Saturday, August 14, 2004

Do First Ladies Matter?

I was watching the President and Mrs. Laura Bush give an interview on Larry King Live last night. I couldn't help but be struck by the differences between Laura Bush and Teresa Heinz Kerry. It's like the difference between the Queen of England and some trashy wench with a foul mouth.

I'll let you decide who I think is who.

Laura Bush is well spoken. Calm and level headed. Even when she was talking about being offended by things people said about her husband, she said it very nicely as if she were scolding small children. No harsh words. No "shove it" or "4 years of hell" or "Kerry is an idiot". She said that she knew in politics, particularly when the race was this close and close to the end, that she understands this is normal. It only bothers her because it's her husband and she believes in him.

You think anything that nice would come out of Mrs. Heinz-Kerry's mouth?

The other thing that was noticable was her understanding of what was going on with some of the politics. For instance, Larry King brought up the "stem cell research" issue. She was very quick to point out that there was not really a "ban" on stem cell research from embryos. President Bush was the first to authorize any federal funding for this research. It was taking place, but only on stem cell tracks that were already established.

The President chimed in at that point and said that there were already numerous stem cell paths in play for research being funded by the federal government and that these could produce hundreds of research projects because each stem cell path could produce hundreds of addtional cell paths for review. If these became played out, then it would be up to the government to authorize more funding, but it was definitely an ethical issue since the government had, as yet, to define legally where life began and he understands that's an issue because it would change many other laws about abortion and murder of pregnant mothers, etc. So, in the meantime, he believes it should be supported, but only limited until any decision was made on the subject.

Then, Mrs. Bush explained something that I didn't even know. The government did not place any restrictions on privately funded embryo stem cell research. The private sector could do all it wanted. It's just the government is only funding certain strains.

You know, I was concerned about the government putting restrictions on scientific or medical research. Now I understand the issue a little better and can support their position. One less thing for me to be annoyed about on the Republican agenda.

Do you think that Mrs. Heinz-Kerry could do so well in explaining the situation?

Also, did you know that Laura Bush's father died with Alzheimers? She said she can perfectly relate to people's concerns on this because it is a horrible disease for both the sufferer and their family.

Larry King asked her later on if the wives of the candidates are important. Should that influence people's votes. She replied, no, that it is about the candidates and what they stand for. People should believe in the candidates and their agendas if they are going to vote for them. Of course, she understood citizens being interested in the candidates families as part of their history.

At which point, President Bush chimes in and says something like, "they do matter" because marrying Laura showed how smart he was. He said (and has said often) that it was the smartest thing he ever did. That he married above himself.

You gotta know that it is a smart man that knows that the woman beside him makes part of him, shows his character. Further, he's right, because she helped him redefine himself. Find his faith. Quit his party days. Like many a man before and after him.

Frankly, Laura Bush answered the question correctly, but, I am of the opinion, that the First Lady or potential First Lady of the President is important.

If you look at the candidates today, we have a choice between class and crass. Faith and hate. Humble and elitist entitlement.

Let's face it. Teresa Heinz-Kerry is no model of propriety or humble support of her husband. Hillary Clinton, as First Lady, had more class than this chick in her little finger and she was always mixing it up in her husband's politics. Of course, she was married to Bill Clinton. Enough said?

Basically, the President and Laura Bush came off exactly as they appear to be. People of simple beliefs and strong convictions.

One other point. Laura Bush is more a lady with her simple and humble background than Teresa Heinz-Kerry's finishing school, Mediteranean, privileged background ever had a chance at making her. Obviously, money does not make the lady.

I know this may be killing some of my feminist friends. I am for strong women. Strong women does not mean just the corporate hotshotters that are trying to climb the ladder. Even when I spout off here in the blog world with some foul language and angst, you won't see me doing that in public. You won't see me cutting people down, because the real world works best with a little humility and civility (as Mr. Kerry and crew allude to all the time). Just thinking of Heinz-Kerry in the White House as a representative of this country makes me shudder.

So...technically, First Ladies shouldn't matter, but I tell you they do.

I'll say something else. If I had a choice between meeting Laura Bush and Teresa Heinz Kerry, I'd take Laura any day.

Do you think the first lady matters?


ALa said...

Persoanlly I love THK --I say get her out there and keep her talking!!! haha....

leftyjones said...

