The Proper Role of a First Spouse?
by Michigoose, Wed Jun 18, 2008 at 02:21:58 PM EDT
This story here caught my attention today:
The particular part that raised my eyebrows was this statement from Michelle Obama:
"That's what I like about Laura Bush, her whole rational approach to these issues. I am taking some cues. There's a reason why people like her, because she doesn't sort of fuel the fire."
So the first question is: do people actually like Laura Bush? I've never had either a positive or negative opinion of her because she's been remarkably passive and invisible for a First Spouse. (The only real feeling I have for her is being sorry she's stuck being married to Dubya and that her girls occasionally seem to use Paris Hilton as a role model...)
The second question is: is this the role that Michelle Obama plans to take as First Spouse? To "not fuel the fire"? Somehow I can't really see her in the role of passive compliant wife. It certainly doesn't match what we've seen of her personality so far. And I personally would prefer for the First Spouse to take an active role and use that bully pulpit to get some good work done.
It's got me wondering why Michelle said this. Was it just another careless remark like the "proud of my country" one she's been trying to make people forget about? Sending Laura Bush a "thank you" note was gracious, but talking about it to the press was not -- especially talking about it before Laura Bush received it. It would have been much more gracious (and smarter) to let Laura Bush break it to the press, or have a surrogate mention, or (as the incomparable Judith Martin would say) not to mention that you sent it all, since it's supposed to be a private matter between you and Laura. And then Michelle talks about how good a First Spouse Laura Bush is because of how little she does? Sounds like a very ungracious backhanded compliment at best.
Barack -- if you want the media to "lay off" your wife, it might be best to encourage her not to talk to them. If she speaks out, she's fair game.
So what do you guys think? Do you like Laura Bush, and if so, is it because of her low profile? Do you think that's the proper role for a First Spouse? If so, do you think that's the role Michelle Obama intends to take? Should she be "taking cues" from Laura Bush?
My preference would be that she took her cues from the last Democratic First Spouse.
That would be Hillary Clinton.