John McCaslin

Given that President Bush and Democratic challenger Sen. John Kerry were both members of Yale's most secret society, Skull and Bones, author Alexandra Robbins, who wrote the 2002 book "Secrets of the Tomb," all but ducked inside the mysterious crypt for another look.

"I was surprised that Bones actually does have a sexual history ritual, but even more surprised that the recounting of one's sexual history is supposed to take one to three hours. I can't fathom how most Yale men come up with that much material," Robbins, a Yale graduate, writes in next month's Vanity Fair.

She describes powerful secrets kept to this day by Skull and Bones members, bizarre rituals within the tomb, a CIA link to the society and a roster of elite "bonesmen" dating from 1856 that includes not only Bush, but his father, former President George Bush.

Our current president felt the unmistakable "tap" on his shoulder to join the society in 1967, one of 15 Yale juniors chosen annually. Had Kerry of Massachusetts not been two years ahead of Bush, the two competing politicians might together have accomplished whatever it is bonesmen do behind walls.

"It's a secret," Kerry told Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press," eerily echoing Bush when he told the same interviewer: "It's so secret we can't talk about it."

And they don't care to be asked again.

"Despite political differences, most [bonesmen] view the upcoming election with a mixture of pride in the society and embarrassment at the increased scrutiny," writes Robbins. "As they see it, Bones will have a White House connection either way."

"It's a win-win situation," agrees one unnamed bonesman from the 1960s. "If there is a goddess, it looks like she is smiling on them both."


Senators and congressmen alike have RSVP'd for the fifth annual Baseball All Star Party at political pollster Frank Luntz's home - called "The Smithsonian McLean branch" because of its collection of history, politics and sports memorabilia.

Under Luntz's expansive roof, one finds perhaps the most valuable private newspaper collection in Washington, a ticket from every day of Bill Clinton's impeachment trial and the Playboy interview with Jimmy Carter.

Then there's a baseball that Luntz calls "New York's Finest," signed by former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, former baseball great Yogi Berra and New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre - signatures gathered by the pollster at Giuliani's wedding last year.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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