Michelle Obama's Front Page Move

On Thursday, well timed for Mother's Day, 43-year-old Michelle Obama announced her decision to leave her job as vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. The Washington Post ran the news as a front page article, Michelle Obama's Career Timeout; many other news organizations gave the story similar prominence.

Michelle Obama went to Princeton and Harvard Law School, and devoted decades of hard work to building a successful, lucrative career. She has two daughters, now 8 and 5, and has shown she has the drive and temerity to juggle motherhood and demanding full-time executive responsibilities along with supporting her spouse's political career. I'm sure it's big news to her that she's leaving the "high paying position in a successful corporation" (her words, according to The Post) she worked her life to achieve. Her next job may be First Lady if her husband, Democratic hopeful Barack Obama, wins the 2008 presidential election.

But it stuns me that Ms. Obama's decision to quit her job is front page, national news. The spotlight shined on the work status of first ladies -- actual and potential -- seems to mirror Americans' obsession with working and stay-at-home motherhood. Hillary Clinton was criticized for being a spouse who was independent -- economically and intellectually. Laura Bush is praised for being a dependent, always-smiling wife and mother despite the troubles her daughters and husband get into. Is Laura Bush criticized less frequently because she's a non-working mom? Did HIllary get attacked because she made no attempt to hide that she was as smart, successful and ambitious as her husband?

Was Michelle Obama's decision to leave her job timed to boost public relations for her husband's campaign? It's a logical move, since she can play a valuable, visable role in her husband's presidential campaign. But why -- in a time when the "corporate wife" role seems obsolete -- is front-page attention paid to the employment status of candidates' wives?

Are Americans threatened by working wives? Reassured by traditional ones? What is your vote here?

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  May 14, 2007; 7:10 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
Previous: What Do You Want for Mother's Day? | Next: Care for the Caregiver


Add On Balance to Your Site
Keep up with the latest installments of On Balance with an easy-to-use widget. It's simple to add to your Web site, and it will update every time there's a new entry to On Balance.
Get This Widget >>


Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



first!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 7:20 AM

Perhaps it is the position that a candidate's spouse holds as opposed to the fact that they work. If a working spouse of a candidate was a police officer or a nurse there would most likely not be a problem. With someone in a position of CEO or VP there could always be a chance of a perceived impropriety due to the spouses political position. Plus the time that must be contributed to a campaign is like a full time job in itself.
That being said, you also don't see many spouses of candidates who have the "working class" jobs as it takes a lot of money to run a campaign - nurses and police officers don't have a lot of money and usually don't marry money.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 14, 2007 7:24 AM

I wonder how long it will take before this discussion becomes a political argument...

Posted by: John L | May 14, 2007 7:26 AM

It is a shame that we as a society are so ridiculous about the president's (or candidate's) wife. It is true that if you're a Laura Bush type--no career, quiet, keep to yourself type, you stay out of trouble. If you're independent and have an opinion, then you're somehow dispicable. Hillary Clinton was severely criticized and continues to be because she had the audacity to be a woman, smart and to use her position to express herself. Why was that so bad? All kinds of people in the spotlight express their opinions in the media without much comment.

And sorry John L., but it may be a political thing. Even though George I's wife Barbara was a stay at home type, she used her position as first lady to express her opinions and was not criticized (at least very much). She was in fact beloved. It's because the opposition (Democrats) are not the mean, nasty anti-woman types that the right wing types are. So she got a free pass. Sorry but that is reality. If Hillary was a republican, she would have been seen as a smart upstanding woman and better liked.

I actually feel sorry for Michelle Obama. I'm sure she feels pressured to quit her career. And I wouldn't put it past her campaign to do this to improve public opinion. We as a society are intensely sexist and we like are women subserviant to their husbands.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 7:38 AM

Gee, I wonder where this discussion will lead today?

Posted by: moxiemom | May 14, 2007 7:39 AM

I think it's clear that in America we've come to expect the two parent household and women are clearly in the workforce. But when you note that women's work is still not valued as highly as men's work in real dollars, and then take into account the backlash against strong working political figures like Hillary Clinton and the backlash against the strength the 41st First Lady Bush endured you could see why Mrs. Obama made her decision.

Being smart and funny and articulate is wonderful, if you're a smart, funny, and articulate woman working to furthur her husband and family. Following your own ambitions comes at a political price.

Posted by: Kari | May 14, 2007 7:45 AM

Personally, I'd like Michelle Obama to be First Lady in 2008, but politics is pressure, even for political families. It's no surprise that she has left her job. I'm certain she'll be a benefit to her husband in the campaign. Even so, she will have a high profile, and I doubt this will damage her career. By the way, I don't equate being outspoken with being "strong". A leader doesn't simply give orders; a leader is defined by who will follow based on personality, character and principles. Hillary Clinton is not "strong" by that measure. Hillary is a divider, not a uniter. I'm sick and tired of dividers. That's reason enough to support Obama. I couldn't vote for Hillary Clinton at gunpoint.

Posted by: CommonSense | May 14, 2007 7:50 AM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 7:57 AM

Forget politics, lets talk about more important topics, like shoes and hair!

Posted by: honkeytonk cat | May 14, 2007 8:02 AM

Kari--you are exactly right and it is a shame that this is the case in 2007

And "Common Sense"--how specifically is Hillary Clinton a divider? I believe that it was right wing backlash against a smart woman with ambition. She has turned out to be a terrific Senator (very high approval ratings in the State she represents) so be very specific or your rant seems politically motivated and sexist.

Posted by: working mother | May 14, 2007 8:03 AM

Michelle and her husband shold keep their day jobs. They are going to need them!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 8:03 AM

Honkeytonk cat--too funny.
And you're right--people are uncomfortable with the fact that many of us cannot discuss "politic issues" seriously.

So let's send women back--barefoot and pregnant!!!! You pretty things shouldn't bother yourselves with such things....

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 8:06 AM

$316,000 to be in charge of community relations for a hospital? What kind of a job is that? Do you need a Harvard Law degree for that? Where do I sign up?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 8:06 AM

I think she made a choice (not a sacrifice) based on what she felt was best for her family. Agreed, it is a shame that had to make front page news. Makes you wonder who is really fueling these debates, us or the press?

If anyone is threatened by working wives (and you didn't say "moms"), then they don't realize that even with all the women working we're still headed for a labor shortage.

I think anyone who criticizes others is looking for rationalization of their own life decisions that perhaps they are not comfortable with. There is more than one way to raise a child and support a spouse.

Posted by: ParentPreneur | May 14, 2007 8:12 AM

anon at 7:38, that was my point.

There won't be any discussions about the issues (such as they are) that Leslie brought up. The discussion here will be about the political spin the two major parties put on the wives' roles in their husbands' attempts to become President.

Personally, I don't care what a spouse may or may not do should they end up in the White House. I DO care what the candidate would do, however, but the spouse isn't an elected official and shouldn't have a say in what becomes official policy.

Posted by: John L | May 14, 2007 8:14 AM

"Is Laura Bush criticized less frequently because she's a non-working mom?"

"Is Laura Bush criticized less frequently because she's a non-working mom?"

No she is not. I just did a paper on this subject for one of my classes. She is criticized in a different way. For example, Heinz Kerry's remark about her never having a real job was very rude and speaks to how some people feel about the work that SAHM do. I don't think that people are reassured by Laura Bush's SAHM value. I think they like her because she is calm, caring and always keeps her cool as opposed to being loud, domineering, and over exaggerated. She can speak about issues without making them sound like a life or death issue and without making a person think if they don't believe her way, they are wrong. I feel that Elizabeth Edwards is sort of in the middle. She says what she thinks, but isn't all in your face about it. I like that. I only know what I read last week about Michelle Obama.

Posted by: scarry | May 14, 2007 8:21 AM

The "Corporate Wife" is not obsolete, just go to a cocktail party or event in the financial industry, or any industry where there is a lot of money.

Posted by: Navybrat | May 14, 2007 8:22 AM

Kari, I agree with you too. The day I read about the aspiring first husband quitting his job to support his aspiring president wife will be a great day.

I think the media report on this type of stuff because our country is very partisan, and news like this is potential fodder for either side. The media thrive on controversy. Issues like these evoke strong emotions, and people want to read about it.

Posted by: Meesh | May 14, 2007 8:26 AM

Not even sure where to begin with this--Mrs. Clinton was criticized more than Mrs. Bush because she needs some work on her people skills. She is a shrill, in your face, I'm a competent woman kind of person. As in all things, showing is often better than screaming from the rooftops. Show me you are competent by doing something rather than spend your time telling me you are. Also, Mrs. Clinton tried to assume a role she was not elected to--last I checked we didn't elect co-presidents and her decision to try to be one is what got her criticized. Mrs. Bush didn't do that.

As for Mrs. Obama quitting her job. Families make choices together--this was a choice. It would certainly be front page news if President Clinton decided to stop all his other work to campaign for his wife...

The comment that you are surprised that it is front page news, surprises me. Women have spent a great deal of time and energy trying to get people to recognize their sacrifices and choices...and now that they are it seems that for them to notice is a bad thing, that it is making hey out of something that wouldn't be a big deal if a man did it.

I swear it is as if no one can win...you don't notice and your insensitive, you notice and it's because you don't look at women as equals...

Michelle Obama quit her job. Big hairy deal...again, families make choices.

and before my politics is attacked ,
I'm a Democrat, I voted for
Bill Clinton and against George Bush and I don't like Hillary and no, it isn't because I am a self-loathing woman--I just don't care for her elitist attitude and how she thinks she knows better how to raise my children. She only had one and probably a slew of nannies so what the heck does she know about my life? Nothing...

Posted by: Chris 1458 | May 14, 2007 8:31 AM

Meesh, while Bill Clinton didn't have to quit his job he is out there raising all kinds of money for Hillary. I read one article where women at a gym in NY paid 2,500 dollars just to sit on an exercise bike and listen to him talk.

Posted by: scarry | May 14, 2007 8:33 AM

Ha, Ha! Scarry writing a "paper" for a class! Is she still in high school? What a hoot!

"I don't think that people are reassured by Laura Bush's SAHM value. I think they like her because she is calm, caring and always keeps her cool"

Right, Scarry! Most people on meds are calm and keep their cool. What did you use for your research? Wikipedia?

Posted by: Pyewackett | May 14, 2007 8:34 AM

Obama sounds too much like 'Osama' to me. Every time I see that name on a headline I cringe. He and his wife are not getting my vote.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 8:45 AM

I think Michelle Obama will have no trouble getting back into the job market once her husband loses the election. It was reasonable for her to quit because of the amount of time campaigning takes and the spouses are supposed to accompany the candidate. But I think she is actually a liability to Obama because she is an in-your-face type, and frankly many Americans can't handle in-your-face women (such as Hilary Clinton). I personally have no problem with it, but many people do. We as a society still have problems with strong women, unfortunately.

But in Michelle's particular case, I predict she will be a problem for her husband, not so much because of her work status, but because of her personality. In an interview I saw with Michelle, she was very abrasive, claiming her husband is a regular black man who could be shot on the way to the gas station. OK, true, but so could anyone, and what does that have to do with the election besides being an attempt to make Obama look more "black"? I thought her comments were offensive and she will say more ridiculous things to hurt her husband.

Posted by: MDMom | May 14, 2007 8:51 AM

We were talking about this at our family Mother's Day get-together. My sister, who graduated from an Ivy League school, is the ONLY ONE (out of a very large circle of friends) who works now. It has been 15 years since she graduated. All her friends have at least one child and most have 2 or 3, and not a single one works for pay. She said she has figured out it's because they're married to high-powered types (lawyers trying to make partner, partners who are making money, Wall Street types, etc.), and that there's no way both people can work when the professional demands for one are so extreme. So it would seem with the Obamas. If she didn't quit her job, their children would suffer. I don't see how she has a choice. I'm not saying it's fair. I'm saying it's reality.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 14, 2007 8:51 AM

Scarry, I've also heard that he is raising lots of money for her. Good for him! I had a friend whose mom ran for local office. My friend's dad did lots of campaigning for her and helped raise money too. But he didn't quit his job either.

And 8:45, I had an inkling that some people would feel that way. It makes me cringe to imagine ignorant SOBs like you voting.

Posted by: Meesh | May 14, 2007 8:52 AM

I find it interesting that, even though today's editorial says that from now on anyone posting to the WaPo's discussion blogs must use a name and that it will show up on their comments, there are several anonymous posts here still.

So much for transparency!

Posted by: John L | May 14, 2007 9:03 AM

I'd love to have Bill Clinton's job; get paid thousands of dollars to go and speak to groups for 15 minutes, and the rest of the time just hang out whereever.

I'm looking forward to seeing how he takes being the first "First Husband" in the White House, especially when he used to have the main job there!

