Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Where's Laura Bush?

Cindy Sheehan is asking the president to meet with her as a grieving mother of a son killed in war. I’ve been puzzled that the president has been so stubborn about not meeting with her during his vacation. I’m even more puzzled by another absence. In this season of the missing woman news cycle, where’s the First Lady, Laura Bush? The last time I saw her she was cracking jokes at the White House Correspondents’ dinner about being a Desperate Housewife and comparing her mother in law to Don Corleone.

The Karl Rove White House(slowly being painted a creamy shade of pumpkin) has been praised for its skill in manipulating the symbols of the presidency. Standing at Ground Zero shortly after 9/11, toppling the Gulliver like statue of Saddam, landing on aircraft carriers to proclaim the end of the war some two years ago, bending forward to hug a young girl and console her fears of terrorists, clearing brush in Crawford, have all been part of the Rove/Noonan deck in public opinion Gin Rummy (the card game not the armor-challenged defense secretary) . So what would be a more powerful image than the First Lady asking Cindy Sheehan to take a few minutes out of her vigil to come pray together in Church for all mothers of children at war? A mother to mother request and moment would certainly be a classic Roveian counterpunch. The man has built his career on going right at opponents’ strengths. Why haven't they gone Mommo a Mommo? Maybe even invite the twins along and help them improve their public image?

Is it that Rove, who has made something of a career of attacking wives and family, only knows how to play the hand negatively? If the First Lady has a job, it has historically been to serve as the administration’s symbol of compassion. Eleanor Roosevelt was the most active, but Nancy Reagan holding an HIV positive baby in her arms was such a potent symbol that it nearly erased President’ Reagan’s more mixed record of recognizing and advocating for funding for the disease. Betty Ford became a spokesperson for getting treatment for substance abuse, Rosalyn Carter worked on behalf of the developmentally disabled, Barbara Biush’s worked on literacy by writing a book with her dog, Hillary Clinton worked as an advocate for the welfare of children, As a grieving mother stands vigil outside her ranch, where is the visible symbol of the First Lady’s compassion for another mother.
In fact, where is the First Lady?

I’m puzzled by the fact that the party of family values is so tone deaf to the language of motherhood itself. Nothing would communicate actual sympathy for Cindy Sheehan and all gold star motherly grief better than an image of the First Lady meeting Cindy Sheehan face to face. Might I suggest that if the President looks bad for not coming out and saying hi, that the First Lady is looking even worse for simply disappearing from view. Instead they are letting shotguns and cross mutiliations speak for their noble cause.

Perhaps Karl Rove is otherwise busy. Perhaps Laura Bush might say something very different if directly asked about that other mother down the road in Crawford. Perhaps the first family doesn't care enough to even fake it. If that's the case, by missing the opprtunity to stand at the ground zero of grief, they may have already lost a deeper war on terror.



At 8/17/2005 07:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Particularly excellent post, chancelucky. My favorite as a devoted fan for sometime.

But jeez, shud up, I'm terrified you'll give them such a good idea. I hope Cindy asks her first!

I think without jest that Missus Bush may be on Valium or some such soother of reality. Or maybe laudanum -- she has a far away look often.

I've been protesting with my Teach Peace sign in Oakland all day so haven't had a chance to see the cross-wreaking story yet.

Sorry I can't be more coherent. I'm slumping over the keyboard. No sleep too long.


The abolition of war starts today with you

At 8/18/2005 11:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol, weird coinkydink eh? I think it's VERY odd Laura is missing and the neighbors are shooting things and vandalising things. "Mommo a Mommo" I would pay a fortune to see that. :-)

At 8/18/2005 02:09:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

thanks for coming by and commenting. I should have said GMTA :}

Great picture on your blog on this topic.
It was interesting to me that the story of a man mowing down a row of crosses didn't much make the mainstream news. Seemed every bit as interesting as runaway brides, etc.

At 8/18/2005 09:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally know! Also, where's Bill Gates! I've been getting rained on outside his house for days! I just want him to meet with me and give me money! After all, I've spent hundreds of dollars on Microsoft products- I put him in that mansion of his! He owes me. I totally know how she feels.

At 8/19/2005 12:19:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Interesting analogy.

If Bill Gates were elected, I'd agree.
Also if he sold a virus protection software that actually spreads viruses, I would get my money back and a lot more.
If Windows XP stank and crashed all the time, I might be stuck. But if it were a big enough problem for enough users and he didn't address it and show that he cared, it might be a linux future.

fwiw, I prefer not to compare men and women to consumer items or something one puts a price on. Interesting analogy though, very revealing.l


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