Thursday, January 31, 2008

Janet for First Lady

Please take this opportunity to enjoy a political post that doesn't involve Barack Obama. (This trend won't last longer than tonight, I'm sure.)

Instead, let us focus on wives (with apologies to Bill). The night of the New Hampshire primary, I watched the various victory and concession speeches of the Republicans. Of their wives, only Janet Huckabee caught my interest. Everyone else stood by supportively, without much expression. Cindy McCain, as usual, looked like she had come straight from a L'Oréal testing lab. But Janet looked feisty and fun. Her laughs seemed genuinely spontaneous. She nodded along vigorously, sometimes looking like she wanted to grab the microphone.

I also suspected she could crack her husband in half over her knee.

Now, thanks to a Slate series on the candidates' wives, that suspicion is confirmed. It turns out that Janet Huckabee has stalked bears. And they say John McCain is like Teddy Roosevelt.

But her gentle side is very gentle:
...when Janet Huckabee joked that she'd like to build a Habitat for Humanity house on the White House lawn—she's hammered nails for such homes in 20-some states already, and slept under bridges with homeless people once a year to bring awareness to their problems—Republicans in Arkansas were half-afraid she wasn't kidding. Because back home, the Huckabees' empathy for the luckless is one thing that has never been in doubt.
She sleeps under bridges with homeless people. So easy to picture Hillary doing that, no?

Sadly, her self-consciousness (or maybe the campaign's) has kept her mostly quiet during the primary season. Many have written persuasively about the class divisions in the Republican party, and how even a conservative Christian doesn't cut it if he's unpolished enough. Christopher Hitchens called Mike Huckabee "an unusually stupid primate but who does not have the elementary intelligence to recognize the fact that this is what he is." Jeez. It's not like I'm gonna vote for the guy, but that seems a bit harsh.

Such press must not help the confidence of Janet, of whom Mike says:
"For her, one of the most difficult aspects of being Arkansas' first lady was the inevitable confrontation with some of the snobby elitists who had always been on the side of the culturally correct in Little Rock."
Did you get that? She can't handle the snobby Little Rock.

Well, God bless her, as the Huckabees themselves might say. My favorite candidate has a very strong wife, but I have to say Janet might be my choice for First Lady if that was a separate contest. Along with the deep compassion she'd bring to the office (to everyone but gays, anyway -- I'm guessing with that), she'd probably make for some great press clips, too:
She once likened their oldest, John Mark—no, he's not the one who killed the dog at camp (ASWOBA note: "killed the dog at camp"? I might vote for Huckabee just to have the first White House reality show)—to a radio signal that fades in and out, so that you only catch every third word: "You tune in a radio and every now and then you'll hit a frequency and think, 'Man, I wish I could get that,' and you don't quite get it, but every now and then you get it? Well, John Mark is kind of like that."


Blogger Soprano said...

She's actually kind of pretty in that photo.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sleeping under bridges....yeah, sounds like Hillary alright!

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It takes a strong woman to stand behind a strong man.

I heard from a family friend of the Huckabees that when Janet moved into the mansion as First Lady (governor), the maid started to make a list for groceries and such and Janet brought out her coupon book. The maid said, "You don't have to pay so don't worry about coupons" Janet said, "Oh yes I do! And so do you and your friends and families and everyone else in this state."

6:24 PM  

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