Posted by: John L | May 14, 2007 9:06 AM

Even I have limits on equal breadwinning! I don't think it is unreasonable for a woman (or man) to quit his/her job to assist a spouse's run for the Presidency. This type of situation is at the margins of the bell-shaped curve, and not well-suited to equal sharing lifestyles.

I also agree with other posters that Michele will likely find it relatively easy to resume her career later (unlike some others who have resume gaps).

Posted by: equal | May 14, 2007 9:09 AM

John L

"I find it interesting that, even though today's editorial says that from now on anyone posting to the WaPo's discussion blogs must use a name and that it will show up on their comments, there are several anonymous posts here still.

So much for transparency!"

I agree! The poster's name is soo important!

Posted by: gutless coward | May 14, 2007 9:09 AM

Wow, anonymous at 8:45 AM, you're not bigoted or anything, are you? Discriminating against someone simply because you don't like their name? Pathetic.

Anyway, Leslie, I think you're pretty much right. We, as American society, want a first lady who falls into a much more 19th century tradition. They serve a couple of important functions: nice arm candy, decorator of the White House, visitor for children's hospitals, etc. We don't want a First Lady who speaks her mind -- or even has a mind. We want demure, we want submissive, we want "devoted wife and mother of two". And that's it -- no more than that.

It's truly unfortunate, but much of the American people want that even if they don't actually lead their lives that way.

Posted by: Ryan | May 14, 2007 9:13 AM

Seriously, the only reason she quit is because running for President requires a team, including spouse. The spouse, whether male or female, has to be out there campaigning just as much as the candidate, if not more. Bill, Michelle, or Elizabeth, it doesn't matter. The spouse has to be so involved with the campaign that a job is jettisoned.

Posted by: dotted | May 14, 2007 9:13 AM

I'm a dem, but Laura Bush DID have a career. She was a teacher for a number of years, as far as I can remember. That's why her pet causes almost always have to do with children, reading and education.

As for 8:45, completely ignorant not to vote for someone because of their name. If you don't agree with their politics, that's fine, but for something so unreasonable as his name. It just doesn't make any sense.

Posted by: Beth | May 14, 2007 9:14 AM

Obama sounds too much like 'Osama' to me. Every time I see that name on a headline I cringe. He and his wife are not getting my vote.

Git er dun!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 9:16 AM

Ah, but Beth, would you have referred to Laura Bush's "pet causes" as such if she were a Hillary-type? Or would they have been lumped into an "agenda"?

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 14, 2007 9:16 AM

I do not think that Americans are threatened by "working wifes", especially because it usually takes two incomes in a family just to pay the bills. Its the overly ruthless women, such as H. Clinton, who will say anything and step over anyone at any cost to satisfy ones amitions that people do not like. To those readers who claim that Michelle Obama is an "in your face" type, I disagree. I think she is forthright, intellegent, and a good mother. Also, I can't believe someone would claim they would not vote for Obama because his name reminds them of "Osama". That kind of thinking re-elected George Bush in 2004 over John Kerry, who demostrated he was much more intellegent and articulate than W.

Posted by: janet mcconnell | May 14, 2007 9:19 AM

I don't see this as a political issue at all. I don't like the idea of the president's spouse having an outside agenda, period. I think the possibility of conflict of interest is too great. The president's spouse is not equivalent to the spouse of the CEO of Pepsi.

At this point in time, candidates for president either have spouses who stand to the side and gaze adoringly, or they have spouses with high-powered careers, and the extensive histories that go along with them.

It is perfectly legitimate to consider the candidate's spouse (or marital history -- was anyone else completely put off Guliani after reading about the mess he's made of his personal life?) and decide according to your own values.

For the record, I voted for Clinton twice, would not have voted for 'shrub' on a bet, and cannot stand Hillary.

I think a candidate spouse with a high-powered career probably can afford to leave his or her professional life for a period of time, and not have much trouble picking up where he or she left off; they are unlike the rest of us in that respect. In fact, the publicity of a national campaign probably opens more doors than it closes.

Posted by: educmom | May 14, 2007 9:21 AM

I actually didn't mean "pet causes" as a political slam. I think they all have "pet causes". It could just as easily be called an agenda for both, but I was attempting (I guess poorly) to defend Laura Bush. I'm not a huge fan, but she had her own career, too, and shouldn't be dismissed as it seemed like the earlier poster was doing (not that there's anything wrong with NOT having a career).

Posted by: To Working Mom X | May 14, 2007 9:26 AM

Why wouldn't Mrs. Obama's leaving a job of that status be front page news? Some of us care more about what women of achievement are doing than we do whether Paris Hilton goes to jail. You're making a big blathery philosophical hair-splitting deal out of a fact -- Michelle Obama resigns from high level position to support husband's candidacy and keep the home fires burning.

Posted by: Lynne | May 14, 2007 9:27 AM

To Working Mom X ,

I didn't mean to dismiss Laura Bush. I like her. I was just pointing out that she is sometimes criticized too for not being a career woman in some people's eyes. I know she was a teacher and that is what Karen Hughes told reporters after the Heinz Kerry slam on her. Truth be told, I was actually criticizing Heinz Kerry for her thoughtless remark about Bush. I actually did a lot of research on this topic and found out that the first lady's approval ratings are very high and that it reaches across party lines, which is partly because of the way she presents herself.

As far as pet causes are concerned, I am for anyone who wants to try and improve the nation's schools.

Posted by: scarry | May 14, 2007 9:34 AM

Pyewackett wrote: "Scarry writing a 'paper' for a class! Is she still in high school?"

At whatever level people choose to continue their education, they're to be commended for wanting to better themselves. One can reasonably infer from the posted contemptuous attack that this is apparently more than can be said for its author.

Adults nowadays are furthering their educations on a FT or PT basis in increasing numbers -- whether to advance or change careers, widen their intellectual horizons or simply to make their lives more interesting for themselves. Pyewackett evidently doesn't consider such values important, a stance which speaks (unfavorably) for itself.

Scarry, we're proud of you!

Posted by: catlady | May 14, 2007 9:35 AM

Educmom, that's not a fair criticism: "outside agenda". What exactly does that mean? Do you mean that you think a First Lady should think in lock-step with her husband?

Isn't that exactly what we're criticizing -- the attitude that a First Lady isn't supposed to think for herself?

An "outside agenda" just seems like a negative euphemism for someone who thinks for his/herself. I hope you re-think what you're saying.

Posted by: Ryan | May 14, 2007 9:35 AM

I guess the fact that this is news to me is because I enjoyed a first-class Mother's Day, sans television. The kids didn't squabble (much) and I am winning my war with the hedgerow.

They have plenty of money now, and are likely to earn plenty more later. I doubt this is a huge sacrifice for either of them.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 14, 2007 9:36 AM

I absolutely feel that part of the "presidential package" seems to be the ever-smiling wife whose primary role is to support her husband and be perpetually by his side. I would go as far as saying that, for a male politician in this country, the Stepford-wife-ish sidekick is essential in the eyes of the majority of voters. I am in no way politically savvy or particularly interested in politics, but to me all it takes is a glance at the key players in this country and they all seem to be, for the most part, cookie cutters, in some way, of the JFK ideal. Handsome, charismatic man with loving wife on his arm and hopefully children in the background.

So no, I am not at all surprised that Michelle Obama should now morph from Michelle Obama, powerful executive, to Mrs. Obama, First Lady. Nor do I think it's necessarily wrong--after all, as others already commented, she can always resume her career but this may well be her only shot at living in the White House.

And not for nothing, but let's be honest--and I say this as an ardent supporter of Barack Obama--he already has two strikes against him: the color of his skin and a name that, to the politically uneducated who make up the majority of the voting pool, sounds just a BIT too much like Osama Bin Laden.

Posted by: Maggie | May 14, 2007 9:37 AM

It is important to note how many times people have referred to the fact that they think Michelle Obama is a good mother. She gets a lot of flack in Washington for not being a good enough wife - she publically criticizes her husband, she never spends time in Washington (even though the Senator is here every week)... take all of this how you will (I don't personally agree) - but never because people criticize her mothering skills. I agree with WorkingMomX... it takes a lot to run a family and a political campaign. Candidates spend most of their time on the road. VP working moms have to spend a lot of time at work. I truly believe that candidacies are family decisions - and it makes sense that Michelle's decisions in the wake of that would revolve around what is best for her kids, because it cannot be easy on families to have a parent run a national campaign. It is hard to make quality family time when you work and your husband is never home.

I am a working woman and I applaud the way that Michelle Obama is able to be smart, ambitious, and a good mother and wife. I think she should be a role model for women of my generation who are trying to figure out how to balance a successful career and a family. She does an excellent job and I see her latest career move as an example of a smart woman knowing when to sacrifice her success in once area of her life for advancement in another.

Posted by: scr | May 14, 2007 9:37 AM

scarry

"I know she was a teacher"

"I actually did a lot of research on this topic"

Duh, then you should know that Laura Bush was a librarian before she was a teacher!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 9:38 AM

It must be hard to work and have a husband running for President. She is a young woman and can always go back when she wants. Personally, I like choice for women so I dont really value a stay at home or a working woman more than the other as long as it was her free choice to do either. I could have a chat with Mrs Obama about working at a big corporation and I could talk to Mrs Bush about her reading club etc. I would probably enjoy both.

Posted by: Judith | May 14, 2007 9:39 AM

Thanks catlady. I am half way through my masters.

Posted by: scarry | May 14, 2007 9:40 AM

Duh, then you should know that Laura Bush was a librarian before she was a teacher!!

Yes, I knew that. do you want to read my paper or do you want to discuss the topic?

Sorry I left out that fact.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 9:42 AM

I'm glad to see, in this day and age, that humility is seen as a virtue.

It's exactly what Hillary doesn't have, and it's the root of why people don't like her.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 14, 2007 9:43 AM

Remember the flak that Howard Dean's wife, a doctor, took during his presidential primary campaign because she chose to remain in Vermont at her medical practice, rather than take leave from it to campaign on the road with her husband?

While her decision was not the cause of the demise of Howard's candidacy, it would be interesting to consider whether ANY candidate's spouse (of any political persuasion) would be considered a liability for taking a similar stance during a general election campaign (i.e., after the primaries).

Posted by: catlady | May 14, 2007 9:44 AM

Congratulations, Scarry!

Posted by: catlady | May 14, 2007 9:45 AM

Father of 4

"I'm glad to see, in this day and age, that humility is seen as a virtue.

It's exactly what Hillary doesn't have, and it's the root of why people don't like her. "

And the root of why people don't like you!


Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 9:48 AM

Father of 4, I think I know what you mean by humility.

And yet, isn't it ironic that women are blamed by some as a major cause of their not getting paid closer to what men earn for comparable work, because of women's reluctance to ask for better pay and higher raises? In other words, they may have too much humility.

Some days ya can't win for losin'.

Posted by: catlady | May 14, 2007 9:49 AM

To Father of 4:

How many of the MALE presidential candidates have humility??? None.

Posted by: Beth | May 14, 2007 9:52 AM

I'm glad to see, in this day and age, that humility is seen as a virtue.

It's exactly what Hillary doesn't have, and it's the root of why people don't like her.


Posted by: Father of 4

When I hire a lawyer, humility is NOT a quality I'm willing to pay for. At $350/hour and up, I want someone who is going to try and win my case for me. I don't want humility in all venues, I want forthright and go-getting.

Those are qualities that tend to receive more compensation for men, why not for women?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 9:54 AM

In my humble opinion Michelle should not accept the position she was offered. It is not politically wise.

Posted by: Philip Lau | May 14, 2007 9:55 AM

It takes hubris to run for president.

It also takes a lack of humility to strive for and reach the top of many a corporate heap.

I don't care which gender has it, if they are good, what is the problem with being rewarded for it?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 9:55 AM

A man can be made to look like a woman, if his wife is seen to be running the show. Michelle and Obama are fine. But don't take it too far lady, or you may find that guys may not want to vote for a henpecked husband. What cojones will he bring to the international negotiating table if he has to check everything with mummy?

Posted by: Alcibiades | May 14, 2007 9:56 AM

Hope you checked your comment with your wife before you posted it!

Posted by: To Alcibiades | May 14, 2007 9:59 AM

Maybe Alcibiades is a woman whose husband ordered her to post that message.

Posted by: To To Alcibiades | May 14, 2007 10:00 AM

I think Micelle Obama has the right to do whatever she wants with her life and career.

I fault the Washington Post for making it a page one story. It just enhances the Post's obvious pro-Obama tilt at this time.

But let's not criticize Michelle Obama for the Washington Post's poor decisions on placement of stories. I am sure she will be an asset to the Obama campaign. But the story still is as was pointed out in the George Stefanopoulos interview on Sunday that Obama is not ready to be the President. His lack of experience came across loud and clear in that interview. His never having had to deal with a crisis and his poor response in the first debate. then his response on Affirmative action -just not for his kids- we never got what will his litmus test for affirmative action. He seems to miss the basis for Affirmative Action. It is not whether he and is wife got into Harvard but whether we bring larger numbers of those who have been held back by discrimination over decades into Harvard. Affirmative action is not intended to get unqualified people into schools or jobs but to level the playing field for those who are qualified. Maybe his daughters should never be allowed to get scholarships becasue their parents are rich, that is a different issue.

