own national show. CBS anchor Bob Schieffer was checking out Amazon.com ratings of his latest work, "Face the Nation: My Favorite Stories from the First 50 Years of the Award-Winning News Broadcast," when he discovered that it was somewhere under one-millionth place. Sunday he mentioned it on "Face the Nation," and the sales ranking soared to the 92,000s.

"I wonder what'll happen once I go on Imus," he excitedly told a book-party crowd that arrived via red carpet Sunday night at Georgetown's trendy Blue Gin. Fans included Dan Rather, Tim Russert and wife Maureen Orth, Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) and White House staffer Pam Stevens. When we checked yesterday post-Imus, the book had landed at the No. 239 spot. Imagine what might happen after the third presidential debate Oct. 13, which Schieffer is moderating.

This Date in Gossip

* 24 years ago: Washington chatters about the political future of three-term Rep. Robert E. Bauman (R-Md.), who, facing a charge of soliciting sex from a 16-year-old male nude dancer, agreed on Oct. 3, 1980, to enter a court-supervised rehab program for his drinking problem. FBI agents said they'd received numerous reports about Bauman, a conservative moralist, cruising in gay clubs in Washington, but at an Oct. 8 news conference, with his wife and his priest by his side, the 43-year-old politician said, "I do not consider myself to be a homosexual." He lost reelection in November and later became a gay rights advocate.


* Glad we cleared that up: In its November issue, Esquire magazine poses the question all of Washington demands an answer to: Is Dick Cheney a neoconservative? "No," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz tells the mag. "Cheney can't be a neocon. He isn't Jewish."

* The world-beating conservatives at the Weekly Standard proved their might by demolishing the combined forces of the New Republic and American Prospect during a weekend paintball competition, seven games to none. "We're generally against men crying in public," the Standard's Matt Labash told us yesterday. "But we understand why many of them did."

* Former White House anti-terrorism adviser Richard A. Clarke, who conquered the nonfiction bestseller list with "Against All Enemies," is writing a geopolitical thriller. "Fiction can often tell the truth better than nonfiction," he said in a statement issued yesterday by his publisher. The novel hasn't been titled yet, but its themes, as described by Putnam, sound mighty familiar: "terrorism, intelligence failures, weapons of mass destruction, bureaucratic infighting, personal and professional loyalties, courage, integrity and the clash of cultures."

* John Kerry has been up and down in the national polls, but he's showing a surge in the District, at least among ice cream consumers. The frozen confection wars began Sept. 1 at Jeff Tunks's three restaurants, where they are gauging who has earned the votes of Washingtonians. The contest: President Bush's favorite flavor, praline, vs. Kerry's white chocolate macadamia nut. The results: Kerry is crushing Bush at Ceiba with 188 to 61, outpacing him at D.C. Coast with 156 to 85 and edging him slightly at Ten Penh with 130 to 92, reports The Post's Juliet Eilperin. Numbers for Kerry improved after the first presidential debate, but Bush can still come back: The count ends Nov. 1.

With Anne Schroeder