Thursday, July 17, 2008

The wife of a candidate

By Libby

In remarks made to Glamour magazine, Obama said the right wing media, new and old, have been unfairly attacking his wife. That's true enough but he went on to suggest that "spouses be off limits, calling them 'civilians' and saying 'they didn’t sign up for this.'" I'd have to disagree.

In the old days, the candidate's wife was pretty much a background figure who did little more than stand on stage and smile adoringly at her husband, if they even appeared on the campaign trail at all. Now they take an active role in the campaign, appearing alone at events and that makes them as fair a target as any surrogate. Granted the surrogates get way too much attention from the press, but that's a whole other argument. One that deserves discussion perhaps, but is unlikely to change in a media obsessed with inventing scandals out of thin air.

In any event, as long as the wives are active in the campaigning, I don't think it's realistic to expect they'll escape the usual scrutiny. As we used to say around the ACLU office, the antidote to bad speech is more speech, not less. Better to fight back against the false memes than complain about them.

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2 Comments:

OpenID expatbrian said...

I agree. Wives have a tremendous influence and that has to be taken into account. Hillary is a perfect example as is Nancy Reagan. From what I've seen so far, Michelle Obama is a class act and a positive part of Obama's quest. I think she would be a refreshing, if not downright fun first lady.

8:34:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I think she'll be a good First Lady too.

8:06:00 AM  

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