The story again is not whether Michelle Obama leaves her $250,000 dollar a year job or not, it is the question of whether her husband is qualified to be President- not whether we see as she puts it from the spouses point of view "the wonders of her husband".

Posted by: peter dc | May 14, 2007 10:03 AM

Maybe Alcibiades posted the comment from Brokeback Mountain! Yee haw!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:03 AM

Maria shriver quit her high powered job after arnold became governor-she said it was too much and she wanted people to know she was objective, but she wasn't sure it would work out. This was after she had said she would make it work. But with four kids...

I think michelle's skills will help obama in his campaign and if they are trying to make him the president, then it is a good idea.

Posted by: atlmom | May 14, 2007 10:04 AM

"How many of the MALE presidential candidates have humility??? None."

Just wait a little further down the campaign trail and they'll start holding babies for sure.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 14, 2007 10:05 AM

Affirmative Action is reverse discrimination. When it is gone, the playing field will be level.

Posted by: TO peter dc | May 14, 2007 10:06 AM

"Its the overly ruthless women, such as H. Clinton, who will say anything and step over anyone at any cost to satisfy ones amitions that people do not like."

Interesting. When a women is aggressive and ambitious, she is considered "overly ruthless." If a man is aggressive and ambitious, he is a go-getter. It's the double standard that I dislike.

In America, we do have a bias against women who are forceful. We want them to be calm and quiet, like Laura Bush, because we have been socialized to believe that being opinionated, direct, in your face, and forceful are traits that are undesirable in women. But in men, we admire these traits.

I have a deep admiration for Hillary Clinton. She is not only smart as a whip, but she has dedicated her life to advocating for children and families. I know she can ride out any tempest that might come along, keep her cool, and use good judgment even in the toughest situation. She is disciplined, intelligent, and passionate about her work. And anyone who dares to question her parenting skills needs only to look at Chelsea, who is a a successful and accomplished young woman, and who managed to get through the years in the White House with grace and dignity.

Posted by: Emily | May 14, 2007 10:06 AM

And most people don't know that mr. Obama's middle name is hussein. They try to play that down.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:07 AM

My point about Laura Bush's "pet causes" is that I think we tend to view the traditional type of president's wife as having these causes as a sort of hobby -- much the way a SAHM would have volunteer work. But if you look at Hillary, for example, she was viewed as having an agenda to make changes, and wasn't treated as kindly (and certainly not as respectfully) as Laura Bush is treated. But then, Laura Bush has never tried to really use her powerful position to make herself an agent of change. Just my opinion. . .

Posted by: WorkingMomX | May 14, 2007 10:08 AM

WorkingMomX

"But then, Laura Bush has never tried to really use her powerful position to make herself an agent of change."

She can't be an agent of change. She's on too many meds and is a closet smoker.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:11 AM

And most people don't know that mr. Obama's middle name is hussein. They try to play that down.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 10:07 AM


So friggin' what? It doesn't make a penny's worth of difference in determining whether or not he has sufficient ability to lead the nation.

Posted by: To 10:07 | May 14, 2007 10:12 AM

And most people don't know that mr. Obama's middle name is hussein. They try to play that down.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 10:07 AM

By the same logic you have voted against Eisenhower because he had a Nazi-sounding last name, right?

Posted by: By the same logic? | May 14, 2007 10:14 AM

Alcibiades, the men who don't vote for a man because he's "henpecked" are the same as the people who vote for candidates based on their names. It's ignorance, plain and simple. Is is wrong to wish that people had to pass a test before they can vote?

I for one think Mr. Clinton is still very much a man even though Mrs. Clinton is assertive and strong.

Posted by: Meesh | May 14, 2007 10:14 AM

I vote for, quit trying to make news when it's not news. Do people really care if Mrs. Obama quit her job? Nope. But the more people blog about it, like this one, we will be inundated by mundane "news" stories instead of real news.

Posted by: Joe D. | May 14, 2007 10:14 AM

But didn't laura bush 'give up' her career when she had kids? She hasn't gone back to work I'm not criticizing, I'm just wondering.

Posted by: atlmom | May 14, 2007 10:15 AM

"In America, we do have a bias against women who are forceful. We want them to be calm and quiet, like Laura Bush, because we have been socialized to believe that being opinionated, direct, in your face, and forceful are traits that are undesirable in women. But in men, we admire these traits."

Or to put it another way...

In America we do have a bias against men who are team players. We want them to be aggressive and forceful, like Bill Clinton, because we have been socialized to believe that being reflective, refined, polite and collaborative are undesirable traits in men. But in women, we admire these traits.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:15 AM

This is going to be interesting. Watch the adjectives that people deploy when criticizing women in public positions (particularly political ones) - so far we've had "shrill" "in your face" etc. I'm sure "hysterical" is right around the corner. You can often tell the underlying sexism in how women in public office (from everyone from Kay Bailey Hutchison to Nancy Pelosi) by the adjectives people use to criticize them. "Hysterical" "too opinionated," etc. Who was the last male political figure you heard described as "shrill."

As an aside - with regards to the argument about the "spouse who wasn't elected" so they shouldn't have a say in public policy - guess who else wasn't elected? The Cabinet. The President's Chief of Staff. The President's Economic Advisor for _______ (whatever you'd like: Homeland Security, etc.) Elected officials bring countless "unelected" people with them to help work through public policy issues. And as this concerns HRC, I'd sure as heck rather have some Wellesley and Yale Law School educated woman "having a say in public policy" than the lunatics from Regent who are populating the current administration (and, before you cry "elitist" over this preference - note that when all these folks need their own laywers for testifying before Congress, etc., they hired a bunch of people from Yale & Harvard....not their classmates at Regent).

Posted by: ELG | May 14, 2007 10:16 AM

"But didn't laura bush 'give up' her career when she had kids? She hasn't gone back to work I'm not criticizing, I'm just wondering."

Just so that I understand completely:

How do you define a 'career'?

Is it possible to 'work' without being 'employed'?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:19 AM

Affirmative Action is reverse discrimination. When it is gone, the playing field will be level.

Posted by: TO peter dc | May 14, 2007 10:06 AM

Right. The playing field will be level, oh, except for those pesky legacy programs that favor white applicants; the property imbalance that favors the white applicant heirs of slaveholders in the South and slavetraders in the Northeast; the bias toward applicants with impressive non-paid internships and participation in travel abroad programs during high school - guess what race of applicants is more likely to be able to afford to take non-paid internships and pay for those travel programs?

Yipper. A level playing field. Unless you are Latino, African-American, or from Appalachia.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:19 AM

The idea of Hillary Clinton as "overly ruthless" is cracking me up. Is there even such a thing as "overly" ruthless? This implies that one can be "mildly" or "moderately" ruthless! Does anyone own a dictionary any more?

"Ruthless" describes Pol Pot, not Hillary Clinton.

Posted by: Meesh | May 14, 2007 10:21 AM

"And most people don't know that mr. Obama's middle name is hussein. They try to play that down.
Posted by: | May 14, 2007 10:07 AM"

And what, pray tell, is John McCain's middle name? Romney's? Guiliani's? No, don't do a web search and get back to me several minutes from now with the answers, tell me right now of the top of your head. If you can't, you are a mindless partisan.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | May 14, 2007 10:25 AM

"And most people don't know that mr. Obama's middle name is hussein. They try to play that down.
Posted by: | May 14, 2007 10:07 AM"

IF it IS played down, it's only because they realize that bigots like you think it's important, when it isn't.

Posted by: Yup | May 14, 2007 10:27 AM

"...we have been socialized to believe that being reflective, refined, polite and collaborative are undesirable traits in men. "

But thing thing is, we don't reward people who are collaborative, reflective, refined, and polite, as highly as we reward those who are ambitious and aggressive. The traits we admire in men are the ones we reward, not the ones we admire in women.

Posted by: Emily | May 14, 2007 10:28 AM

What is Hillary's middle name (not maiden name)?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:28 AM

10:19: bitter much? Should mr obama's kids get preferential treatment because they are black? I am all for helping people out *because they have a different economic background* but *not* because of their race. How does that tie in with your comments?

Posted by: atlmom | May 14, 2007 10:33 AM

the property imbalance that favors the white applicant heirs of slaveholders in the South and slavetraders in the Northeast;

How long ago was this?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:34 AM

I think running for President is a job that requires a team and her decision to quit her job is a good sign. It shows that she is behind his decision 110%. There will always be another job for someone with such a high profile.

It's never just the candidate who is running for office. Look at Elizabeth Edwards - pimping herself and her breast cancer to gain publicity.

It is not a sin to stand behind your husband. You wouldn't stay married to someone whose goals weren't your own. I think she did the right thing, and that doing it when it wouldn't get front page notice would be stupid. If a woman is going to work this hard for something she should play to win.

Posted by: AnnR | May 14, 2007 10:36 AM

Well obviously Michelle Obama quit her job to work on her husband's campaign. The real question is why does the media make it a major headline? As with many issues the media chooses to highlight that have no real importance, this decision taps into a general sense of anxiety. In this case its the anxiety people have about the role women should have in the world and how to be a good parent. I'm at peace with my decision to work and raise a child, but a pretty large fraction of women out there feel conflicted on this issue. The reason that I am comfortable in my decision is that I look around me and see friends and family members, some raised in day care, some without a mother in their life at all, and some raised under the constant and loving supervision of a SAHM. There just doesn't seem to be any correlation to having mom around all the time and how well you turned out. The thing that does seem to be important is that there has been a loving, mature, responsible person involved in the person's life from early on, and that relationship(s) evolved as the child grew, with the caretaking figure changing and adapting to the emotional needs of the child. Anybody else out there noticed anything like this? Or do we just want to continue on the same old Hatfield vs. McCoys, SAHM vs WOHM deal-end argument? When that pointless discussion gets going I just tune out, because I know from my own experience that it has nothing to do with the real complicated and individual challenges of being a good parent. Parenting is like building a house, you can choose to do it yourself and get all the satisfaction from overseeing the laying of every brick and floorboard, or you can hire a good contractor. In the end you have a home (or a family), and that's what's important.

Posted by: rumicat | May 14, 2007 10:37 AM

"You wouldn't stay married to someone whose goals weren't your own."

People stay married only for the sake of their kids quite a bit.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:39 AM

Look at Elizabeth Edwards - pimping herself and her breast cancer to gain publicity.

Is that you, Ann Romney, pimping yourself and your multiple sclerosis to gain publicity?

Posted by: To AnnR | May 14, 2007 10:40 AM

When it is all said and done - - Barack Obama is the next President of the United States of America. And to the comments about his name - - don't worry there are enough of the American people that are well aware of what his name really is and will vote accordingly. He and we do not need anyone's vote that does not like or know his name. The name issue has already been covered as he has said it is something he has dealt with all of his life and still look where he is now it has never stopped him or anything he has set out to accomplish - - not a show stopper.

To Peter dc - - he is more qualified than anyone else running on either side MOST DEFINITELY more qualified than the YALE cheerleader that is currently holding the position now - - that argument has played out - - not a show stopper. So you can take that argument and have it with yourself. Yes Michele Obama is comitted enough to her husband to quit her job so what the media decided to put it on front page. No big deal. Did you also see that his sister got front page for campaigning as well. It is the way it's going be until he is elected. Guess what. It will be on front page. And that is the way it is. He and everyone and everything that he does and says will be front page as it should be for the next President of the United States.

Posted by: Dee | May 14, 2007 10:41 AM

Politics is one realm in America where sexism still rules. As a number of people have noted in this discussion, the adjectives used to criticize women politicians--of both parties--generally are never applied to male politicians, or would be seen as compliments if they were.

I'm afraid America is still not ready for a First Lady with an active, ongoing career, and Michelle Obama surely knows this.

By contrast, Cherie Blair has continued her career as a high-powered human-rights lawyer while her husband has served for the past decade as prime minister of Great Britain. A problem? Not at all.

I hate it when my country keeps people in more restrictive boxes than do nations who have to buck far more centuries of repressive tradition.

Posted by: J.J. in Arlington | May 14, 2007 10:42 AM

I think it's too simplistic to evaluate whether powerful women like Hillary Clinton are slammed because of approach or personality. How a powerful person approaches issues does determine their effectiveness and how they're received. But there's more to it.

There are groups of issues that are acceptable, even desireable, for first ladies to engage in: Literacy, education, children, etc. What if a first lady advocated an issue that had some element of controversy? What if the issue had partisan ramifications? Would that alone be enough to cast Laura Bush as an "in your face" kind of woman - regardless of how quietly she spoke?