It's funny how two people can look at the same thing and yet see such different sides.
I haven't seen enough of Heinz-Kerry to have formed a solid opinion but I will state that she's clearly a bit unpredictable. Time will tell how much that matters.

I'm not sure if First Ladies or possibly someday First Husbands do really matter in the scheme of things. I suppose they might tell you a little bit about the candidate but that's a dangerous game to play as we all probably know some very successful couples who on the surface don't make much sense.

When it comes to Mrs. Bush, I had to smile when I read your comments because they were so different from mine.
I've always kind of viewed her as something of a simpleton and a bit Stepford-ish. Of course, to be fair, traditional First Ladies are valued for their cookie recipes and not their brains so I can't claim to know this as any more then a surface judgement.

I do have some friends who refer to her as "the Joker" and have sent around pictures of her with the batman style lip liner and I must admit.....frightening similarity.
Anyway....if pressed to describe how I felt about her I'd have to say that my first response would be that I don't really feel much about her at all and my second response would be to say that she is just a little bit embarrasing.
I'm sure a lot of America likes the schoolmarm, dowdy church lady type who is a pleasing helpmate to her husband but I guess I think of American women as being visibly more assertive, smart, willing and able to share their ideas and on an international stage....I don't know too many women who would choose such a dowdy look.
I realize that as First Lady you can be damned if you do and damned if you don't in almost any scenario and I do sympathize with anyone in the role. It must be miserable.
Anyway, I think your comment was that President and Mrs. Bush were people of simple beliefs and strong convictions.
My take is that you probably could have just stopped at President and Mrs. Bush are simple.
I'd like to like her more but I guess you are right....I see who she married and I have to assume she is flawed.

Kat said... didn't even see the interview I suppose. Neither of them came off as simple. As a matter of fact, when they spoke about the stem cell research, Mrs. Bush went into some description of the process that could hardly be construed as "stupid" or "simple".

But, if that's what you have to tell yourself to make yourself feel better about supporting a faker and his looney wife, then so be it.

Frankly, I find nothing wrong with the school mom, dowdish, librarian image of the first lady. Nothing at all. She represents the normal American better than Teresa Heinz with her billions and weird ass charities.

If that's the worst you can come up with against her, you're kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel. Speaking of which, that's how I see the current candidate for the Democrats. Scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Pat in NC said...

Who is the dowdy one? They have to be talking about THK with the disheveled hair and wrinkled clothes. Both of these women are intelligent but only one thinks before she speaks. It takes grace along with intellecct to impress me. Eleanor, Barbara and Rosalyn were not
symbols of fashion or beauty. They were intelligent and well spoken. Barbara was not afraid to make her views known, but did so like a first lady should.

Anonymous said...

There is something seriously wrong with TERESA. Don't know what it is, but the trashy mouth is just a symptom like she hasn't taken her meds today or something. It's the eyes, facial and hand movements; something is wrong somewhere in there.

As a New Englander, I am not sure I could stand Kerry for 4 years, but I'm pretty sure Teresa is going to drive me to drink.


Kat said...

Anon..with you. Definitely might drive me to drink.

I think it says something really important about the candidate.

ALa said...

Lefty- Wow...what a shallow comment --no one had digressed into 'looks' and if you are a THK supporter I would think you wouldn't want the conversation to go there! The self-procliamed 'sexy cheeky one' is a poster girl for the show 'What not to wear'. Laura was given a chance to slam THK for her comments at a rally and Laura defended her lack of couth -graciously. I know it's not hip to acually be a gracious (and very smart by the way) feminine woman these days -but your comments were just really not what I've come to expect from you...

Kat said... crack me up babe. Lefty was definitely being shallow. Can't believe that was the only insult he could come up with, besides "simple" of course. Nothing stupid about Laura Bush, not even marryiing the President of the US. Very smart lady.

tim mccolgan said...

Whats the old saying... Be silent and perhaps be seen as an idiot , or open mouth and remove ALL doubt???? So is the story of the Ketchup Queen. Besides, While i really think Keinz makes the best Hetchup, I'm not a fan of it on waffles. Laura Bush has class and dignity, something Keinz-Kerry cannot buy, with all her millions. Thanks for ANOTHER great post.

Anonymous said...

Tim...that's funny. My grandma used to tell me that all the time. I think it definitely applies here. THK should shut up and just write checks. LOL