Laura Bush Brushes Up Her Speech for GOP

Here from the AP is a profile of librarian and First Lady Laura Bush as she approaches the demands of speaking in front of the Republican National Convention next week in the Big Apple.

The article paints a picture of Mrs. Bush as "the dutiful wife" in contrast to the brasher Teresa Heinz-Kerry: "A Texan, Laura Bush generally has higher approval ratings than the European-educated Heinz Kerry, the outspoken heiress to the Heinz ketchup and soup fortune who once told a journalist to "shove it."

Interestingly, the article reveals that Bush was once a Democrat (as Heinz-Kerry was once a Republican): "A former Democrat, Laura Bush was raised in Midland, Texas. She is the only child of an accountant and a housewife. She and George W. Bush hail from the same region and even briefly attended the same school.

But they met only in 1977, at a barbecue at a friends' house. They got married a few months later.

Laura is credited with persuading her husband to abandon alcohol and rediscover his Christian faith."

...the moral of the story being 'stand by your man'?


Looks like we have a choice for First Lady between a very passive someone who has nothing really significant to say and a very agressive someone who has too much to say. I have a feeling that these two women are more to the middle than the filtering press would have us believe.

There is almost no way for a First Lady or wife of a presidential candidate to win, except by being completely and utterly passive (if you can call that "winning.") Anything else, and she gets trashed. Even Nancy Reagan; I was no fan of hers, but it was astonishing and appalling to witness the beating-up she got over doing the first renovation job the White House had had since Jackie Kennedy's day--and getting her rich friends to pay for everything the Secret Service didn't require for security reasons be done with government money!It was an absolutely necessary project; only the First Lady is really in a position to oversee it; it's a big, time-consuming, often tedious job, and most First Ladies aren't interested. If the First Lady of a very popular president can't do that job without getting trashed for it, what can she do? Laura's been demonstrating: Nothing. Give every public appearance of being a potted plant. THAT gets her points with the media for being graceful and lady-like.It isn't a question of political bias; all the First Ladies in the last quarter-century have had the problem, and quite a few before that.Last First Lady not to have problems with the media? Pat Nixon, who said _nothing_ in public and took on _no_ public or semi-public responsibilities or roles. Another potted-plant impressionist, like Laura Bush.

"Laura's been demonstrating: Nothing. Give every public appearance of being a potted plant. THAT gets her points with the media for being graceful and lady-like."

Excuse me? In 1973 she earned a master of library science degree

Mrs. Bush, a former public school teacher and librarian. “Children and teachers need library resources – especially books - and the expertise of a librarian to succeed.

she strides into a hotel room with aides and Secret Service trailing, looking vibrant and eager to talk. Surprisingly, for a woman who has been typecast as the adoring spouse with assorted pet causes, Mrs. Bush reveals herself to be a savvy, tough-as-nails campaigner. She's at home discussing education policy issues while skillfully deflecting personal questions she views as invasive.

During the book festival Mrs. Bush, Mrs. Putina, the first lady of Armenia Bella Kocharian, and the first lady of Bulgaria Zorka Purvanova spoke at roundtable about the challenge of getting children in their countries to like reading.

a lot of time visiting schools and support Reach Out and Read, a pediatric-based literacy program in which doctors actually prescribe reading to new mothers for their babies, and volunteers help parents read to children in waiting rooms.

I haven't added the web sites because the html on this comment window is just too tedious, but you can googlib it if you want to write facts instead of opinion.

Ms. Heinz-Kerry has been busy too. She uses her first husband's money (a wealthy Republican) to support the causes she is interested in.

You're probably right about neither Laura nor Teresa being extremely one thing or another. The press loves to categorize people in the public eye...witness Howard "the screamer" Dean, John "hero of all heroes" McCain, George W. "simpleton" Bush, Hillary "bitch on wheels" Clinton, John F. "stuck up" Kerry. None of those people has only one side.

I know Laura Bush is a former librarian. I know about the Texas Festival for the Book and the National Book Festival.Had you read what I wrote, you would have noticed that I did not say that she is a "potted plant." I said she's being doing an impression of a potted plant--no positions on any public or semi-public issues. Available evidence suggests she's way too smart for that to be the Real Laura, but it IS the only way for a First Lady or wife of a presidential candidate to avoid being attacked in the press. Witness the snarky comments about Teresa Heinz Kerry (I'll hyphenate the names when I see evidence that she hyphenates the names), who is not just "us[ing] her first husband's money (a wealthy Republican) to support the causes she is interested in"; she's chair of the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Philanthropies, and those "interests" are healthcare, early childhood education, and the arts. None of that would be a surprise to her first husband, of course, as none of them are new interests, and he was, we may presume, moderately well acquainted with his wife.

Snarky? Who? Here's what I wrote about Ms. Heinz-Kerry at my

"Considering the age of this first issue, it does contain a very timely article: "Mother Teresa" by Stephen Rodrick, about Teresa Heinz' passion to change the world with her deceased husband's $675 million. Although mention is made of her marriage to Senator John Kerry in 1995, I believe the article was written and ready to go before that, because he gets little mention. What makes this article so interesting (and is completely confirmed in today's Wall Street Journal) is that it doesn't lionize her the way the Democrats do, nor demonize her the way some Republican pundits do. She comes across as a woman thoroughly changed by the tragedy of her husband's death, determined to bring his dreams to fruition, then making them her own."

I said the same thing here.

Sorry, lost a sentence or two in transmission. I wrote this at In the Beginning in an entry about the first issue of George.

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