A Washington Post profile of Laura Bush this painted a generally flattering portrait of the former first lady, and tried to be more flattering still by comparing her to her current counterpart, Michelle Obama.
Buried deep in the lengthy article is a paragraph describing some of her activities:
Bush was the first first lady to stand in and give the weekly presidential radio address. She made a wartime visit to Afghanistan in 2005 under heavy guard. She took four trips to 15 countries in Africa to support the president’s HIV/AIDS relief program. While she was in the White House, newspapers reported that she personally lobbied congressmen — in the White House over coffee — for the reauthorization of the Bush administration’s signature education initiative, No Child Left Behind. She walked into the presidential briefing room, an official space rarely commandeered by presidential spouses, and held a news conference on human rights abuses in Burma. A few months later she traveled to the Thailand-Burma border.
What’s interesting about that is what it doesn’t say.
During her eight years in the White House, Laura Bush managed to somehow:
- Avoid showing herself off in front of the whole country by shoving herself into the Oscars; using activity duty military members.as props;
- Avoid driving hard-working school administrators crazy by pushing through a bunch of nonsensical dietary laws that cost school districts money and wasted food because kids just end up throwing away the garbage anyway
- Avoid staying 10 extra days in Hawaii for a personal vacation while her husband returned to Washington, costing taxpayers millions in security and extra travel for her considerable entourage;
- Avoid taking a taxpayer-funded trip to China with her two daughters and her mother-in-law (Laura’s was a former first lady herself).
In fact, there’s a host of things Laura Bush didn’t do that cost the country millions and millions of dollars in taxpayer money and endless aggravation at the local government level. Mainly, she didn’t do any of the things Michelle Obama has done while making herself in the process the most disliked first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt — without even half the class, and none of the accomplishments.
The Post profile concludes with Mrs. Bush briefly noting that she attended an event with Michelle Obama recently and thinks she’s about ready to hang up the responsibilities of being first lady.
“Mrs. Obama, I could tell, was thinking about what it would be like for her [to be out of the White House], and I remember when I first came home I said, ‘I didn’t realize I was under so much stress when I lived at the White House,’ ” Bush says.
When the George W. Bush term ended, not even the most rabid liberals were crowing about Laura Bush’s departure with him.
A good part of the country — a lot of it Democrat — will be as glad to see Michelle Obama gone as it will be her husband.
Ask your local school board.
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