Is it only coincidence that first ladies who are not perceived as "in your face" only take on issues that are universally supported (such as literacy)?

And if there are only certain issues (non-controversial or non-partisan issues) that first ladies are approved for tackling, what does that say about our society's perceived role for powerful women?

Posted by: Yo Mama | May 14, 2007 10:44 AM

"But thing thing is, we don't reward people who are collaborative, reflective, refined, and polite, as highly as we reward those who are ambitious and aggressive. The traits we admire in men are the ones we reward, not the ones we admire in women."

I don't believe that is the case - I believe that 'ambitious and aggressive' simply increases the degree in variance of success. That is, the top and bottom of the reward scale have an over-representation of 'ambitious and aggressive' individuals -- but the 'average' is likely below the average for collaborative, reflective types.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:48 AM

To Peter dc - - he is more qualified than anyone else running on either side MOST DEFINITELY more qualified than the YALE cheerleader that is currently holding the position now - - that argument has played out - - not a show stopper.

Huh? Are you in the closet with Laura Bush taking meds or are you off yours since when does a discussion about affirmative action automatically tie back to Obama?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:49 AM

Janet McConnell,

" I do not think that Americans are threatened by "working wifes", especially because it usually takes two incomes in a family just to pay the bills. Its the overly ruthless women, such as H. Clinton, who will say anything and step over anyone at any cost to satisfy ones amitions that people do not like. To those readers who claim that Michelle Obama is an "in your face" type, I disagree. I think she is forthright, intellegent, and a good mother."

Ah, Janet, you are the voice of reason. Of course it takes most families 2 incomes to raise a family, but my experience is that there are still a lot of sexist people out there who think otherwise. And I am sure Obama is an intelligent person and a good mother, and I am sure Hilary is too, but they still can be in-your-face, or at least she was in the interview I heard.

Posted by: MDMom | May 14, 2007 10:49 AM

If less than two yrs as a senator makes you the most qualified person to run for president, then this country is in bigger trouble than I thought.

Posted by: atlmom | May 14, 2007 10:50 AM

It makes me cringe to imagine ignorant SOBs like you voting.

How on earth is that kind of nastiness warranted. i thought you were a little better than that Meesh.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:51 AM

The point is Michelle Obama is a bright, talented, hardworking person - respect her decision rather than armchair quarterbacking.

Posted by: gary | May 14, 2007 10:52 AM

Meesh's comment was completely warranted. I am glad she said what she said. In some cases, it is perfectly acceptable, and even necessary, to quash comments that are rooted in ignorance and bigotry. Thank you, Meesh, for rightly speaking your mind.

Posted by: Emily | May 14, 2007 10:53 AM

altmom

If less than two yrs as a senator makes you the most qualified person to run for president, then this country is in bigger trouble than I thought.

How long was RKF the junior Senator from New York when he started to run for President?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:54 AM

Yes, I agree with altmom. Any of the democrats, including Hillary who I don't care for, is more qualified then Obama.


Posted by: scarry | May 14, 2007 10:54 AM

I think the religious right bent that America has taken has changed what the media covers when it comes to women, especially spouses of politicians. Women's place is in the home according to the religious white men who are trying to turn America into the Taliban run Afghanistan. So when all you read about or for women is that they are baby making breast feeding machines, then it matters whether Michelle Obama is going to stay home if he's president, campaign for him or not, blah, blah, blah. The same was true for Judy Dean who was dragged into a campaign appearance when all she wanted to do was take care of her patients. Personally, I think Laura Bush has done so much harm to American women because she won't even speak out against the kind of anti-reproductive health policies of Bush and his faith-based everything. Abstinence is not health - not for preventing STDs, HIV/AIDS, or teen-age pregnancies. She spoke of helping Afghani women - well, she did nothing - and she's actually helped to allow American women become subjugated by Christian fundamentalist fanatics. I hope we stop talking about Michelle Obama, but apparently she was his mentor so maybe she tells him what to do more than Laura tells George. I want a female president - not a first lady.

Posted by: Mimi | May 14, 2007 10:55 AM

If less than two yrs as a senator makes you the most qualified person to run for president, then this country is in bigger trouble than I thought.

Ike never held political office, so would you have opposed him on those grounds?

Posted by: To altmom | May 14, 2007 10:57 AM

He was attorney general for four years and then a senator for almost four years. Obama is no RFK

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 10:58 AM

Leslie:

"Laura Bush is praised for being a dependent, always-smiling wife and mother despite the troubles her daughters and husband get into."

Did you really mean 'dependent' or did you mean 'dependable'? I have never seen an article praising her dependence on her husband, but have seen numerous articles that speak to her dependability.


"Is Laura Bush criticized less frequently because she's a non-working mom?"

I just went to http://www.whitehouse.gov/firstlady/flbio.html to get an idea of her activities -- it appears to me that she is without a doubt working [with an extremely active schedule].

Did you mean to say 'non-employed'?

Just out of curiousity, how do you view Melinda Gates and her volunteer work helping to administrate a $30B charity fund? Would you also describe her as 'non-working' since she does not earn an independent income?


Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:00 AM

He was attorney general for four years and then a senator for almost four years. Obama is no RFK

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 10:58 AM

Obama was an Illinois state legislator for several years before becoming US Senator, so he's had much more than 2 years government experience too.

Posted by: Obama vs. RFK | May 14, 2007 11:02 AM

"But why -- in a time when the "corporate wife" role seems obsolete -- is front-page attention paid to the employment status of candidates' wives?"

Everything about the candidates and their families may be front-page news. Elizabeth Edwards' cancer for example. Fashion, hairsyles, work status, children (remember the Bush twins underage drinking).

Leslie just has an agenda to put everything in her perspective that women are being held back and treated as second class. The candidates and their families know what is involved in a successful campaign. The candidates only move forward with the blessing of their families. Michelle Obama is not sacrificing anything - she is doing exactly what she and her family decided together.

We don't know how many potential candidates don't proceed because the spouse does not want to give up her career - we only hear about those who are willing to be part of the "political package".

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:02 AM

RFK was Attorney General for 4 years, and was intimately involved in most of the major issues in the US at the time (e.g., Cuban Missile Crisis) as well as running the Justice Department. Then he was a US Senator for 4 years. He had a very deep and broad exposure to what it took to run the country and what the issues were.

Eisenhower had run the entire European theater during WWII; that gave him a tremendous level of experience with Foreign policy and military issues and he knew almost all world leaders personally. He was a little weaker domestically, but overall he was far more experienced than most candidates.

Perhaps the last major candidate for President with qualifications as weak as Obama's was Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:06 AM

OK, so what fabulous career did Jackie Kennedy give up to work the campaign trail with JFK, as well as overlook his marital indiscretions? She wanted to be identified with the working classes but married two of the richest men she could find.

Then we have Lady Bird Johnson -- what did she do before becoming First Lady? Or Rosalyn Carter? OR Betty Ford, Pat Nixon, Barbara Bush? If I recall all these women were housewives, mothers, and helpmates to their husbands and were an asset rather than a hinderance. Does anaybody remember crazy Margaret Trudeau in Canada? We haven't had any First Ladies like her (so far).

Voters go to the polls to elect a PRESIDENT -- the wife, unfortunately, comes along with the package. That's why we got Hilary. I didn't vote for him -- or her.

Obama has a Muslim background. I don't want them taking over the country by way of the White House. Cowardly attacks on the WTC was enough.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:11 AM

"Perhaps the last major candidate for President with qualifications as weak as Obama's was Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 11:06 AM"

Were Bill Clinton's that much better?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:12 AM

The Question was: "Are Americans threatened by working wives? Reassured by traditional ones? What is your vote here?"

Yes, Americans are threatened by working WOMEN (wives or not), and I would guess that the majority of those threatened are working men.

My male boss took the liberty of feeling comfortable enough with our professional relationship to reveal to me that the President of our company told him last week that he is really concerned about having too many women in the company, and is becoming "increasingly uncomfortable with it".

I've never heard such BS!! Actually, let me correct that...as a working mother , I am sick of hearing that bs over and over again! As is typical of many companies, in our company, men dominate sr. management, while women dominate the ranks. Another way to say it, the work actually gets done off the backs of the women, and as a result the company has tripled in size. But gosh, you know, geeze, we just get "uncomfortable" with women around.

Geeze, if I didn't have to work, this would certainly send me running out the door!

Posted by: SilverSpring Mom | May 14, 2007 11:12 AM

"She wanted to be identified with the working classes but married two of the richest men she could find."

Actually, Jackie Kennedy hated the idea of the middle-class "fat women" aping her fashion style!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:14 AM

Obama has a Muslim background. I don't want them taking over the country by way of the White House. Cowardly attacks on the WTC was enough.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 11:11 AM


Obama is a practicing Protestant Christian.

Posted by: Correcting the record | May 14, 2007 11:16 AM

I believe the bigger question is why does anyone feel entitled to make any public judgement on other peoples personal decisions. As it has been in the past it matters vey little what the choice is, only that a woman has made one that makes people feel their personal opinion is warranted.

Posted by: sthalsey | May 14, 2007 11:17 AM

Actually, Jackie Kennedy hated the idea of the middle-class "fat women" aping her fashion style!

Ha, who coud blame her. Jackie was working when she meant JFK, that is how she meant him.

Posted by: scarry | May 14, 2007 11:20 AM

Perhaps the last major candidate for President with qualifications as weak as Obama's was Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 11:06 AM

Ronald Reagan had the same credentials as Jimmy Carter.

We have a long history of candidates with scant credentials: US Grant, Ike, Garfield, Arthur.

If you consider that a state governor like Bush, Reagan or Clinton is qualified to be Commander in Chief, you are confusing ideology with qualifications.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:21 AM

"We have a long history of candidates with scant credentials: US Grant, Ike, Garfield, Arthur."

Lincoln.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:26 AM

If less than two yrs as a senator makes you the most qualified person to run for president, then this country is in bigger trouble than I thought.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 10:54 AM

We've never elected the most qualified person. We elect the person with whom we are most comfortable.

and we have idiots among us who make assumptions about a candidate's religious beliefs based on a name. That's scary stuff.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:26 AM

Yes, we as a society are threatened by working wives--working women in general. We depend on their incomes for our lifestyles, and we resent them for that.

There's another question here, though. Why do we care about the First Lady at all? She's not running for office, so why should she factor into our decisions about the candidates?

Posted by: Kate | May 14, 2007 11:27 AM

Why do we care about the First Lady at all? She's not running for office, so why should she factor into our decisions about the candidates?

Posted by: Kate | May 14, 2007 11:27 AM

Because I have the future President's ear.

Posted by: Future First Lady | May 14, 2007 11:30 AM

At Martin Luther King's funeral Jackie said she wanted to be identified with the working people and stood next to Ralph Abertnathy. Then she left the country and married Onasis.

Obama was raised and schooled by Muslims. He changed affiliation when he apparently thought that would not get him elected. As we all know, politicans change their stripes to suit the situation. If you don't know that by now, wise up.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:30 AM

Obama has a Muslim background. I don't want them taking over the country by way of the White House. Cowardly attacks on the WTC was enough.

So? Nixon was a Quaker.

All Christians, Jews and Muslims "descend" from Abraham theologically speaking. So that means all of these feuds are FAMILY feuds, really.

We all know that those are readily and easily resolved--right? Anyone have relatives to top Mona's dad, or Scarry's Aunt?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:31 AM

You can keep repeating misinformation about Barack Obama's background all you want. But that will never make it true. No wonder you're an anonymous troll, you're too ashamed to post under a consistent blog name.

Posted by: To 11:30 AM | May 14, 2007 11:34 AM

Ronald Reagan had the same credentials as Jimmy Carter.

We have a long history of candidates with scant credentials: US Grant, Ike, Garfield, Arthur.

If you consider that a state governor like Bush, Reagan or Clinton is qualified to be Commander in Chief, you are confusing ideology with qualifications.

_________________

Actually, Reagan had at least double the credentials of Carter - two terms as governor, to one (or 8 years to 4 if you prefer). You can argue about whether the size of the state makes a difference or not.

WRT to the others you list: Grant is generally considered to be one of the worst presidents we've every had, as is Carter. Garfield was assassinated shortly after taking office and can't be judged good or bad. Arthur was never elected President; he took office after Garfield was killed.

Eisenhower has been discussed above; the man was exceptionally well qualified from a foreign policy standpoint and doesn't belong in a list with the others (except for his political affiliation).

So I'm not sure what your point was in listing those people, except that they were all Republicans and you wanted to take a partisan slam at them.

Personally, I'd conclude that listing poorly-qualified candidates and then showing they did a lousy job as President argues that we ought to learn our lesson and stop electing poorly-qualified candidates to the Presidency!

What does being a Governor have to do with Senator Obama?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:34 AM

"Obama has a Muslim background. I don't want them taking over the country by way of the White House. Cowardly attacks on the WTC was enough.

