It Takes Two.Tipper and Laura aren't Hillary, and why that good for Al and W.
ONE OF THE LEAST TALKED ABOUT challenges facing the candidates for president and vice president in this election is getting the spousal relationship just right. America does not want to see a "Father Knows Best" marriage of the 1950s (think Ike and Marnie Eisenhower); nor is it fully prepared for a Me Jane, You Tarzan power-sharing duo like the Clintons. Happily for George W. Bush and Al Gore Noun 1. Al Gore - Vice President of the United States under Bill Clinton (born in 1948)
Albert Gore Jr., Gore , they seem to have found mates who split the difference. Laura Bush and Tipper Gore are strong personalities, far from the demure de·mure
adj. de·mur·er, de·mur·est
1. Modest and reserved in manner or behavior.
2. Affectedly shy, modest, or reserved. See Synonyms at shy1. damsels in the shadows of presidents past, yet they are simultaneously supportive, shoring up Noun 1. shoring up - the act of propping up with shores
propping up, shoring
supporting, support - the act of bearing the weight of or strengthening; "he leaned against the wall for support" their husbands' weaknesses with their own strengths. If Laura and Tipper could change places with their husbands, Laura would inject a needed dose of seriousness into the GOP, and Tipper the likeability that is lamentably la·men·ta·ble
Inspiring or deserving of lament or regret; deplorable or pitiable. See Synonyms at pathetic.
lamen·ta·bly adv. absent on the Democratic side.
Hillary's giant step toward expanding the possibilities for a first lady earned her equal portions of admiration and hostility from a public coming to grips with major social change against a backdrop of renewed longing for traditional roles. The women of the 2000 race will tread more carefully. But they are compelling personalities in their own right, and the legacy they leave will reflect the tugs and pulls of the baby boom generation. Boomer women's resumes reflect the advances women have made in the workplace. But the leavening effect of growing older has prompted some rethinking of spousal roles in a more traditional framework.
Nowhere is this more obvious than on the campaign trail. "The women seem more human, more approachable, more rounded, more like the rest of us than the men," says Barbara Whitehead, a co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University Rutgers University, main campus at New Brunswick, N.J.; land-grant and state supported; coeducational except for Douglass College; chartered 1766 as Queen's College, opened 1771. Campuses and Facilities
Rutgers maintains three campuses. . "But they are cast in very familiar roles, and they're staying far away from the big issues of the day. It's an interesting strategy."
And it's not only that. Mothers on the youthful side of boomerdom, who are just beginning to work through the nightmare juggling act that having kids and a career demands, are apt to resent the Hillary model for its insistence on having it all, when sometimes this just isn't possible. Even women who are more capable than their husbands find that they are the ones making the bulk of the career sacrifices when the kids arrive. It may be nature, it may be nurture, it may be right, it may be wrong--but it happens. We're not quite ready for Hillary: What we're ready for is the smart, independent, thoughtful Mom who has seen the virtue of sacrifice in the interest of a healthy family--and who has managed to do this without turning herself into a doormat.
First Wives Club
Both Bushes are 53 years old and in the vanguard of the baby boom. But their experiences as members of the largest and most narcissistic nar·cis·sism also nar·cism
1. Excessive love or admiration of oneself. See Synonyms at conceit.
2. A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in generation are quite different. Where George Bush floated through life on a magic carpet magic carpet
flew King Solomon and his court wherever he commanded the wind to take it. [Moslem Legend: Brewer Dictionary, 177]
See : Magic of entitlement, Laura Bushes life is notable for its wifely sacrifice--an old virtue suddenly made new again on this year's campaign trail. Whether it's an antidote to Hillary Clinton or the mellowing of a generation, Laura Bush is not alone in embracing the traditional role. Al Gore is living out the script written for him by his father because Tipper Gore made the real-life sacrifices that allowed him to pursue a political career without hindrance.
The two women serve as character witnesses for their husbands, and the media have so far given them a pass on controversial issues. Laura Bush has declined, for example, to elaborate her position on abortion and the death penalty, two areas where some suspect she may hold different views from her husband. Al Gore's shifting stand on abortion rights has been well documented, but Tipper's evolution in thinking has gone unexamined. The women in the spotlight this year don't seem quite so out of reach to voters, the way Hillary did in 1992. They are intelligent and they have degrees, but they fit more comfortably into the life patterns of ordinary women. Hillary was a superstar with outsized out·size
1. An unusual size, especially a very large size.
2. A garment of unusual size.
adj. also out·sized
Unusually large, weighty, or extensive.
