In the rush to explain all that went wrong and right, what “worked” and what “failed” in both the Bush and Kerry campaigns, I hope someone remembers to include Laura Bush into the “what worked” part of the equation, because I do believe she was a big contributor to the Bush victory. Aside from being a picture perfect First Lady (not since Jackie Kennedy have we had a First Lady who so seemed to step out of central casting for the part) Mrs. Bush was, throughout the long slogs across the country and the vapid, sometimes sneering questions of reporters, ever-gracious but firm. When asked a few days before the election if President Bush would have given up drinking had it not been for her she replied, “yes, I think he would have. He’s incredibly disciplined, and he probably would have done so whether I was with him or not. But I’m glad I got to be with him.” Perfect. Graceful. I would have blasted the guy who asked that question. She killed him with kindness. (I can’t find the link to that quote but I will keep looking).
I am quite certain that a portion of America (myself included) took a look at Laura, and then cast a gander at Teresa Heinz Kerry, with her blousy hair, her gin and raisins, her “shove it” and her raised beer bottles and thought: “no…no, I can’t see her as our First Lady. Please, no.” When the first exit polls were screaming Kerry Landslide I did think: THK will be our First Lady? Egad. Please, no.
Laura deserves praise and credit. And the twins are cute, too.