So? Nixon was a Quaker."

And Ike attended the River Brethren Church and later a Jehovah's Witness congregation as a youth.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:36 AM

Can conflict of interest can really be at issue here? She was already a former Daley staffer, and her husband was already a Senator from Illinois; presumably any conflict that her position might pose has already been thought through.

Then again, this is Chicago, and the hospital did promote her to her position "soon after her husband joined the Senate," and $275,000 does sound like a lot for a PR position at a non-profit hospital, so maybe they figured that the conflict scrutiny would be tighter on a national stage.

Posted by: Tom T. | May 14, 2007 11:37 AM

I think you were referring to my aunt, not Scarry's. (Unless Scarry also has a remarkably scary aunt).

Posted by: Emily | May 14, 2007 11:37 AM

I will preface this by stating I voted for Bill Clinton. And for those Bill-haters...all I can say is I miss the days of economic prosperity and peace.

Specifically regarding Hillary vs. Laura ...Laura Bush is simply more likeable. Hillary is not a very nice person (I've got a friend who works on Democratic campaigns, and some of the behind-the-scenes stories about Hillary are ugly; she is disliked among many Democrats). That's why I think Hillary's campaign will fall apart: she cannot keep up this facade for two years. She will have a Howard Dean moment of meaness.

And I don't write this off to Hillary being an educated, powerful woman. Elizabeth Dole is well regarded, but she is not a shrew (or at least that has not been a public opinion of her). There are many powerful women who are not shrill. And a lot of us dislike those qualities in a man (i.e., Donald Trump).

But, as a mother, Hillary raised a better daughter than Laura did. So, as likeable as Laura Bush, the smiling SAHM may be, Hillary's daughter turned out much better than the boozing Bush girls did. Is that a fair analysis of a parent? Perhpas not. But choosing a candidate based on likeability is perhaps not the best litmus test, either.

Posted by: single western mom | May 14, 2007 11:37 AM

Realistically being senator does not prepare one as much as actually being in charge, ie being a governor, running the olympics, running a war as a general, runnung a company. While being a senator is a good thing, being one for only a couple of yrs then runnung for president shows me, actually, that he thinks he knows what is going on and listened to people around him too much who praised him as the next big thing. I would have had more respect for him if he stayed out of it. Yes, the allure of power is huge especially when people are telling hime he can do it, and this chance (no clear front runner, no vp running, etc) doesn't come up but once ina lifetime. But sometimes you need to have some perspective.

Posted by: atlmom | May 14, 2007 11:42 AM

Aren't Laura's "boozing Bush girls" gainfully employed and for the most part leading quiet lives? So they partied it up while they were in college -- that doesn't make them or their mother "not as good" as anyone else.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 14, 2007 11:42 AM

"as a mother, Hillary raised a better daughter than Laura did"

But, it took a village...........

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:42 AM

single western mom: But, as a mother, Hillary raised a better daughter than Laura did. So, as likeable as Laura Bush, the smiling SAHM may be, Hillary's daughter turned out much better than the boozing Bush girls did.

----------------

Can you justify this comment with facts? Yes, Chelsea Clinton is generally regarded as being successful, if you regard McKinsey consultants as successes (I personally have a bias against them - see "Skilling, Jeffery" for example).

It's accepted that the Bush twins have a history of college-age hijinks, but since growing out of that stage, they both seem to be fairly successful women.

Or do you know more about what they've been doing than has been reported?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:43 AM

But it stuns me that Ms. Obama's decision to quit her job is front page, national news.

-----------------

It is always good news when something trivial makes the front-page. It means that there wasn't a terrorist attack that day, no mass murder and no Iraqi attack killing scores of U.S. soldiers.

The only spouse I can think of that refused to join a campaign was Dr. Dean. The news is that Senator Obama is a serious candidate. The fact that his wife quit her lucrative job is proof that they take the campaign seriously. But we already knew that so, big deal.

Posted by: free bird | May 14, 2007 11:47 AM

Anon at 11:06, do you really think that the current President has better qualifications than Obama? Yes he was the governor of Texas, but was he effective?

Posted by: MV | May 14, 2007 11:53 AM

The Bush girls' partying and high jinks aside, they just did not behave very well when they were living in the White House. I remember one instance when one of them flipped off a tv camera. Nice. They often did not dress appropriately for public appearances, and generally were pretty bratty and spoiled.

Their parents pretty much defended this by saying the girls had not run for the presidency and should not be criticized for not wanting the media attentino, but come on!! It is every parent's duty to teach their kids to behave in public. The Bushes apparently had a very hard time doing this. At least Chelsea behaved herself. And she was under much more pressure than the bratty Bush girls.

Posted by: Emily | May 14, 2007 11:54 AM

Aren't Laura's "boozing Bush girls" gainfully employed and for the most part leading quiet lives? So they partied it up while they were in college -- that doesn't make them or their mother "not as good" as anyone else.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 14, 2007 11:42 AM

Nope, they've just been shipped off to Latin America, largely out of sight of our media.

Posted by: Re Bush girls | May 14, 2007 11:54 AM

So how many of you never took a sip of alcohol when you were in college? As some anonymous 'witty' pundit likes to say == very frequently for that matter == pot.meet.kettle.

FWIW, neither W nor Laura read the flaming attacks on them in the WaPo. They don't have the time. Apparently some have the time to post these remarks on a blog that is merely inconsequential entertainment. A big time suck.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:55 AM

I drank a little in college. Back then, it was legal to have a beer once you turned 18 (in DC anyway).

Posted by: Emily | May 14, 2007 11:56 AM

Most of my aunts are sane. I do have other crazies though.

Posted by: scarry | May 14, 2007 11:57 AM

"as a mother, Hillary raised a better daughter than Laura did"

But, it took a village...........

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 11:42 AM


Maybe the Bush girls didn't get the village they needed to help raise them better, thanks to their parents' political views, esp. W's pandering to the Religious Right.

Posted by: Re Bush girls | May 14, 2007 11:59 AM

Given all the advantages of their multi-generational social status (see Kevin Phillips great book on this topic), the Bush twins are mind-numbing underachievers. Waiting, probably, to marry some partner (or partner's son) in the Carlysle Group, which really owns the world anyway.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 11:59 AM

Looks like Michelle Obama made the right decision -- she'll have to work full time to shield her kids from the Judgemental Court of Public Opinion that seems to gleefully condemn relatives of public figures, like the Bush girls.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 14, 2007 12:02 PM

Sorry Scarry to attribute the scary aunt to you. Sorry Emily not to credit you for your admittedly scary aunt!

It's Monday, I think I need some more coffee. Decent coffee, not the scary stuff we have around here.

Still, family feuds are rarely rational or conducive to even-handed discussion.

So I guess it boils down to style:

1) Run away from the dinner table, sobbing, slamming bedroom doors and not speaking for years and years and years, whilst nursing a fine stew of resentment and hard feelings,

or

2) Arguing long and loudly and still eating together, with some on-the-side eye-rolling about how in the WORLD could someone so smart be so WRONG, but still loving one another.

I'm door #2, personally.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 14, 2007 12:04 PM

"So how many of you never took a sip of alcohol when you were in college? As some anonymous 'witty' pundit likes to say == very frequently for that matter == pot.meet.kettle."

Ummmm....but my father wasn't the President of the United States!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:05 PM

And what kind of kids did Barbara Bush raise?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:09 PM

And what kind of kids did Barbara Bush raise?

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 12:09 PM

Neil Bush of El Dorado scandal fame (now divorced), W who only had a successful career thanks to Poppy's rich friends, Doro who's divorced, Jeb who left the familiy religion...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:15 PM

And what kind of kids did Barbara Bush raise?

Posted by:

Village idiots, I'd say. But she loves them, like most parents do.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:15 PM

And what kind of kids did Barbara Bush raise?

NEW DENSEST ELEMENT DISCOVERY

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the densest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Bushcronium." Bushcronium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 311.

These particles are held together by dark forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. The symbol for Bushcronium is "W." Bushcronium's mass actually increases over time, as morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons in a Bushcronium molecule, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Bushcronium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration.

This hypothetical quantity is referred to as"Critical Morass." When catalyzed with money, Bushcronium activates Foxnewsium, an element that radiates orders of magnitude more energy, albeit as incoherent noise, since it has 1/2 as many peons but twice as many morons.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:18 PM

I think I was unclear.

Most of us have "blind spots" in regards to our own kids. I would hazard a guess that many of us try NOT to get snowed by them, but it happens. That's how it is. Whether we acknowledge it openly or not, there IS an element of luck involved. We simply have to hope that there good sense kicks in before their good luck runs out!

I still don't think much of the Bush family, but I have no doubt that they are much loved by their relatives.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:20 PM

Sigh, I meant to say, "before their good sense", not "there".

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:21 PM

To clarify: Laura Bush was a school librarian, previously a teacher, when she met G.W.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:24 PM

Okay, Arlington Dad. Would you want your children to behave like Chelsea or like the Bush girls? They were an embarrassment to their parents.

And if any kid had a reason to turn to boozing and drugs, it was Chelsea Clinton. Her father was an embarrassment to her. But the kid stood strong during a humiliating epsiode for her family.

As stated by another poster, the Bush girls were simply spoiled brats behaving badly. And of course rich kids who carry on like that do not have to worry about the consequences--they will always get bailed out by a rich daddy.

And I bring it up to point out the hypocrisy of the religious right. Also, to point out that working mothers can raise good kids...we keep hearing how we working mothers are dooming our children (and triple points for me because I am a single mother...according to the Dr. Laura types, my daughter's future is full of sex, drugs and other illicit/illegal behavior).

Posted by: single western mom | May 14, 2007 12:29 PM

Laura Bush is the kind of first lady Americans are comfortable with.

Posted by: Suzy | May 14, 2007 12:33 PM

Do you really mean "she has the drive and 'temerity' to juggle motherhood and demanding full-time executive responsibilities along with supporting her spouse's political career?"

"Temerity" is "a foolhardy disregard of danger; recklessness," and using that word casts an interesting slant on your analysis.

But,I suspect "tenacity" was what you had in mind.

Posted by: Nit Picker | May 14, 2007 12:35 PM

Suzy

"Laura Bush is the kind of first lady Americans are comfortable with."

Not this American. There has always been somehing a little "off" about Laura Bush to me. Call it a weird vibe. Her eyes seem too bright and dilated sometimes.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:37 PM

Laura Bush is the kind of first lady Americans are comfortable with.

Posted by: Suzy |

But why do many/most Americans feel comfortable with her?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:37 PM

Her eyes seem too bright and dilated sometimes.

Like someone has been slipping a little arsenic into her food, to give her some "bloom". It's an old trick by unscrupulous horse dealers.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:38 PM

Reportedly Laura was a noted vendor of "dime-bags" during her college days.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:38 PM

It is not Hillary's assertiveness that I dislike; it's the condescending smugness she conveys. And I dislike it in male politicians, too (examples: Kerry, Cheney).

Posted by: RM | May 14, 2007 12:39 PM

"Reportedly Laura was a noted vendor of "dime-bags" during her college days."

If she was also a user, that might explain her zombie look today and a lot, lot more.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:41 PM

I'm sure you recall how Theresa Heinz thought about Laura Bush's always smiling, dependent, "never held a job" demeanor. No, you didn't mention that? I'm shocked that you wouldn't. After all, you're usually so reasonable and understanding of others' viewpoints than the first knee-jerk defensive reaction you spew out.

Posted by: so tired of you | May 14, 2007 12:46 PM

To Peter dc - - he is more qualified than anyone else running on either side MOST DEFINITELY more qualified than the YALE cheerleader that is currently holding the position now - - that argument has played out - - not a show stopper.

Huh? Are you in the closet with Laura Bush taking meds or are you off yours since when does a discussion about affirmative action automatically tie back to Obama?

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 10:49 AM

I would not be commenting to anyone not on topic here you are obviously not on topic with the article therefore I was not talking to you. There is a post by peter dc that I was responding to. Based on your comments it would be futile to even acknowledge them. You can have your say on it all that you want. I could care less about what you think or feel about affirmative action or anything else for that matter.

Posted by: Dee | May 14, 2007 12:47 PM

Laura Bush still smokes cigarettes. At least Obama's trying to quit, using the nicotine patch.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:54 PM

I notice how noone has mentioned Bill or George in the dicussion of how Chelsea and the Twins turned out. I always thought fathers count.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | May 14, 2007 12:55 PM

SingleWesternMom --

Are Chelsea and the Bush Twins my only choice for how my kids could turn out?

I hope my kids turn out happy and fulfilled. I hope that when they do make mistakes, I can show forgiveness.

I also have to keep in mind that while their Mom and I are a huge influence on them, these kids have their own personalities and will develop their own beliefs and values. Our influence, parenting, and hopes for them do not completely determine whether they turn out -- as you seem to characterize people -- "good" or "bad."

