Deep End | Hillary Pilloried: A mediocre First Lady poses as presidential timber | News | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

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Deep End | Hillary Pilloried: A mediocre First Lady poses as presidential timber

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In a year, or maybe sooner, we’ll look back and wonder what the Hillary Clinton fuss was all about. It will be a puzzlement, as the King of Siam was wont to say, that she was ever taken seriously as a presidential candidate. It will be even more of a puzzlement that she was, at one time, not just the presumed nominee of her party but the all-but-anointed next president of these United States.

Pundits will look back and point to various stumbles that adumbrated her humiliating collapse: the debate where she flip-flopped and equivocated on driver licenses for illegal aliens; her slippery stand on Iraq; the assertion that she was “the face of foreign policy” during the Slick Willie Administration. That preposterous assertion may have been the fatal moment when people realized that most of Hillary’s so-called experience was accumulated clutching the coattails of her husband (her time in the Senate was worthless, since it was spent trying to prove she was one of the boys). She was, after all, just the First Lady, and not a very good one at that.

Truly alarming was Hillary’s belief that she was more than First Lady. In one interview she spoke about what it would be like when she was “president again.” And who could forget the moment when she looked Katie Couric in the eye and declared with Bush-like dead certainty that she was going to be the next president. (Katie, sensing that Hillary was making a huge mistake, hurried to give her fellow overachiever a chance to be a little less absolute, but no doing: It had never occurred to her that she wouldn’t be president.)

Suddenly, all over America, people woke up and realized that the once and future emperor not only had no clothes, but was actually just the erstwhile empress.

Even among former first ladies, Hillary was far down the list in terms of accomplishment and service to the nation. In modern times, the standard for first ladies was set by Eleanor Roosevelt, who was always out and about making a productive nuisance of herself. She was succeeded by the frumpy homebodies Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower, both of whom knew better than to meddle in affairs of state.

Then came glamorous Jackie Kennedy and gracious Lady Bird Johnson, both of whom, like Hillary, had to put up with their spouses’ leisure-time amorous pursuits, while they busied themselves with fixing up the White House and beautifying our nation’s highways. Poor Pat Nixon had to put up with her deeply disturbed husband, who preferred spending time bowling in the White House basement with his close pal Bebe Roboso to snuggling with Pat in front of the fire. At least Pat kept out of the way and kept up her dignity while Tricky Dick disgraced himself. Betty Ford, like Pat, seemed uncomfortable in the White House, though she did her part, however inadvertently, to call the nation’s attention to the scourge of drug addiction

Rosalynn Carter was a powerful force in the White House, sitting in on Cabinet meetings, flying to South America to soothe unpredictable Latin American dictators, and drumming up support for the mentally ill. She was a much better first lady than Hillary, and the bonus factor was Rosalynn’s smoldering bedroom voice, softly burnished to a peachy Georgia purr.

Nancy Reagan was even more powerful than Rosalyn and, unlike Hillary, she could keep her man in line and on task, frequently feeding him lines during speeches when his dementia acted up. Then there was Barbara Bush, a throwback to the first lady as frump. On paper she pushed for literacy, but in person she was the meanest homo sapiens, male or female, ever to reside within the walls of the White House. Her legacy to the nation was Dick Cheney, the person most like his mom that boy George could find to tuck him into bed on scary nights.

All these former first ladies were more formidable than Hillary, and she would have been well advised not to have invited comparison by trying to make her tenure as first lady her qualification for president. Furthermore, the citizens of America decided they didn’t want a commander-in-chief as clueless as Hillary must have been not to know that her very own husband was receiving consultation from that woman, Miss Lewinsky, right under her nose in the White House.

Thanks be to the Lord up above that our country won’t be bored anymore with those tiresome Clintons.

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