The calm-spirited Laura Bush
Does Laura Bush ever raise her voice?
Looking for hints of it in her new book, “Spoken from the Heart,” is a pretty futile undertaking. It seems strange that for a woman who was in the center of one of the most acrimonious – and disputed -- elections in history, rode through eight years of intense partisanship, was herself treated roughly by the media and, by the way, had a husband who early in her marriage regularly knocked back a few too many bourbons, beers and B&Bs – for all that, Laura Bush still seems hardly able to muster anything more than an aghast gee-whiz at egregious misconduct or a wrong done her or her husband .
During a 2004 presidential debate, John Kerry answered a question about gay marriage by wheeling in a reference to Dick Cheney’s lesbian daughter Mary. In her book due out next week and which The Washington Post acquired from a book store, Laura Bush writes about the reactions of everyone around her – her daughters gasped, Lynne Cheney was furious. Laura’s outburst over the matter? “Lynne called it ‘cheap and tawdry,’ and it was.”
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attacked her husband as an “incompetent leader” and a person with “no judgment, no experience and no knowledge of the subjects that he has decided upon,” Laura Bush was, well, upset. After also noting Sen. Harry Reid’s characterization of the president as a “loser” and a “liar,” Laura summed up her own reaction this way: “Of course, I hated hearing all those terrible things said about my husband.”
Laura, please, throw something.
When George W. Bush was made the whipping boy of the 2008 campaign, Laura Bush took note. She wished that Barack Obama understood that it wasn’t right to criticize a man in the Oval Office who faces the world’s tragedies and challenges every day. “It got so that even the weather seemed to be George’s fault,” she writes, deftly controlling what must have been her own thunderclap of rage.
Anyone who has witnessed the turmoil of an alcoholic’s home will wonder, Where was the molten ire over George’s struggle with drink? She writes that people thought it was funny when someone else’s husband had too much to drink, “But I didn’t think it was funny when mine did. And I told him so. … I let him know that I thought he could be a better man.”
And he did become a much better man – he grew up to be president.
Steven E. Levingston
April 28, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
| Tags: first lady's memoir, laura bush's memoir, speaking from the heart
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