I don't think you can always judge the parent by how the kid turns out. What about the family where one kid's a doctor and the other on is in jail?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 14, 2007 12:57 PM

I notice how noone has mentioned Bill or George in the dicussion of how Chelsea and the Twins turned out. I always thought fathers count.

Posted by: Divorced mom of 1 | May 14, 2007 12:55 PM

Bush girls: apples didn't fall far from the daddy tree.

Chelsea: well, one can only wonder how dealing with her father's very public infidelity will affect her relationships with men.

Posted by: single western mom | May 14, 2007 12:58 PM

And what kind of kids did Barbara Bush raise?

Kids that drank to excess and consumed illegal drugs. I know. I was there.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:58 PM

"Laura Bush still smokes cigarettes. At least Obama's trying to quit, using the nicotine patch."

You gotta wonder why it's taking Laura so long to quit. She must have a few cigs on 9/11, who could blame her?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 12:59 PM

Kate: yes I think the choices you make in life show who you re and who you choose as your spouse says something about you.

Posted by: atlmom | May 14, 2007 1:00 PM

Leslie,
The slant that you gave this shows that you are biased. The suggest that in Michelle's control where the media placed this information was not diplomacy. Then you threw the curve at the end. So where are you coming from? Definitely, not above board. Interesting. It seems lower that I would see myself going in trying to respond. Check your motives

Posted by: Dee | May 14, 2007 1:00 PM

Arlington Dad:

I did qualify my statement with: "Is that a fair analysis of a parent? Perhpas not."

But parents do have the most influence over their children. Yes, there will be outside influences, and parents need to take heed and watch for bad relationships (I have banned my daughter from socializing with bad kids, and she completely understands this).

Also, there are SO many parent who simply do not take delinquent behavior seriously enough. The killers at Columbine had been in trouble with the law and had exhibited serious anti-social behavior; the parents chose to make excuses and ignore the problem. If I recall, Eric Harris was denied entry into the military because his psych exam raised questions. Red flag, anyone?

You raise an interesting point with "What about the family where one kid's a doctor and the other one is in jail?" Anyone remember Mikal and Gary Gilmore? Mikal is a successful writer; Gary Gilmore was the killer who was the subject of "The Executioner's Song." These cases are not the norm; criminal patterns frequently "run in the family." (I work on criminal justice issues professionally; this is what I've been told by cops and court professionals).

Sometimes you have a kid who has bad wiring. I'm getting ready to borrow a book called "The Criminal Mind" that goes into some of this...

Posted by: single western mom | May 14, 2007 1:09 PM

Google "Laura Bush" and "Car Crash", then ask yourself why she gets a free pass while Ted Kennedy gets no end of crap.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:14 PM

SingleWesternMom --

I absolutely agree with you about staying on top of you kids, setting limits, and addressing the red flags.

But I still don't agree with the condemnation of the Bush twins. Their glamorous life isn't easy, and they seem to be outgrowing some of the wildness.

Don't read "The Criminal Mind" right before you go to sleep at night!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 14, 2007 1:18 PM

"And what kind of kids did Barbara Bush raise?"

Bigger question - breast fed or formula?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:18 PM

Laura killed her boyfriend in a car crash as a teenager.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:19 PM

Laura Bush wears contact lenses. That's why her eyes are a little too starey. No, she was never a dealer in drugs. Yes, the car accident that killed a friend was an accident. SHe was not drunk and she didn't wait several hours on the shore before getting help, like Uncle Teddy did at Chapaquidick. The intersection was not signed properly. I suggest you flamers read the book by Ron Kessler, former WaPo reporter.

You dysfunctionals should be so lucky to turn out like Laura did. At least she doesn't tear other people down. So, what did Teresa Heinz Kerry do before she married the ketchup fortune?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:21 PM

My friend's mom banned her from hanging out with one of our friends. It did nothing in the end, we all still hung out together. Banning typically makes forbidden fruit more attractive.
Certainly, kids need their parents but their personality is ingrained from a young age.

Posted by: atlmom | May 14, 2007 1:23 PM

the Bush twins. Their glamorous life isn't easy

Yeah, just ask Paris Hilton what a burden that can be. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:24 PM

I totally disagee with the premise of this blog. Laura Bush is criticized for her choices just as much as Hillary was praised for hers. Different people criticizing, of course, but just as public. Don't you remember that fiasco with Thereza Whoever Whoever, John Kerry's wife? She publicly belittled Laura Bush for not working. Her idea of an apology was to belittle more.

Posted by: carol | May 14, 2007 1:26 PM

Yeah, I'd love to turn out like Laura.

She had this to say last month:

"And believe me, no one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this."

That's a horrendous thing to say given how many of our young men and women are dying and leaving grieving families.

I doubt her sincerity there to say the least. But it is completely consistent with her husband's empty rhetoric.

Oooh, yeah. I so want to be her. /snark.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:26 PM

So, what did Teresa Heinz Kerry do before she married the ketchup fortune?

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 01:21 PM

She was a UN interpreter, fluent in several languages, with graduate training.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:27 PM

"Kate: yes I think the choices you make in life show who you re and who you choose as your spouse says something about you."

Everything you do in life is a choice, and says something about you. This individual choice gets too much attention, and doesn't come into play (in fact, is illegal to ask about) in every other hiring situation. I think the Presidency is different from other jobs--but I don't think that who the person is married to should be the deciding factor. What they will do in office, and how they will uphold that office, is the real question. I want to know how a candidate will lead a country. Who they're married to, and how that affects them, is of minor interest--but is not of primary importance in how I analyze the candidates.

Posted by: Kate | May 14, 2007 1:29 PM

"Laura Bush wears contact lenses. That's why her eyes are a little too starey. "

Huh?

"Yes, the car accident that killed a friend was an accident."

According to the the 2 page report, which doesn't list the speed at which the Laura was driving.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:29 PM

Laura Bush seems to be a nice lady, but I am a little more ambitious than simply wanting to marry rich.

Posted by: single western mom | May 14, 2007 1:29 PM

Laura Bush was an old maid librarian, by the Texas standards of her era (though probably not ours today). You have to wonder what was wrong with her that she couldn't get a husband in her 20s, back when that was standard operating procedure for college grad young women. Not sayin' it's right, just that that's how it was back then, especially in the South.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:34 PM

"Google "Laura Bush" and "Car Crash", then ask yourself why she gets a free pass while Ted Kennedy gets no end of crap."

Maybe because the circumstances were completely different, and she didn't leave anyone to suffocate in the footwell of a car for hours while she wandered aimlessly. "Crap" is nothing compared to what anyone other than a Kennedy would have gotten.

Posted by: Alisa | May 14, 2007 1:34 PM

Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush, Jenna Bush, Chelsea Clinton, Thersa Heinz-Kerry... are there any more political wives and daughters we can trash-talk?

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 14, 2007 1:36 PM

At least ONE Of the Bush twins should show support for their Daddy's war by at least dating a military officer who is stationed in Iraq. Like Linda Bird Johnson did when she was dating (and then marrying) a marine officer -- who then became Senator Chuck Robb from VA -- during Vietnam.

Better yet, one could even ENLIST and show us how red, white and blue the Bush family really is (rather than white and green. Oops. Sorry, that's Saudia Arabia...)

Posted by: Lurkerfortoday | May 14, 2007 1:37 PM

I'm a little tired of Laura Bush's teacher/librarian image. She taught for two years, got her master's in library science, then was a school librarian for five years (two different school districts). She quit when she married W. in 1977; the twins were born in 1981. She hasn't worked in a school or library in 30 years.

I'm sure she has sat on various library boards and charity boards since marrying into the well-connected Bush clan. I'm not sure how much of this experience has been of the Junior League luncheon variety vs. real accomplishment (not that I'm saying there aren't some Jr. League women out there making real contributions--I'm sure mileage varies with that).

I'm just saying that L.B. seems as disingenuous as any other politician's spouse.

I doubt we'll ever know the full story behind the fatal car accident she caused when she was 17. She ran a stop sign and did have a reputation as a lead-foot. She was not charged. I suppose back then in Texas, it was thought that the knowledge that she caused a fatal accident was punishment enough for a 17-year-old girl. Times were different. If there was something uglier in the background of that accident, I'm sure it would have been pretty easy for the Bushes to hush-hush that in Midland once she married into the family.

Posted by: Marian | May 14, 2007 1:38 PM

"Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush, Jenna Bush, Chelsea Clinton, Thersa Heinz-Kerry... are there any more political wives and daughters we can trash-talk?"

I personally never cared much for that Mary Todd Lincoln.

Posted by: Really Old Guy | May 14, 2007 1:42 PM

Really Old Guy -- word on the street is that Martha Washington made a fortune off that first husband.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 14, 2007 1:44 PM

Mamie was dizzy a lot.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:45 PM

yea, and it's like Laura is W's cousin, because that would be weird in the White House.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 14, 2007 1:50 PM

Jackie Kennedy was a closet smoker until her death and received speed injections (along with JKF) while in the White House.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:50 PM

Eleanor was butt ugly! (maybe that is why FDR loved his martinis so much!)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:51 PM

Eleanor was the niece of Teddy Roosevelt. FDR calculated that her higher social standing would help him in his political career.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:53 PM

Amy Carter has an arrest record for picketing someplace. Carter's sons were nasty toward their Secret Service agents. What can we say about BIlly Carater and Miz Lillian? Jackie Kennedy smoked like a chimney. Reagan's son Ronnie is light in the loafers. Betty Ford had a drug and drinking problem before she opened her clinic, and then lo and behold she became a saint. FDR's sons went through several wives each. Grant's wife was cross-eyed. Nelson Rockefeller was found in someone else's bed after he died. Any more dirt you want to dig up about the leaders of our great nation -- and their families?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 1:58 PM

Grant's wife was cross-eyed.

Oh, the horror, the shame.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:03 PM

Amy Carter has an arrest record for picketing someplace.

Was it against South African apartheid?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:04 PM

Amy Carter has an arrest record for picketing someplace.

Was it against South African apartheid?

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 02:04 PM


What difference should that make?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:07 PM

"Carter's sons were nasty toward their Secret Service agents. What can we say about BIlly Carater and Miz Lillian?"

Hold on now, the blog topic today seems to attacking female relatives of presidents.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | May 14, 2007 2:07 PM

Miz Lillian Carter served as a Peace Corps volunteer in India after retiring as a nurse.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:10 PM

So I'm not sure what your point was in listing those people, except that they were all Republicans and you wanted to take a partisan slam at them. . . .

What does being a Governor have to do with Senator Obama?

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 11:34 AM

I'd have thought that you'd notice the prominent mention of former President Clinton, but maybe you were too busy seeking partisan snark to read carefully. I'm a registered Republican with an interest in accuracy. What does being governor have to do with Obama? The original post to which I responded suggested that Obama was unqualified and stated that Carter was the most similarly unqualified candidate in recent history.

If you're determined to look for partisanship, you can more easily find it elsewhere all over the board today.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:12 PM

People, pu - leaze. what does any of this have to do with balance?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:21 PM

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:25 PM

Off topic for today:
Has anyone seen The Heidi Chronicles? If so, what did you think? I saw it yesterday and was rather disappointed at the ending.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | May 14, 2007 2:27 PM

wow-lots of anon posters and very few regulars today. No wonder it is all big time flame.

And I define regulars as posters with names I recognize.

Posted by: dotted | May 14, 2007 2:29 PM

Miz Lillian used to have a shot of booze every afternoon. LBJ attempted to climb into the bed of a female journalist staying at the ranch while writing a book about him. FDR allegedly was having an affair with his secretary. JFK's old man made his money bootlegging.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:37 PM

It's really somewhat amusing reading some of the commentary...

Growing up my mother's side of my family was extremely blue-collar -- they all worked manufacturing lines for unions. My father [first generation college for his family] graduated as a teacher and then got his law degree at night and became a lawyer.

In my mother's family, my father didn't 'work' for a living -- since there was no manual labor involved. I remember loud arguments that attempted to distinguish people who 'worked' with people who didn't.

So now we discuss which moms 'work' and which ones do not. A mom who is sells perfume 20 hours a week at the mall [so she can get the cheap discounts] 'works', but the first lady doesn't work. The mom who volunteers 20 hours at the school each week doesn't work, but the mom who is a pre-school aid for 20 hours each week does.

sigh.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:38 PM

How about Thomas Jefferson?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:38 PM

Clearly, one can dig up dirt on anyone. One reason, I think, that we don't have our best leaders running for office these days. It is a pity.

Posted by: atlmom | May 14, 2007 2:40 PM

(comment from a regular)

I do not know why Leslie would be so "stun(ned)" by this being front page news. This is front page news because Obama is front page news. I do not see much of a controversy here. She is going out to help her spouse in an election.

