Sunday, March 29, 2009
Becoming the First Lady
ROBERTA: I'm a big fan of Michelle Obama: I think she handled the campaign and the transition to the White House with grace and style. She gave up a big job to support Barack even though I'm certain she's smart enough to become the president herself. I totally love what she's doing on the White House grounds: starting a garden and talking about diet and health. (Although I didn't see tomatoes on the garden plan, and certainly not okra!) She wears what she wants (including no sleeves) and she looks good doing it. She's firm but loving with her kids, and a terrific role model for disadvantaged kids, and god knows she must have a good relationship with her own mother since they'll be living together for four years. And she's gained a lot of points with the public by supporting military families.
I'm pretty sure this question would be considered non-PC, but I'm going for it anyway. If you were going to serve as the first lady (first man if you're in Bill Clinton's shoes), what agenda would you push? What would be your strong points and your pitfalls?
JAN: I'd give some great parties. I'd really be into the nice clothes. Oh, and was there something else??? Oh right, public service. I'd like to deal with hunger and homelessness because in my mind, that's where you have to start. Oh, and I'd also be a real nag about the deficit.
HANK: It could be kind of fun. You could jab your husband with an elbow, and say--hey. Do we really need another one of those Trident missiles?
RHYS: My big problem would be having to be gracious to politicians, including foreign politicians whose agenda was repugnant to me. My agenda--although I feel passionately about health care reform I'd learn from what happened to Hilary Clinton. The First Lady is not an elected official. Her role is to lead by example. I think I'd try to be green, to encourage educational excellence and discourage waste. I'd like to step in and stop government pork, but I'd probably have to grit my teeth and shut up about that.
HALLIE: I'd be a lousy first lady. I'd be early Hilary and put my foot in my mouth about chocolate chip cookies. I'd probably have to be sent to charm school. And then I guess I'd devote myself to encouraging people to consume less and give more back, to make the common good everyone's priority. Wall Street would hate me.
ROBERTA: That would fun for us, Hallie! All the reporters could buzz Jungle Red Writers trying to find out about the real Hallie--and can't her husband put a lid on her? And we'd have to say, nope, what you see is what you get--and we love it that way!
HALLIE: Thanks, Roberta. I'd probably come out in favor of kind words. It's amazing how a few of those can turn around a day.
HANK: I'd be big on libraries. Early education. After-school programs. Self-esteem for pre-teens. And history. Somehow, when kids learn about the past, like a story--they care more about the present and the future. Plus, I could handle the press corps. Some of those questions in news conferences--puh-leeze. When the question is longer than the answer, you've got an ego problem. As First Lady, I could put a stop to all that.
ROBERTA: And if I was the First Lady, I'd definitely want you as my press secretary Hank!
RHYS: I hadn't thought about the clothes. It would be great to decide what "My look" would be and then have designers fighting to produce it for me, rather than cruising the sales and seeing what Ralph Lauren has at fifty percent off! Oh, and I'd love to choose the First dog!
RO: I'd probably just want to stay out of the way and let the guy they elected do his job, but I suppose that's not realistic. First ladies always take these risky stands - "I'm for children! Literacy!" Who's not?
I'd be the first lady who converted all the government cars to fatwagons... running on waste vegetable oil. Of course not having converted my own, I'd have to learn how to do it first. And they do tend to smell like onion rings..but that's okay.
Pile on, JR readers. What would your time in the White House be like? (Photo credits to Army.mil and sskennel)