Tuesday, June 05, 2007

First Lady Firsts

Joe Scarborough’s verbal leer at Mrs. Fred Thompson on Imus’ old show not only upholds its tradition of moronic macho but raises broader questions about candidates’ wives in this curious, crowded campaign.

Hillary Clinton is not only the first woman with a chance of being elected President, she is also the first former First Lady. Her qualifications include sleeping in the White House with one of the men she hopes to succeed before embarking on her own political career.

In that light, the traditional First Lady who pours tea, stares admiringly and says little (as Laura Bush does) is not the only model for that role and, in fact, hasn’t been for some time, going back to Edith Wilson, who during her husband’s illness was called “the Secret President,” to Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford and Nancy Reagan.

None of the other potential ’08 spouses could have inspired a stripper-club question like Scarborough’s “Do you think she works the pole?”--with the possible exception of the young and beautiful Mrs. Denis Kucinich. But in various ways, some have already been drawn into the campaign.

The recurrence of Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer and the couple’s response to it made news in March.

Then America’s Mayor told Barbara Walters he was “very comfortable” with the idea of having the third Mrs. Giuliani attend cabinet meetings and then a day later reversed himself to say maybe not.

Last month, Michelle Obama quit her executive position to help with her husband’s campaign, a natural move that, for some reason, was considered big news.

On 60 Minutes, the ever-lucid Mitt Romney, asked if he and his wife, as Mormons, had had pre-marital sex, answered, "No, I'm sorry. We don’t get into those things. The answer is no."

Even Imus would have hesitated to ask that question, but Mike Wallace did. So who knows what’s next for the candidates’ wives and, if Hillary makes it, what will they be asking about Bill?


Fran / Blue Gal said...

Congrats on the C&L link. The idea of the third Mrs. Giuliani at a cabinet meeting...oops there went breakfast.

But Mrs. Kucinich is both brilliant and a babe and would breathe much needed fresh air into the living quarters at 1600. Can you imagine how stifling it must be there these days?

Marc McDonald said...

First Ladies are under the microscope...that is, with the exception of Laura Bush.

Few people know that, in 1963, she ran a stop sign in broad daylight in Midland, Texas, and smashed her car into another car, killing the occupant. Amazingly, no charges of any kind were ever filed against her.

I'm astonished at how many people I've talked to over the years who've never ever heard this story.

Can you imagine the media uproar that would occur if it was discovered that Hillary was involved in something like this years ago?

Fox News and HateWing radio would be in a frenzy and would be constantly speculating, "What she drinking at the time?" "Was she smoking dope?" etc.

Marc McDonald