Posted by: Fred | May 14, 2007 2:41 PM

Nancy Reagan and fortune tellers?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:44 PM

LBJ attempted to climb into the bed of a female journalist staying at the ranch while writing a book about him.

That was Doris Kearns (now Goodwin).

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:44 PM

Governors brought us the Iran-Contra scandal, and the international embarrassment of torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

Vote on political philosophy, and the person best qualified to be Commander in Chief. Don't vote for a candidate simply because he has had more years to run a state budget or to consider multiple earmarks.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:45 PM

"wow-lots of anon posters and very few regulars today. No wonder it is all big time flame.

And I define regulars as posters with names I recognize"

Lighten up - the "regulars" don't own this blog, and until Leslie starts erasing all the so called "anonymous" posts, some will choose to post with no names - get over it!

Posted by: kisses | May 14, 2007 2:49 PM

I agree with Fred. This is news because it applies to a major candidate, who has established his "major" status by the amount of money he has raised (which is about the only way to measure status this far before the election).

We can't say for sure whether the same standard would apply to the husband of a major female candidate, because the only person who fits that criteria has a "job" that doesn't require he quit it to go out on the campaign trail for his wife.

I don't think that front-page status for this is news.

I don't think this is really going to hurt Michelle Obama's career, regardless of whether her husband wins or loses the election, particularly given her career field.

Posted by: Army Brat | May 14, 2007 2:49 PM

Talk about much ado about nothing!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 2:51 PM

Michelle Obama will be either 1st Lady or 1st VP Lady, unless Hillary loses the White House for the Dems. She seems to genuinely want to campaign and meet 'we the people'. It will be a heart opening and valuable experience for her future job.

Posted by: GR | May 14, 2007 2:59 PM

Michelle Obama is boring.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 3:03 PM

Michelle Obama is boring.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 03:03 PM

So which of the other candidate wives do you think would make better 1st Ladies?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 3:05 PM

Michelle Obama is boring.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 03:03 PM

kisses, right. we wouldn't want to miss out on contributions like deep thinker 3:03's.

Posted by: sarah | May 14, 2007 3:06 PM

It's a move borne from political desperation. It was assumed before the campaign season began that Hillary would draw much of her support from women voters, and that Obama would draw strong support from the African-American community. Hillary is well ahead of Obama with both constituencies: she polls extremely well among women, and is holding serve (or better) among African-Americans. According to a poll released yesterday by the Tampa-St. Pete Times, for example, Hillary leads Obama among African-American voters in Florida.

Inserting Michelle Obama, an African-American woman, into the race full-time at this juncture is the obvious move for the Obama campaign.

Posted by: Berkeley Vox | May 14, 2007 3:08 PM

LOL at 12:18. Needed that.

Disclaimer: my laughing at a joke does not make me for or against either party, it just means I can laugh at things. ;-P

Posted by: Chris | May 14, 2007 3:14 PM

It's a move borne from political reality. As more states move their primaries earlier and earlier, the real race - the one for the nomination - only has 6 - 8 more months to it. Each family has to give a full-time commitment now because most of them will have a lot of time on their hands by March 1, 2008.

Posted by: MN | May 14, 2007 3:14 PM

Making the rounds on the internet today: The photo of the back of a septic tank truck with words on the back:

CAUTION -- Vehicle may be transporting political promises.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 3:19 PM

So which of the other candidate wives do you think would make better 1st Ladies?

Bill Clinton, but then that would mean that Hillary was president.

Posted by: scarry | May 14, 2007 3:22 PM

3:14, didn't you get the memo? The primaries were moved back in space and time to Rome on 18 July, 64 AD. Unfortunately there was a big fire and all the votes were lost. Luckily, the retroactive precident has been (will be) set (time travel parodoxes are confusing you know) and the Supreme Court will sift through and discard any votes with hanging ash (all of them), and tell us who our new leader will be.

Posted by: Chris | May 14, 2007 3:23 PM

Chris, Next you can explain the premise of the original Terminator. I get so confused by time-travel paradoxes.

Posted by: MN | May 14, 2007 3:27 PM


Chris

"3:14, didn't you get the memo? The primaries were moved back in space and time to Rome on 18 July, 64 AD. Unfortunately there was a big fire and all the votes were lost. Luckily, the retroactive precident has been (will be) set (time travel parodoxes are confusing you know) and the Supreme Court will sift through and discard any votes with hanging ash (all of them), and tell us who our new leader will be."

Ha, ha! And Cardinal Wolsey will preside over us all!!
|

Posted by: Bessie Blount | May 14, 2007 3:27 PM

"So which of the other candidate wives do you think would make better 1st Ladies?"

As long as the job description is limited to, (a) have cute ankles, (b) don't cause a scandal, and (c) hire and fire the White House chef, who cares?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 3:35 PM

Leslie, I don't think this has anything to do with Americans' views of working women, career women or stay-at-home mothers or anything like that.
I think this is all about the weird and archaic position that is "First Lady." What in the name of Caesar's wife is that unpaid job supposed to be about nowadays? And I don't just mean in the White House; the concept of a "first lady" at the state and city level is also a throwback. Kind of like white gloves and pillbox hats.
As more women are elected as governors and mayors, maybe the "first lady" title will fade into distant memory. We can only hope.
(Oh, Chris, thanks for the update on the primary schedule. That explains a lot!)

Posted by: anon mom | May 14, 2007 3:38 PM

Does this mean that Bill will wear pillbox hats and white gloves if Hillary is elected?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 3:42 PM

"wow-lots of anon posters and very few regulars today. No wonder it is all big time flame.

And I define regulars as posters with names I recognize"

Do you really believe that 'regulars' don't post anonymously at times? Especially when politics are involved?

Posted by: to dotted | May 14, 2007 3:46 PM

Late to the game as always, but I'm inclined to agree with anon Mom at 3:38, and those who have commented on what the role of the First Lady is. As 3:35 put it, "the job description is limited to, (a) have cute ankles, (b) don't cause a scandal, and (c) hire and fire the White House chef."

Other than making (a) something gender nuetral, I'm not sure that I think it should be changed a whole heck of a lot. The spouse of the president is not who is elected, and I'm not especially comfortable with the idea that the First Lady or Gentlemen should be able to use the position to advance particular policy initiatives or other personal "agendas" as they say. That's why I think people are more comfortable with the demur first ladies than with Hillary Clinton - sure, I'm sure there are gender biases and so on, but I think a lot of it is discomfort with the complicated power the person in that position has.

Posted by: Megan | May 14, 2007 3:58 PM

HIlary has really ugly legs. Thank God for pant suits.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 3:58 PM

"Does this mean that Bill will wear pillbox hats and white gloves if Hillary is elected?"

I sure hope so!

Posted by: Megan | May 14, 2007 3:59 PM

Fred-I echoed your comment earlier this morning. The rage of comments referring to pillboxes, other president wives and historical references continued a spate.

My simple comment about the ratio of anon to regular names brings out silly kneejerk reactions

Posted by: dotted | May 14, 2007 4:02 PM

Enough trash talking past first ladies. Isn't the point here about the election and the current crop of potentials? Which one in the current group has the nastiest past? Can't say I know but I'd put $$ on Mrs. Guiliani. And you'd have to include Bill on this one. Umm, he might get the big prize. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't take a hard look at the ladies.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 4:03 PM

Fred- that was my attempt at some culture.

Off Topic Alert
-Anyone else read "Wicked: the story of the Wicked Witch of the West"? I had to use a dicitionary for some of those words.

Posted by: dotted | May 14, 2007 4:04 PM

I firmly believe that regulars post anonymously at times.

"My simple comment about the ratio of anon to regular names brings out silly kneejerk reactions"

Why is my belief a 'silly kneejerk reaction'?

Posted by: to dotted | May 14, 2007 4:07 PM

But, megan, the first lady has a lot of exposure, so to speak. No, they are not elected, but they do have a lot of power to have an agenda. And I'm not sure that I have a problem with them using that exposure to put light on some issues. I think one of the issues that people had with hillary was that she was not elected and she was coming in there telling us that she was going to just fix our health care system-she clearly had an agenda and it was controversial at best. But the idea of a first lady having an agenda that would help children or something like that (what if hillary had come in and done something like start a foundation to help kids with cancer? Rather than say she was going to take on one of the most complicated issues of our time?).

Posted by: atlmom | May 14, 2007 4:08 PM

Dotted, I did read that - it was good! I had to use the dictionary too (although not nearly as much as I did in "Mating" by Normal Rush, which so far holds the prize for most dictionary time for me). I also wished while I was reading Wicked that I could remember more about the original Oz book and the political allegories - I felt like I missed a lot.

Posted by: Megan | May 14, 2007 4:08 PM

to dotted: because you didn't sign your handle-unless your handle is "to dotted" (in which case I'm deeply honored, but I must decline the honor)? because it was so predictable (someone always posts what you wrote)?

If you become "to dotted", can I become "Megan's Neighbor's Neighbor"? :=)))))) (big grin here)

Posted by: dotted | May 14, 2007 4:13 PM

Atlmom - exactly, she has a ton of exposure, and a lot of subtle authority and power. I think we basically are in agreement - Hillary tried to use that position to further actual policies. Other First Ladies have highlighted issues but not taken it so far as to try to push actual policy changes. It's a fine line, but in the end I don't really think it's appropriate to go much beyond highlighting and bringing attention to certain issues. Even in the realm of foundation or non-profit work, there's all sorts of potential for abuse of power that I think any first lady would have to be very careful of. I think that's got to be enormously frustrating and unfair to any ambitious person in that role - like Hillary - but I jsut don't see being comfortable with much more than that. I guess it's like nepotism at its finest when you get beyond that.

Posted by: Megan | May 14, 2007 4:14 PM

OTA-

Megan, I remember one of the OZ books. Basically an allegory of gold standard effect on midwest farmers, eastern bankers, rise of machinery...Very turn of the century. But evidently, there are a whole slew of Oz books.

Strangely, there were echoes of Frank Herbert (Dune: Ambassador of Ix reference) and Stephen King (tictocs). Though Herbert and King were actually echoing Baum.

Maybe this isn't so offtopic because the books talk about how women must be witches, and not acknowlege children, to have power...

Posted by: dotted | May 14, 2007 4:18 PM

In my mind, I just pictured Bill in a pillbox hat and white gloves. I don't know whether to roll on the floor laughing or scratch out my eyes.
Anyhoo. . .I do also note that Miss Manners recently ran a column in which the questioner wanted to know whom to thank for a dinner that was hosted by a (female) office-holder and her husband. Miss Manners responded that in the old days, you always considered the wife of the office-holder to be the main hostess of such an event. And even in the modern days, when the wife might be the office-holder rather than the husband, you consider the woman to be the main hostess of such an event. Even Miss Manners conceded that this convention was archaic, but she said that's just the way it is.
It does seem archaic, and not even now, in 2007. Don't you think that Golda Meir had other things to worry about than arranging the details of state dinners?

Posted by: anon mom | May 14, 2007 4:19 PM

The one thing about Laura Bush I could never understand is why she married George W.
She is simply too good for him.

Posted by: Lisa1 | May 14, 2007 4:20 PM

dotted - yes!! What a fine idea, Neighbor!

to to dotted at 4:07, the silly kneejerk reaction is from kisses at 2:49, "the "regulars" don't own this blog". dotted commented on the big-time flame factor and attributed it to the sheer quantity of anon posts, and got a property-rights argument. Your firm belief is nowhere in sight.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 14, 2007 4:20 PM

Dotted, yes, there were a ton of Oz books. I actually had to read a bunch of them in high school for a play I was in (my character was insane and thought she was one of the Oz characters who shows up in later books). By the time I read Wicked though, I had forgotten most of the detail and what the political allegory was - I thought that some of it had to do with currency policy as well, but anyway. I just had the feeling while I was reading Wicked that there was more to it than I was picking up. It's like when I know there's a biblical reference in a book but I don't know exactly what the significance is because my knowledge of the bible is so poor.

I read recently in the NYT that there was a musical of Wicked that attracted scores of young girls, who were generally dismayed that the ugly, green skinned Elphaba turned out to be the true heroine - perhaps there's a balance issue there too.

Posted by: Megan | May 14, 2007 4:23 PM

Megan: agreed!

Just like maria shriver quitting her job when she originally thought she would be able to keep it. Not really fair to her but obviously her and hubby arnold figured out what was best for their family.

Posted by: atlmom | May 14, 2007 4:24 PM

She is simply too good for him.

Posted by: Lisa1 | May 14, 2007 04:20 PM

She smokes, killed her boyfriend in a car crash (speeding?), dealt drugs in college, couldn't catch a husband till her 30s. Great catch.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 4:26 PM

"couldn't catch a husband till her 30s"

Mona, care to comment?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 4:29 PM

to dotted and kisses: Love you both. Why don't we start our own "regular" postings and take over this blog like the others who know who they are. Can't imagine a more innane topic than a "Wicked", but hey, we don't own the blog, yet.

