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Wednesday, 30 January 2008

First Ladies and Maybe Even First Gentlemen

By 87-year-old Georgie Bright Kunkel, freelance writer and standup comic

First ladies over the years have played their respective roles, some having a great deal of influence. An early first lady was quick to remind her husband not to forget the ladies when his attention was on equal rights for men in our Constitution. Eleanor Roosevelt rose above the snide remarks made about her looks to assist her husband who, because of his disability, could not be as active in the presidency as he would have wished. As a result, she was able to influence the inclusion of human rights into the United Nations Charter.

Although it is assumed that wives of presidents don’t make policy or directly influence legislation, Hillary Clinton was appointed to effect changes in health care in this country during her husband’s presidency. I have already written about how the health industry mounted inflammatory ads to crush any attempt to involve government in expanding health coverage and controlling pharmaceutical costs.

Laura Bush has chosen to be involved in books and libraries, a safe haven for a female partner of a male president. I say “female partner” because there may be some time when a male president may be with a male partner, a female president may be with a female partner--or even a female president who has a male partner.

Females usually have to stick to the stereotypes to succeed as first ladies. When they run for office themselves, they have to be better looking, better prepared and better financed. How many male contenders for the presidency are rated on their dress and appearance or have to hear the public worry over whether a person of their sex can handle the duties of high office?

It will be interesting to note what essence a male partner of a female president will bring to the office. If Hillary Clinton should become president, First Gentleman Bill will bring a whole new measure of expertise to managing the White House and entertaining dignitaries at state dinners. Hopefully, he won’t be involved in breaking in the female interns and Hillary had better have a more acceptable way to cope with stress than her husband did if she reaches the Oval Office.

No matter who becomes president, the challenge will be immense after billions and billions have already been promised to other countries in high interest loans to finance a war that few people seem to know the reason for and no one knows how to end.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


I hope that Bill will NOT be in the White House again. He's no gentleman!

You know the old saying, "Behind every great man is a great woman." I am sure First Ladies have had more influence than we know. I have always suspected that Nancy Reagan was the strong member of that couple and it was her influence that turned Ronnie into an ideologue. He was, as one wag put it, an amiable dunce.

I just hope that the next President will have a brain of their own. It will certainly be needed to undo the damage that the current administration has inflicted on this country. And I don't care if we have a First Lady or a First Gentleman.

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