The New York Times reports today that Laura Bush will leave soon for “a diplomatic mission” to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Kuwait.
I would say that there’s one destination country missing from her itinerary that is more important than all of those locations (and she should visit for a few days, with time spent outside the Green Zone also).
As far as I’m concerned, this should be a no-brainer for someone whose profile the Repugs want to raise primarily for two reasons; 1) the appalling, and totally deserved, approval ratings of her husband, and 2) the media’s proclamations of the ascendance of Hillary Clinton (with some Repugs having stated previously that the First Lady should be running for president herself now, further evidence of their total disconnect from reality).
And as you might expect, this puff piece from Sheryl Gay Stolberg wants to have it both ways with Mrs. Bush, portraying her both as some demure housewife having recently taken some oh-so-gradual steps towards assertiveness (unlike that brassy bitch Hillary Clinton – tongue in cheek here, I hope), and also as a rising star who hopefully will elevate the moribund fortunes of her husband, providing a boost of sorts to their party.
(And by the way, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California fits in just a little too well with the other Republicans in that photo.)
The most important reason of all for sending Laura to Mesopotamia, though, is that there’s a precedent for first ladies to appear in combat zones. Eleanor Roosevelt did it all the time, and Dubya has compared Iraq to World War II in the past (here), so it’s a natural fit as far as I’m concerned (and I know Mrs. R. did this because her husband was infirmed and could not travel much, but still, the precedent exists).
But of course, the Times piece tells us that Dubya “never speaks to her about Iraq” (not surprising I guess, since Dubya has waged the war so successfully that he doesn’t need any help…). I guess, though, that this is in keeping with the Bush family mentality of not letting information from “the reality-based community” cloud its thinking once it’s mind is made up (I can recall Laura’s famously snide response of “what do you think?” to a reporter who asked her if she’d seen “Fahrenheit 9/11”; even if you don’t like Michael Moore, there’s plenty of reality in that film to give someone pause who was gung-ho on the war).
It’s nice that Mrs. Bush has spoken to her loathsome spouse about the plight of the opposition leader in Myanmar, and she apparently told Dubya biographer and family friend Robert Draper that “she’s made her opinions known on a few issues,” though she wouldn’t say which ones.
But the war is first, last, and in-between in importance to this country. And if Laura Bush possessed an ounce of leadership, she would make it as clear as possible that she intends to go to Iraq and let our military over there know that they haven’t been completely forgotten.
Besides, if it’s not safe enough over there for her, then it’s not safe enough for any of our people, which is all the more reason to start pulling them out.
Update 10/16: By the way, read here to find out which person in the photo is leaving Congress.