Any other takers? I kinda liked the thread above about first kids and their behavior (seemed a bit more relevant about first families than Wicked -- to me, anywy), and I really do want to know (cf anonymous early on today) which rich boys the Bush girls will marry so they can be the ultimate trophy wives. Certainly won't be a military type, IMHO.

Any takers? Come on...

Posted by: lurkerfortoday | May 14, 2007 4:30 PM

Predict the Bush girls will marry the kind of guys who escort debutantes.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 4:34 PM

Why don't we start our own "regular" postings and take over this blog like the others who know who they are

how's that working out there, hotrod?

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 4:56 PM

"Are Americans threatened by working wives? Reassured by traditional ones?"

Leslie Morgan Steiner, observes "it stuns me that Ms. Obama's decision to quit her job is front page, national news. The spotlight shined on the work status of first ladies--actual and potential--seems to mirror Americans' obsession with working and stay-at-home motherhood."

If I'm less shocked, it goes back to my involvement in that debate for half a century.

As editor of a women's magazine I worked with Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem and saw the curious ambivalence about women's changing roles in our society.

The transition from the traditional pre-WWII housewife-mother to today's independent multi-tasking woman has been remarkable, but it has been accompanied by an odd rhetorical reluctance.

In surveys and studies, Americans of both sexes embrace the realities but resist the labels of feminism and the women's movement. It's as if there is some security in clinging to classifications of the past while living out a present that offers so many more choices, particularly to the well-educated.

That may be behind what makes Michelle Obama's change "newsworthy." It's perfectly natural for her to take time out from her career to help her husband seek the most important job in the world. If the situation were reversed, he would do the same for her, but it wouldn't make headlines.

The persistence of that curious phrase "First Lady" reflects such backwardness. The truth is, if Barack Obama is elected, Michelle Obama will be the President's wife, just as, if Hillary Clinton is, Bill Clinton would be the President's husband.

Both spouses would not lose their other identities, but Ms. Obama would have to fight harder to keep hers.

http://ajliebling.blogspot.com


Posted by: Robert Stein | May 14, 2007 4:56 PM

Thanks MN...I knew you were around somewhere! And you were reading my mind...again.

Megan-it boggled my mind to read this book after a)being terrified by the witch at the tender age of 6, and b)considering the effect of turning things around: when applied to myself working at what I consider normally in engineering, was not considered normal for so many generations.

lurker-I hope the twins marry someone they love and loves them for themselves. That is the best I can wish for anyone.

Posted by: dotted | May 14, 2007 4:57 PM

She is simply too good for him.

Posted by: Lisa1 | May 14, 2007 04:20 PM

She smokes, killed her boyfriend in a car crash (speeding?), dealt drugs in college, couldn't catch a husband till her 30s. Great catch.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 04:26 PM

Who knew there was anyone under 90 still using the phrase, "couldn't catch a husband"? 4:26's post is Exhibit A for all those women who think feminism accomplished its goals and is passe.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 4:59 PM

to dotted and kisses: Love you both. Why don't we start our own "regular" postings and take over this blog like the others who know who they are. Can't imagine a more innane topic than a "Wicked", but hey, we don't own the blog, yet."

Posted by: lurkerfortoday | May 14, 2007 04:30 PM

the beauty of the Internet, lurker, is you can take over whenever you can come up with a topic. Can't imagine a more inane topic than Michele Obama, but, hey, we don't own the blog yet.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 5:01 PM

Who knew there was anyone under 90 still using the phrase, "couldn't catch a husband"? 4:26's post is Exhibit A for all those women who think feminism accomplished its goals and is passe.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 04:59 PM


Not my thinking, just the way lots of people used to think back when Laura was in her 20s and still single.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 5:04 PM

Predict the Bush girls will marry the kind of guys who escort debutantes.

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 04:34 PM

I suspect Jenna and Barbara Bush will choose very different guys. Let's hope they each date their spouses for longer than the three months Laura dated GW before marrying him.

Posted by: MN | May 14, 2007 5:08 PM

Continued OTA
Dotted, there's a sequel out too - "Son of a Witch" - haven't read that yet but I think I will check it out. Interesting about how you saw it applied to your own situation - speaking of women taking on traditionally male roles, there's an article on Slate about Grace O'Malley, an Irish pirate/maritime legend in the 1500's (also the subject of a new musical) who sounds fascinating.

Posted by: Megan | May 14, 2007 5:09 PM

Darn it. Got sidelined by witches. I'll try again tomorrow.

But, unlike some posters today, I do think that knowing more about Michele Obama's career and choices is quite interesting. And incredibly relevant. Now I'd like to know about all the rest -- especially the Mrs. Guiliani III. Because yes, I do think a person's spouse is an important factor in my decision. Why? Because picking spouses is a way of assessing someone's judgment -- good or bad. As for Obama, I say A+. Seems to me that Michele is someone who has found balance -- and different kinds of balance for different times in her life. Isn't that what this blog is supposed to be about? Or am I just being silly.

Posted by: lurlerfortoday | May 14, 2007 5:18 PM

"Darn it. Got sidelined by witches. I'll try again tomorrow."

I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. The fact that Dotted and I are discussing a book is not preventing anyone from responding to your proposed topic, and in fact, several people have responded. And many people, including myself and Dotted, have posted about the original topic.

Posted by: Megan | May 14, 2007 5:22 PM

tickles

Posted by: test | May 14, 2007 5:32 PM

Its pure devaluing of women, and I say that as husband, brother and father. Our society devalues the importance of anything that is non-white and male. A successful lady of any color must be on hell of a woman in hs country. even if they rode daddy's coat tells, just like many of these boy, the women are held to a much differnt standard.

Posted by: RobGreg | May 14, 2007 5:35 PM

tickles

Posted by: test | May 14, 2007 05:32 PM

WTF??

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 5:41 PM

"Darn it. Got sidelined by witches. I'll try again tomorrow."

Cat got your keyboard? It's not Jeopardy, you know, where someone else can stop you from commenting.

Posted by: to lurker for today | May 14, 2007 5:42 PM

"Fred- that was my attempt at some culture...."

Posted by: dotted | May 14, 2007 04:04 PM

Culture in the hands of novices is a dangerous thing. Let the master show you how...

Posted by: Fred | May 14, 2007 6:01 PM

Hillary is a first class human being and has spent most of her adult life helping other people -- women, children, people with HIV. Those who say she has no people skills have clearly never met her. She is charming, enthusiastic and polite.
Hillary had to quit her job as an attorney when Bill ran for President, partially to help him run his campaign and partly because almost any job as a lawyer in Washington, DC would have a conflict of interest with her family. She did work hard for free while her husband was in office.
I suspect Mrs. Obama's motivation was the same as Hillary's. She will be needed in the campaign and she is smart enough to be helpful, not just an arm decoration. I can't imagine trying to work if my husband were running for President. The only way to see your spouse in a campaign is to travel with him.
As for Laura Bush, she was not a stay at home wife, she was a teacher and then a librarian, I am pretty sure in that order. She, too, quit her job when her husband was running, probably for the same reasons as the others.
Laura Bush gets credit for being nicer than Hillary because she never speaks out on contentious issues and in fact she is not fond of speaches and TV appearances. I believe that is her personality, but it is my opinion that the Republican party prefers that kind of woman for First Lady.
I think many men are threatened, not by women working, but by women being more successful than they are. And both Hillary and Mrs. Obama are more successful than most men in the world. But Ms. Obama isn't running for anything and Hillary is, but both will be the focus of many nasty remarks and much curiousity because they are brilliant women.
Laura Bush may be brilliant as well, but she hasn't pushed to get ahead. That's okay with me and obvious with her husband's party.
I think the kind of person the candidate for President is married to says a lot about that person. It is reasonable for the public to want to know about spouses an children.
I think all of these women are terrific. But only one is running for office and so she gets the most grief. Talk about successful!

Posted by: Southern Girl | May 14, 2007 6:02 PM

The Cultural Tidbit of the Day

Today is the birthday of my sainted mother. She has gone on to that big orchestra in the sky.

Posted by: Fred | May 14, 2007 6:03 PM

I guess I shouldn't be surprised how politicized this decision is. Strikes me as an easy one, and not "feminist" "racial" or "making sure one looks like a wifey".

The way I see it: Hmm, my spouse is going to be on the road for the next year and a half (give or take) with the cameras on us 24-7. In today's day and age, you can't run for president as a hobby. No aspect of our lives is going to be left alone. We have two small children who may like to see their father in the next year. We decided when we got married that we were going to have and be a family. So it's home-school the kids on the bus and teach them about the country as we go. We stick together. It has nothing to do with me being female or "too corporate".

I know several women who have high powered jobs and their husbands take the lousy job, the part time job, pack up and move each time they move, cook dinner, do the daycare stuff, etc. This is what options are about -- what's best for you and your family. Someone needs to earn money and be the one with the hard-driven career, someone needs to be the primary household custodian. Just don't tell me who it has to be based on someone else's factors. Maybe they're both going to be me -- ask a single mom sometime.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 6:13 PM

This is the silliest question asked in a long time. A woman these days can do what she thinks best. She doesn't have to fit someone else's stereotype. This is being as self rightouesly debated as Elizabeth Edwards' decision. If Michelle Obama decides she feels better focusing her time and talents on this rather than that, surely it is her well-earned right. As for making news, good grief, a new hairdo makes front page news these days.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 6:23 PM

The Cultural Tidbit of the Day

Today is the birthday of my sainted mother. She has gone on to that big orchestra in the sky.

Posted by: Fred | May 14, 2007 06:03 PM

It's not a cultural tidbit unless you tell us what instrument she played and her favorite classical piece.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 6:23 PM

Sainted Mother played the clarinet and could play all the woodwinds. Of course, her favorite composition is by Jacques Offenbach, "Gendarmes' Duet" from the opera "Geneviève de Brabant"

Posted by: Fred | May 14, 2007 6:32 PM

tickles

Posted by: test | May 14, 2007 05:32 PM

WTF??

Posted by: | May 14, 2007 05:41 PM

Beats the heck out of me...

Posted by: Anonymous | May 14, 2007 7:10 PM

As for Laura Bush, she was not a stay at home wife, she was a teacher and then a librarian, I am pretty sure in that order. She, too, quit her job when her husband was running.
__________

She quit her school librarian position in 1977, the year she married W, to help him with a local political campaign. She had the twins in 1981 and stayed home to raise them/participated in committees/supported W's career. She has not worked as a teacher (total 2 years, pre-marriage) or a school librarian (total 5 years, pre-marriage) in 30 years.

I think it's stretching it to portray herself as either a teacher or a librarian.

Posted by: Marian | May 14, 2007 7:16 PM

Fred,

Happy Birthday to your sainted mother. I expect she's listening to the voices of angels.

Posted by: Marian | May 14, 2007 7:31 PM

Master Fred-
I bow to your CTOTD and to your mom. She raised a wonderful son.

Posted by: dotted (aka the novice) | May 14, 2007 9:14 PM

Fred, yet again, your sainted mother shows how she earned her wings.

Happy Birthday, Fred's Mom!

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | May 14, 2007 10:00 PM

According to KLB's definition Laura Bush would be "working class. If you feel a Nurse is then a Librarian certainly would also be one. She married up , money wise not brain wise. In reality, since both jobs require a degree thay are not working class. I suspect that Michelle's current career amd her role in Baraka's campaign are taking up alot of time. And she does have her 2 kids. With her credentials and visibility, she will have no problem in the future if her husband does not win.

Posted by: AJ | May 14, 2007 11:39 PM

Fred: Better late than never, happy memories to you of your sainted mother on the anniversary of her birth.

Posted by: catlady | May 14, 2007 11:40 PM

"Actually, Reagan had at least double the credentials of Carter - two terms as governor, to one (or 8 years to 4 if you prefer). You can argue about whether the size of the state makes a difference or not."

Let's back up a bit. Reagan did not have double the credentials of Carter as you put it. Carter attended the United States Naval Academy and served as a naval officer (I think in the nuclear navy). Reagan attended Eureka College and then afterwards went on to become a radio personality and actor.

Though Reagan may have had more direct political experience, you cannot say that the two mean were of equivalent backgrounds.

Posted by: Navy Wife | May 14, 2007 11:41 PM

Happy belated Birthday to you late mother, Fred.

Here are some musician jokes, in her honour:

What's the purpose of the bell on a bass clarinet?
Storing the ashes from the rest of the instrument.

How do you prevent an oboe from being stolen?
Put it in a clarinet case.

What does "accelerando" mean?
Hurry up, the conductor skipped another page, again!

What's the difference between an orchestra and a freight train?
A freight train needs its conductor!

What's the difference between God and a conductor?
God knows He's not a conductor.

What's the difference between alto clef and Greek?
Some conductors actually read Greek.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | May 15, 2007 8:34 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company