In a televised interview last night, Laura Bush helpfully told a CNN reporter that she took Michelle Obama around the White House and, “showed her the closets. I showed her all the things that women are interested in.” Well, I guess that’s an insight into why, for eight wretched years, two wars, thousands of American sons and daughters killed and injured, not to mention innocent Iraqis, and more dismal reverses for our country and the world than can be chronicled here, Laura Bush has been a shadow. Our current First Lady thinks women are most captivated by — closets.
Considering the myriad national traumas during her tenure in the White House, Laura Bush rates right down there with her husband as a miserable failure of a First Lady. Now we know why she’s had such minimal involvement in national or international affairs, and maintained a tight-lipped refusal to use her pastel pulpit. She’s been cleaning, rearranging, or perhaps just hiding in all those grand White House closets.
Closets are not just what Laura Bush, and her political party, believe are women’s main interests, they are a metaphor for the contraints Republicans have traditionally put on women’s roles. Notwithstanding the desperation that foisted Sarah Palin on the national stage, and led Republican conventioneers to cheer the idea of women being mothers, wives and career women capable of the most unlikely job promotions, Laura Bush has spoken the pre-Palin Republican orthodoxy. A woman’s place is in the home. Better yet, cleaning the closets.
If you think the Republican party has really changed, spend some time on the Focus on the Family website.
Or how about the Eagle Forum?
Or just check out how many Republicans sign on or vote for the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act ensuring women equal pay with their male counterparts at work when it comes up next year.
I’m guessing Michelle Obama has interests far beyond closets. I’m guessing she’s a civic-minded, patriotic American who understands that the grand, privileged and powerful opportunity to be First Lady comes with a duty to help and heal the nation. And you can’t do that from inside a closet.
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