A bit busy today. Have to bop over to the library and look up some new papers. So this will be brief. (Ha-ha, it never is, right?)
Thing One: It looks like Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee. How can we tell so early in the primaries, you ask? Well, unlike the byzantine and UN-democratic Democratic primary system, which can be reconfigured on the spur of the moment to suit the intended outcome of the party uberclass (and its Wall Street backers), the Republican primaries are winner take all. So, in just a few states, the frontrunner can put a sizeable distance between himself and the next tier.
What is interesting to me is the positioning of Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum. It signals to me that the people of New Hampshire want more of a “moderate” Republican and cooled to the religious nutcases. In fact, knowing my own religious nutcases, they might have thought Santorum’s thoughts on birth control extreme. For one thing, they’re not against birth control, as long as it’s only for married couples. But Santorum didn’t sound like he was discriminating between FORNICATORS and married men and women doing whatever unspeakable things they want to do in the dark. And THAT probably made them focus on another aspect of Santorum’s person- he’s a papist. Yup, and he’s not the John Kennedy “this is the 60’s, we’re enlightened Catholics and don’t take orders from the pope” kind of papist. Santorum is the Torquemada kind or the kind that would have made Galileo renounce the heliocentric theory. He’s the baaaaaad kind of papist who probably gets email messages with orders straight from the Vatican itself every morning. He’s the kind who we suspect scourges himself right after he has sex with his wife. The one thing the evangelical fundy distrusts slightly less than an atheist and a muslim is a papist.
Santorum got all giddy and is now going to suffer from the “Oh, shit, did I say that out loud?” gaffe. The evangelical fundy crowd is still going to need a religious type to balance out Romney the Mormon. Maybe Santorum will get VP. Who knows. But Romney is going to bring the nomination in for a landing. And if it’s Romney, Obama is going to have some problems because to the rest of us, the only difference between the two of them is that Obama didn’t run a private equity firm first.
Thing Two: Does anyone remember when Michelle Obama in 2008 made that crack on an ABCNews interview about how she was going to be paying close attention to Hillary’s tone? Ahhh, here it is. (H/T Delphyne):
I don’t know about taking the country in a new direction but he most certainly did take the Democratic party in one, specifically wayyyyy to the right. But I digress.
I remember thinking that Hillary wasn’t running against Michelle but this was a diabolical move by Obama’s campaign staff to set up a Crystal Carrington- Alexis Carrington “cat fight in the pool” scene. I appreciated how Hillary refused to take the bait.
Then Michelle moved into the White House and played the role of suburban stay-at-home wife that is all too common around here in central NJ when hubby’s income reaches the level to which they intend to become accustomed. It doesn’t matter how long she took to get her law degree or masters in public administration or MBA, she quits and stays home to tend the garden. You won’t hear another controversial or opinionated statement out of her mouth ever again. She will become as boring as lemon jello. Having a life outside the home is no longer her role. Her role is to maintain relationships with the other couples in the neighborhood. It’s strictly social. Work? That’s for women who are married to losers or who aren’t married at all. Ladies do not work.
Then Michelle docilely travelled the world in her awkwardly tailored, but modest and boring A-line skirts and twin sets, assuming the role of the tall but silent second class sidekick. Well, of course, it was all perfectly arranged by his advisors so as to look like she wasn’t interfering in his work, that she knew her place and that was to be invisible, or as invisible as a beautiful, statuesque amazon was supposed to be. Her brains were of no interest to them. The less known about the internal workings of Michelle’s brain, the better. The Washington press corps and their little Village does not understand women who think for themselves and it was much better for Michelle to know her place than push the envelope and stir Sally Quinn and her hive into a frenzied, relentless pursuit of trivialities and rumormongering. And besides, the first lady doesn’t really have any official capacity, and lord help us, we don’t want her to develop any policies that might prove to be crucial 15 years later, unless she’s secretly lobbying for some hospital association but strictly on the QT.
Michelle bought into this. In fact, she bought into it so thoroughly that she had to have her mother move in and take over some of her duties so that any perceived power was even further diluted. And what the heck was going on with Desiree Rogers who got her ass canned for dressing too nicely and unintentionally letting the riff raff in to a “members only” soiree at the White House? Well, anyway, the role of woman in the White House is to 1.) look ornamental 2.) keep her mouth shut 3.) keep The Village quiet and 4.) not make policy. This applies not only to the first lady but also to the women who had to work for her husband, like Christine Romer, Sheila Bair, Elizabeth Warren, people like that. One might have thought that Michelle would have spoken up for them but she did not.
She *could* have taken a different route. She could have been more of a Rosalyn Carter or a Hillary Clinton. But then, we would have been complaining about her “tone” and Michelle has shown by her own example, that she would prefer to take a backseat and be a model of the flavorless surburban privileged woman and not a courageous leader who bucks the trend and tries to break new boundaries for American women.
I don’t mind that she wanted a nice family life. I don’t begrudge that of anyone who lives in the White House, including Anne Romney who is living with MS. If she thinks that being a good mother means staying at home to tend to two tweens who are at school for most of the day, who am I to judge? And if she wants her husband to take her to a night out to NYC for a play, I’m all for it. No, seriously. Life in the White House is grueling no matter how cul-de-sac you arrange your life to be. Anyone who lives in that environment needs a little privacy and normalcy.
But if you signed up for Betty Crocker and the long suffering Griselda, if you turned your back on millions of working women with brains, both in the White House conference rooms and out in the civilian working world, don’t start looking for sympathy later. Don’t complain about your husband’s advisors who strapped you into this role and from whom you accepted the harness voluntarily. We don’t care, Michelle. By your example, you set the rest of us back by four decades. You abandoned us and let us fend for ourselves in the west wing and the laboratories and factories and the conference rooms and the universities and the sports fields and the abortion clinics. You’ve spent three years in absence after your husband cheated a more worthy person out of a nomination. You did not pick up the standard that she had to leave behind. Challenging the status quo wouldn’t have made you an “Angry black woman”. It would have made you a person in your own right. The fact that you have to defend yourself to say that you played no role in your husband’s administration is not a good thing, Michelle. If you’re not going to assert yourself, it would be better for you to now remain silent.
Don’t make it worse for us.