Adj. 1. aspirations, and she made voters uneasy. "We warm to women who are independent-minded," says Whitehead. "But women, especially, are deeply ambivalent toward a woman who presumes to make policy"
There have been numerous biographical stories about both Al Gore and George W. Bush, yet neither candidate is particularly interesting or strong on a personal level. They haven't had to overcome great hurdles and the occasional insights they share with the public tend to sound poll-driven. When Bush's heavy drinking
Al Gore presents himself as the model father, but it was Tipper who set aside her dreams of becoming a therapist to stay home and raise a family. As a new mother, she managed to launch a fledgling career as a newspaper photographer. After her husband abruptly announced he was running for Congress, she gave up the job to join him on the campaign trail. When her crusade for parental-guidance labels on rock music records threatened potential donors to Gore's 1988 presidential run, Tipper cut short her book tour promoting, Raising PG Kids in an X-Rated Society, and stopped speaking out about cultural issues. Tipper's willingness to be part of the team is unbounded, yet she discovered that once the race was over, a spouse gets relegated to the sidelines. "Campaigns are for the two of you, an equal partnership, but then you wake up, and he's been elected to office," she said in a 1994 interview with the Chicago Tribune Chicago Tribune
Daily newspaper published in Chicago. The Tribune is one of the leading U.S. newspapers and long has been the dominant voice of the Midwest. Founded in 1847, it was bought in 1855 by six partners, including Joseph Medill (1823–99), who made the paper . "It's a rude awakening"
Given the number of times Tipper, 52, has sublimated sub·li·mate
v. sub·li·mat·ed, sub·li·mat·ing, sub·li·mates
1. Chemistry To cause (a solid or gas) to change state without becoming a liquid.
a. her wishes to accommodate her husband's career goals, you'd think she'd be the dour one in the marriage. Yet it's Tipper who supplies the bubbly in the 30-year Gore union. And she doesn't hoard her sparkling personality for her family. Her gift for making human connections stands out in contrast to her husband's corseted personality.
Laura Bush's primary project has been fining her husband, but she also has a life independent of his whims and wishes. When he joked once too often that, as a librarian, her idea of a speech is to say, "Shhhhh," she retaliated by noting that he, as someone who restricts his reading to executive summaries, thought a bibliography was the biography of the person who wrote the Bible. Don't be fooled by Laura's demure image. She is the first governor's wife in Texas to have an office in the state capitol, and she has made good use of the proximity. Her lobbying efforts won passage last year of a bill earmarking It has been suggested that some sections of this article be split into a new article entitled Earmark (USA). $17 million for Head Start reading programs, and she organized the Texas Book Festival, now in its fifth year, which has raised $900,000 for the state's public libraries. When her husband gets too cocky and self-important, she deflates him: "Bushie A Bushie, or less commonly, Bushite or Bushy, is an American political supporter of George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, or even Jeb Bush. The term is used by both supporters and opponents, and has a particular meaning within the Republican Party in that the party is , you're not president yet."
Tragedy makes people grow up, and tragedy touched Laura Bush when she was 17 and ran a stop sign in a new Chevy, hitting another car and instantly killing one of the occupants, a young man who was a classmate and a friend. No charges were brought, and the police report filed at the time showed no evidence of drinking. But the searing sear 1
v. seared, sear·ing, sears
1. To char, scorch, or burn the surface of with or as if with a hot instrument. See Synonyms at burn1.
2. experience shrouded the young woman with a reserve that few can penetrate. Friends of 20 years in Texas say they had no inkling of the accident until they read about it in a tabloid earlier this year.
If there's an analogy in Tipper Gore's life, it was the mental illness that hospitalized her mother periodically and robbed her of the family life she yearned for. Her own brush with depression following her son's car accident in 1989 deepened Tipper's appreciation for life outside of politics. Though no policy wonk Policy wonk is a term of art of politics, meaning an expert with a detailed knowledge of current or potential government policies, administrative matters, and the effects of policy and programs.
It entered general usage in the 1990s during the administration of U.S. in the Hillary mold, Tipper passionately cares about her causes--expanding the acceptance and treatment of mental illness, and treating the homeless with respect. A long-standing activist, she marched for civil rights, for anti-war candidate Eugene McCarthy, and against the Vietnam War Vietnam War, conflict in Southeast Asia, primarily fought in South Vietnam between government forces aided by the United States and guerrilla forces aided by North Vietnam. . Gore no doubt shared her sympathies, but caution born of having a prominent father prevented his injecting himself fully into the fray.
If she didn't understand her husband's reticence then, she does now. As a political wife, she can't always express what she is feeling, or thinking. She is an appendage appendage /ap·pen·dage/ (ah-pen´dij) a subordinate portion of a structure, or an outgrowth, such as a tail.
epiploic appendages see under appendix . , and her role is to be supportive. That's when Tipper picks up the camera and becomes an observer of her own life. On the night of her husband's victory in New Hampshire New Hampshire, one of the New England states of the NE United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts (S), Vermont, with the Connecticut R. forming the boundary (W), the Canadian province of Quebec (NW), and Maine and a short strip of the Atlantic Ocean (E). , Tipper turned her camera on the crowd before introducing her husband. Her self-portrait, published a few years ago in a book of her photographs, shows a shadow next to a tree. "People can read into that photograph what they wish to," she said in 1998, her half-smile anticipating the jokes about her husband's wooden persona.
