Skip to comments.Laura Bush was no 'quiet' first lady
Posted on 05/11/2009 7:12:34 PM PDT by STARWISE
POLITICO recently ran a story about the moments that shaped first lady Michelle Obamas image. I like seeing so much attention paid to a first lady, and I think Americans enjoy knowing what she is working on and how she is spending her time in the White House. The coverage is helpful for all of us to develop an impression about the first lady. And surely there has been no shortage of coverage.
I know firsthand what it takes to manage the diverse portfolio of this unique position, which in fact has no official description. The job is what the occupant makes of it, and a first lady can be very effective when she chooses to focus on projects in which she has genuine interest and experience. She is freed from the demands and constant flow of incoming problems that hit the presidents desk, and she can choose how to spend her time and deploy her influence.
Nevertheless, her efforts, when coordinated wisely with the presidents staff, are helpful to the overall goals of the administration. As the most prominent nonelected official in our government, she has an instant platform and access to whatever she needs to do her job.
Each first lady makes her mark, and Obama follows a long line of activist first ladies who have come before her and advocated for things they care about.
My hat is off to Obama and to her staff, too. I know how hard they have to work to make sure a project is well-developed and researched. There are many moving parts when executing a successful event that is worthy of the first ladys attention and has a positive and lasting impact. With this work also comes the responsibility to follow up and consistently manage projects such that they amount to more than a photo-op. Although the first lady gives the direction and makes the final decisions on what she wants to do, its her hardworking and creative staff that has to pull it all together.
In the end, if the media dont report it or write about it, then much of this hard work will have been lost for so many that could have benefited from the first ladys efforts. It also means that people worldwide have missed the chance to better understand what makes the first lady tick.
Perhaps if the press gave half as much attention to Laura Bushs work, the POLITICO article would not have used phrases like, Americans see [Mrs.] Obama as strong, elegant and confident different from [Mrs.] Bush, who was seen as conservative and quiet.
In all fairness, I dont think it was quiet when, in 2001, Bush became the first first lady to deliver a presidential radio address, speaking out forcefully about the Talibans brutal treatment and oppression of Afghan women. She had a worldwide audience, and to this day, Afghan women know that in Laura Bush they have a steady and committed champion.
I also dont think it was quiet when in May 2008 she became the first first lady to stand at the podium in the White House press briefing room and deliver a strong statement against the repressive military regime in Myanmar. She told the regime it was time to get out of the way after the world saw it inexplicably deny aid to the Myanmar people in the aftermath of the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis.
It also wasnt quiet when Bush spoke out in defense of Obama when the then-presidential candidates wife said, For the first time, I am proud of my country. A feeding frenzy followed in our nation, and it was Bush who knocked it down. Her support came at a time in the campaign when people were first forming their impressions of the Obamas and were easily susceptible to inaccurate representations. Laura Bush took the responsible route and defended Obama and her unfortunate choice of words, and in so doing, she lowered the heat.
I would suggest then that in researching its story about the moments that defined Michelle Obama, POLITICO missed a big one. That moment was perhaps the greatest moment of vulnerability for the campaign. And that honorable and courageous move by Laura Bush had a significant role in shaping the image of the first lady to be.
Obama later wrote Bush a note of thanks. She also talked on The View about how much it meant to her to have Bush speak out in her defense. I think Obama understood the impact of that moment on her image better than the press does.
Anita McBride served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and was chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush from 2005 to 2009.
Laura exudes class.
It sickens me that we even have the opportunity to compare the two.
Ah, such lovely pictures of Lady Laura.
Lovely Laura. I miss her.
It's a dumb tactic, because Laura was the most popular First Lady in memory, and Michelle and her band of followers would do well to respect her, and not falsely characterize what Laura did.
Michelle , as you said, STARWISE, will never measure up to Laura Bush.
I surely miss First LADY Laura Bush!!!
Her predecessor and successor have no idea what the word LADY truly means...nor do they care.
One difference between Michelle Mabelle and the lovely Laura is that the lovely Laura was never in IT for herself. Michelle is an opportunist. Her position at the University of Chicago Hospital and Clinics (incidentally, where I did my training) was never filled. Michelle was really important to the work done there, no?
Everyone knows Angry Michelle can put out more cigarettes in her hand than Laura.
Pray for America
MO is typical.
They still pull out the drunk driving lie.
Amen to that Star! No comparison whatever!
Yes, I miss her so much. Never once did she do or say anything that was anything but gracious and respectable. She was and is pure class in her demeanor, speech, and appearance. We were blessed to have her represent us for 8 years.
Contrast this with what we have now.
Thank you for the lovely photos. She was/is a doll. I hope they are enjoying their peaceful retirement and all life has to offer.
Laura Bush is an aristocrat.
She did not relate to ordinary people.
Her genuine compassion for people compensated for that.
Michele is a common haughty, bwitch with no style or substance. She could care less about anyone but herself.
Michelle OBAMA Hussein is a classless, socialist, big mouth, with no charisma or character..
While Laura Bush exudes class and patriotism...big difference, can't lump em together..
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