Monday, June 23, 2008
Leave out the wives....
Susan Estrich, political columnist, had the right idea when she posted:
"A majority of Americans are clearly eager to see a new man at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but I'd be surprised if the numbers were even close in terms of replacing the first lady. George Bush may have worn out his welcome, but Laura Bush continues to show the tact, decency and good judgment that have made her a popular and rarely criticized first lady. Michelle Obama, guest hosting on "The View," said she was "touched" by the first lady's defense of her and was taking some "cues" from the current inhabitant of the White House on how to succeed in the role she hopes to assume. Cindy McCain would do well to follow Laura Bush's lead, as well.
Michelle Obama gave ammunition to her husband's opponents with her comments at that rally in Wisconsin. But they need to think twice before they use it. Turning the wives into the issue in this campaign is a strategy that will leave everyone covered with mud for no good reason.
We have been to this movie before. In 1992, Hillary Clinton, then in headbands, was the object of more criticism than her husband. From her looks to her law practice to her loyalty to her husband, the former first lady had a bull's-eye on her back, made worse, of course, by her version of the patriotism comments: the explanation that she could have stayed home baking chocolate chip cookies all day but chose to practice law instead, which led to questions about possible conflicts of interest, given that her husband was the governor of the state. At the time, Hillary described herself as a "transitional figure," but it is easy to see Michelle Obama as Hillary without the headband, the strong, powerful, well-educated and ambitious wife of the candidate who some people, at least, find more threatening and less likable than they do the candidate himself. At the end of the day, the point is: So what? People don't vote for vice president, and they don't vote for first lady. If they did, Gerald Ford couldn't have lost, and Ronald Reagan couldn't have won. If the '92 election had been a referendum on who should be first lady instead of who should be president, Barbara Bush would have won it for her team in a walk."
Enough about Cindy and Michelle, and I really don't give a damn about the black and white dress. Let's talk issues. (PS, I would've voted for Betty Ford, Barbara Bush, Liddy Dole, Elizabeth Edwards or Laura. Funny, they all seemed worthy of trust. Tipper left me cold. Teresa Heinz? (nee Kerry)... PULEEZE. -- but all that is machts nichts. How good your 1st Spouse is does not carve you a place in history.)