Thursday, September 6, 2012

The War of the Wives

The other morning, I took about a half hour off from work, poured a nice hot cup of decaf (with unsweetened soy milk which, regardless of the faces my husband might make, actually tastes yummy) and watched Michelle Obama's DNC speechDespite my best intentions, I simply couldn't stay up late enough to tune in live the night before. But, if there's one thing I've learned from my teen daughter it's that you can find pretty much anything you need on YouTube. 

All I can say is "Wow."

She was articulate, compelling, intelligent, passionate, informed, patriotic ... all the things you want in the leader of the free world. But, wait a minute.

She's not running for president, people. She's vying for another four years as the president's spouse.

Another also excellent speech was made last week at the RNC. Ann Romney, by nearly all accounts, stole the show in Tampa from her husband. And, unlike the equally artful address made by vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, her speech wasn't ruined by a bunch of spoil-sport fact-checkers afterwards.

(Yes, I admit that I believe she and Mitt ate a lot of tuna on an ironing board. Why this helps a millionaire governor's son relate to the middle class is beyond me, but I do believe it.)

Regardless of your party affiliation or the platform you believe in, isn't it interesting that the wives have been pulled out to stump for their husbands this year? With both women rising to the occasion so well, it seems that the election may be a popularity contest with a twist ...

Who would you rather have — playing hostess — in the White House?

Don't get me wrong. I loved, loved, loved Michelle's speech. I also absolutely admired Ann's. But, what bothers me is that these women are not policymakers or elected representatives. They are speaking to the conventions and, let's face it, to the nation, as wives. In a court of law, they wouldn't have to testify against their husbands. But, clearly they can go ahead and praise them till kingdom come.

Both were there to give us insight into our president and his opponent as people. As husbands and fathers. Both may have been there to woo the women's vote. Both were able to subtly weave their respective party platforms into their heartfelt "You can trust me, I'm just a wife and mother" addresses. Regardless of why and how and what they said, both were undeniably successful.

And their impact is enormous. In popularity polls, both wives are now leaving their husbands in the dust.

All in all, I love it that the two convention speeches that were most important, most electrifying and most far-reaching this year were made by women. Right on! 

But, I can't help but look forward to the day (soon I hope, for the sake of my daughter and her peers), when more women will be there in more official roles. And not merely as the eloquent eye-candy on the arms of a future victor and his vanquished.


  1. I found your blog today :)

    As for this post, I can't comment too much as I am not American nor live close to it, but I do find it inspirational when the spouses of presidents step up to the plate and be more than just the woman standing there.

  2. I loved this post. I, too, would love to see a woman take office as president. I think it would be great for my boys to see that, too.

  3. I think it's great that, although we have not yet had a woman as president, we do have women to look up to. I don't think a female president is too far off. In the meantime, we have had and do have women in prominent positions in our government, a great step forward. Condalisa Rice, Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, etc all move this country forward and give me hope. Here from the hop, glad I found you!