"One of the things, the important aspects of this race is role modeling what good families should look like," Michelle Obama said at a Women for Obama event. "And my view is that if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House."
Mrs. Obama brings up a good talking point. What should the First Family look like? Should they be role models for the rest of us? How much dysfunction should be tolerated in the First Family?
John F. Kennedy appeared to have the perfect family. The country reportedly enjoyed the notion of this loving couple and their adorable children. Few at that time knew that JFK was a male whore (or is whoremonger a better word?) Would the country have tolerated this behavior and admired him so if they had known?
Then there were the Reagans. While their children were obviously dysfunctional, there was no mistaking the love between Ron and Nancy. Though a second marriage, the two certainly demonstrated lifelong loyalty to each other.
Some have jumped on Michelle Obama's statement as an attack on Hillary Clinton whose marriage has been less than idyllic. The Obama camp denies this charge. Obama's words can certainly be viewed as a positive rather than a negative statement. Rather than an attack on others, she could have intended merely to build up her husband whom she feels is a positive example of manhood-- a good father and husband, one whom she believes handles his personal affairs in an honorable way-- and who will therefore be able to handle the White House in an honorable manner as well.
On the other hand, if it were an attack on Hillary, it was a low blow.
Look, I don't like Hillary Clinton one bit. I never have. I certainly don't understand her marriage. But to blame her for Bill's inability to keep his tongue in his mouth and his hands to himself and off his zipper is ludicrous. If Hillary is such an awful wife that Bill needs to find love and companionship from another woman, he should have been honest about it and left her long ago. Monica wasn't a one-time affair. No siree. Bill has a long history of philandering and womanizing and even had a rape accusation against him from a woman whom I found credible, especially when many other women had made allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Even if Hillary is the worst wife in the world, she didn't cause Bill to behave so dishonorable again and again. That was his choice, his responsibility. Does anyone believe he would be completely faithful to any
woman? To in any way blame Hillary for not controlling Bill's behavior is a low blow. No one should be expected to control
her spouse. What kind of person would want to?
That said, I do have strong opinions on Hillary's marriage. It has nothing to do with her inability to keep Bill under control. It instead has everything to do with Hillary's toleration of him. This is not the early 1900's. In today's world, a woman doesn't need a man for financial support and protection as she once did. If Hillary, a capable and educated woman, can't make it on her own without her man, how can any of us? If Hillary can't disengage herself from a dysfunctional relationship, from a man who has repeatedly dishonored and humiliated her and endangered her own health through the possible contraction of std's, what hope do any of us have?
Now, I'm all for the sanctity of marriage and for reconciliation. I understand that any person can lose his (or her) own way for a time. There are marriages in which one person was unfaithful for some reason or another that have been reconciled successfully. The injured party has forgiven a truly repentant errant spouse and they've worked to reestablish trust and loyalty and love. Those marriages are often a beautiful example of forgiveness and redemption.
The Clinton marriage is quite different, however. Bill was well-known for his infidelities and has allegedly not ceased from them in true repentance. Hillary did know for years about his affairs and reportedly helped cover them up and then led the attacks on the women involved when any sensible and professionally competent woman would have left his sorry @$$. If she didn't know, then I would question her competence in generally as she would have to be stupid or willfully blind in Bill's case.
This is my beef with Hillary about her marriage, not that she couldn't run her own house to begin with. When she received support from those who were impressed by her "stand by your man" baloney, I was trying not to toss my cookies as my stomach turned. Personally, I would have had far more respect for her if she had said no woman should be so disrespected by her husband again and again and had declared she could make it on her own and went out and did it (even if she had waited until the day after Bill's presidency ended so as not to disrupt the nation). I know women with far fewer opportunities and abilities who bravely left horrible marriages. If they can do it, why couldn't she of all people? How can she live that way? She can't control Bill and shouldn't, but she can control herself. Where is her self respect?
So, if Michelle Obama's comment was in fact a veiled attack on Hillary for not being able to control Bill, shame on her. But Hillary's apparent lack of self-respect and inability or unwillingness to make it on her own are real issues.
Labels: Bill Clinton, Clinton, dysfunction, family, Hillary Clinton, marriage, Michelle Obama, Obama, women's issues