Candidates' Wives Bicker over Who Is Most Homely

the three faces of nancy reaganThe wives of our presidential candidates are facing a tough quandary, according to a Washington Post feature this morning. Specifically, how does one balance a traditional, servile feminine personae (Bess Truman) with activism (Eleanor Roosevelt) and not end up, well, a fiery androgynous bitch (Hillary Clinton)? This sounds needlessly high maintenance, but it turns out that American voters pay unusually close adherence to this tightrope walk.

Experts suggest that these would-be first wives study the model of Laura Bush, "the most popular member of the Bush administration." As Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, notes, "There is a great deal of independence perceived in her case." Traditional, grandmother-ish voters can jibe with this, however, because she's not active in determining policy. Although this probably has more to do with her not meeting the sole criterion of Bush policy determinants, "Being Dick Cheney."

Within the current field, homemaker Ann Romney anchors the "Cook my Fucking Dinner" traditionalist extreme; on the other end of the spectrum, Judith Giuliani probably wants to be Secretary of Defense or something. Giuliani has tried to keep a lower public profile recently, and has only interrupted Rudy's campaign events with cell phone calls 40 times, according to a WSJ estimate.

Potential first lady Bill Clinton, meanwhile, is saving AIDS somewhere.

Running Mates [The Washington Post]


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