The Corner

First Ladies, Ctd.

An email:

Stop being so bloody obtuse. You’re doing it deliberately. We vote for

a president and a vice-president; the Constitution does not permit a

co-President. Laura Bush is wonderful, but I did not and would not have

voted for her husband because she is his wife.

If the wife wants to have some role in the government, let her go

through the hiring and/or confirmation process. Else, let her confine

her influence to pillow talk.

Hillary Clinton had no legal standing with her little health care

committee, and she was abrogating the office of the Health and Social

Services without going through the hoops. As such, she should have kept

her bloody mitts out of government. Advise Slick Willie, yes; a wife is

free to tell her husband anything. Play an active role in government?

Hell, no.

BTW, you’re not missing anything. You’re being deliberately dense.

My response: I’m accused of pretending to be dense–an act that must bring special pain to someone like my correspondent, who obviously comes by her denseness honestly. She writes that the president and vice president are elected, while the First Lady is not. No kidding. That’s why I brought up the example of a Cabinet officer. Cabinet officers aren’t elected either; you have to vote for president making assumptions about what kind of people he will select and how much power he will give them. But you have a pretty good idea of who the First Lady will be, and Clinton indeed promised in 1992 that his election would let voters “buy one, get one free.” So, again, where’s the lack of accountability?

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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