At Southern Methodist University Southern Methodist University, at Dallas, Tex.; United Methodist; coeducational; chartered 1911. The school's facilities include laboratories for electron microscopy and stable isotopes, a museum of paleontology, and a graduate research center. in Dallas in 1968, when Laura Bush graduated, the campus was untouched by the nation's huge social upheavals. Realizing how sheltered she had been, Laura gently chided her father for programming her to be a teacher when she could have taken advantage of the expanding opportunities for women and gone to law school. But then, she told The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times, she didn't really want to be a lawyer. Championing the possibilities while choosing a more time-honored path is a balancing act familiar to both women in waiting.
Politics' Uxorial ux·o·ri·al
Of a wife; regarded as befitting a wife.
[From Latin uxrius, from uxor, wife. Advantage
The wives of the vice-presidential candidates present different perspectives on the continuum of First Ladyhood. Hadassah Lieberman, whose father and first husband both were rabbis, easily made the transition to political wife. The Liebermans' yin-yang partnership fits the times. Hadassah would flesh out husband Joey, as she calls him, even more, except that he's a regular guy to begin with. Lynn Cheney, on the other hand, is more at home under the lights than her reticent husband, who is accustomed to speaking "on background" under the anonymity of "a senior official." Probed by a Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times
Morning daily newspaper. Established in 1881, it was purchased and incorporated in 1884 by Harrison Gray Otis (1837–1917) under The Times-Mirror Co. (the hyphen was later dropped from the name). interviewer in 1990 about why she disliked questions about being the wife of Dick Cheney, she replied, "Well, I only mind it when I think that I am sitting here answering those questions, and nobody is over at the Pentagon asking Dick what it is like to be married to me." A journalist and author of some renown, Cheney wrote an article in 1985 for Washingtonian about "The Decline of the Dutiful du·ti·ful
1. Careful to fulfill obligations.
2. Expressing or filled with a sense of obligation.
du Wife" High-powered women weren't that women friends used to laugh together about the fact that their husbands sometimes made dinner for them.
The Cheneys just missed being baby boomers (Lynne turned 60 in August), and her bio is in the high-achieving Hillary mode. Unlike the others, she has had policy roles. She also ranks lowest on the warm and fuzzy scale. It is not a coincidence, says Whitehead. "When they get into substantive issues and policy, immediately we don't like them" Yet Lynne seems to have slid easily into the supportive spouse role, one she has played in the past. Hard as it is to believe today, the ultra-serious and monotonic monotonic - In domain theory, a function f : D -> C is monotonic (or monotone) if
for all x,y in D, x <= y => f(x) <= f(y).
("<=" is written in LaTeX as \sqsubseteq). Dick Cheney flunked out of Yale because of bad grades. It was Lynne, his high-school sweetheart, who coaxed him back to school at the University of Wyoming UW is a national research university prominent in the fields of environment and natural resource research, specializing in agriculture, energy, geology, and water resource related fields. , where she earned a doctorate in literature and, well, he made it through. When his political career took off, Lynne admitted to The New York Times in 1979 that she sometimes had difficulty concentrating on her own work because his was so fascinating. "It takes a real effort of will to step back and tell myself I'm going to teach this seminar on Matthew Arnold's poetry," she said.
Appointed chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
U.S. independent agency. Founded in 1965, it supports research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. by President Reagan in 1986, Cheney relished her role as culture cop. She vetoed a film project about the genocidal impact on Native Americans resulting from the 1492 voyage of Columbus, and noisily challenged the wave of political correctness sweeping the nation's campuses. When Governor Bush set about to reform education in Texas, he pronounced the curriculum "mush (MultiUser Shared Hallucination) See MUD.
1. (games) MUSH - Multi-User Shared Hallucination.
2. (messaging) MUSH - Mail Users' Shell. " and summoned Cheney for advice on beefing up the basics. There is speculation that if Bush wins in November, he might find a job for Cheney in his administration, perhaps as Secretary of Education.
Of these four women, Cheney has chafed chafe
v. chafed, chaf·ing, chafes
1. To wear away or irritate by rubbing.
2. To annoy; vex.
3. To warm by rubbing, as with the hands.
v.intr. most at the secondary role accorded political spouses, and is surely the most eager and the best equipped intellectually to enter the arena and debate on her terms. Yet she is likely to be the least visible on the campaign trail. Cheney can't open her mouth without creating controversy; that's why she was for a long time a favored fill-in host on CNN's "Crossfire A multi-GPU interface from ATI for connecting two ATI display adapters together for faster graphics rendering on one monitor. CrossFire machines require PCI Express slots, a CrossFire-enabled motherboard and, depending on which models are used, either a pair of ATI Radeon adapters or one ," subbing for conservative Pat Buchanan. But she's also least likely to appear because, while all these women are billed as the anti-Hillary, Cheney is the one who really is quite a bit like her. One gets the feeling that Cheney has to restrain herself from grabbing the microphone and declaring, Alexander Haig-like, "I'm in charge here." And that's just not what the country wants right now.
ELEANOR CLIFT co-wrote her most recent book, Madam President: Shattering the Last Glass Ceiling, with her husband, Tom Brazaitis.