Discussing the ongoing drama surrounding Senator Arlen Specter's (R-PA) possible chairmanship of the Senate Judiciary Committee on the November 17 edition of FOX News Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume, Washington Post staff writer and FOX News Channel contributor Jeffrey H. Birnbaum joked about Specter's efforts to shore up support in the Republican caucus. "I think he's going to have to, as they say about [former Vice President] Al Gore, put his manhood in blind trust when it comes to some of these issues [on which Specter differs with more conservative Republicans] in order to get what he's wanted his whole career, which is to become the chairman of this committee," Birnbaum said.
In fact, it was former President George H.W. Bush, not Gore, who was the target of the "manhood in a blind trust" line in the comic strip Doonesbury. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau created a series of strips in 1984 mocking Bush's willingness, as Ronald Reagan's vice president, to subordinate his personal views to Reagan administration policy:
These strips made such a stir at the time that Jeb Bush warned Trudeau to "walk softly" during a brief encounter at the 1988 Republican National Convention, according to Trudeau's recollections in the December 3, 2002, edition of The Miami Herald.
President George W. Bush also confronted Trudeau over the 1984 strips during the 1992 presidential campaign. The Dallas Morning News reported in a November 21, 1994, article:
Mr. Bush recalls being a "fearsome warrior" for his father during the 1992 presidential campaign. "I care for that man more than anything," he says. "When (Doonesbury cartoonist) Garry Trudeau questioned his (the elder Bush's) manhood, I didn't like it. I didn't like it at all. And I made it absolutely clear to Mr. Trudeau, who was two years behind me at Yale University. And if he didn't like me telling him that, I didn't care."