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APRIL 29, 2010 12:03PM

I Kind of Love Laura Bush: Confession of a Democrat

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In the foreword to her acclaimed novel "American Wife," Curtis Sittenfeld admits that she wrote the book because of the affection she felt for Laura Bush after reading a biography on her. This puzzled her since Laura Bush is the wife of a man that most Democrats would like to erase from the history books.

At first, I thought Sittenfeld was simply an anomaly, but then I read the biography myself, as well as Sittenfeld's fictional biography on the former First Lady, and I felt my resolve begin to weaken.

Now, details about Laura Bush's new autobiography have come out, and in it, she talks extensively about losing her faith after killing one of her classmates in an automobile accident.

Strangely, this was the final push that sent me over the cliff of affection into full-blown love for Laura Bush...

...while still completely deploring her husband.

Oh, don't think that she turns against him in this new book. She defends his flying over New Orleans after Katrina in a helicopter. Still, when it's Laura Bush defending the flight, somehow, it seems to make sense.

She says that it would have been irrational for him to go by land as it might have stopped medical and food supplies on trucks from getting to where they needed to go.

I read that and thought, Wow, maybe President Bush should have appointed his wife his Press Secretary.

It's more than just her words, though. It's her whole demeanor. There's just something about her that's really hard to dislike.

When First Lady Michelle Obama was criticized for saying that she was never prouder of her country than when her husband was running for President, Laura Bush was the one who silenced the critics by defending the future First Lady and pointing out that the statements were edited and presented out of context.

That defense nearly gave me ideological whiplash.

Did Laura Bush just defend Michelle Obama?

Following that, Michelle Obama went on The View and said that she thought Laura Bush was a role model for a potential First Lady, and I actually found myself agreeing with her.

Ironically, it's what most would consider political poison that I find appealing about Laura Bush: That car accident.

Something about the tragedy and the admission that she lost her faith during that time peels away that political sheen that seems to exist around every politician and those they come in contact with for the duration of their careers. The fact that she's now opening up about it makes me see her more as a human, and a really tough human at that.

I guess what I like most about her is that she's never really seemed comfortable in the political spotlight. Everything written about her indicates that she's a devoted wife who supported her husband and continues to do so, but that given the choice, this is probably not the life she would have chosen. She's a political figure I feel comfortable liking for the simple reason that she's not a very good political figure.

Plus, she was a school librarian. I mean, c'mon, how do you hate a school librarian?


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I always liked her. She seems to handle some difficult in-laws rather well.
Its not a hatred of Laura herself, I just couldn't stand that she was another puppet for the Bush the lessor administration. Anytime Georgey got himself in trouble they would trot Laura out to go before the cameras and denounce the "evil liberal media". Just once I would have liked to see her stand up for herself and speak her true mind.
Also whenever a conservaitve started going on about Ted Kennedy's accident I had to use Laura to call them on their hypocracy. And I still don't accept the offical story consdering how many revisions it has gone through over the years.
I, too, read and enjoyed Curtis Sittenfeld's Laura-inspired novel...I've read excerpts from the former first lady's bio and agree she is a sympathetic character....In fact, she used to be a Democrat! Besides, you have to give her props for putting up w/the white haired, triple pearl choker'ed grandma for so many years!
Despicable people marry other despicable people - that's how they stay married. Who's your next crush, Eva Braun?
Haven't read the bio, but I don't share your affection. Throughout the Bush presidency I was astounded that an apparently intelligent and thoughtful woman could support him--husband or not. Sorry, she was on board through all of that. I don't 'hate' her but no affection here for being a good political wife to that man.
I wish I loved Laura Bush because she reminds me of my gracious, genteel, ladylike mother. I appreciate her dedication to literacy and can't hate a school librarian either. However, in supporting George W. Bush, she really supports the unsupportable. Sorry. Can't do it. Can't share your love.
There's a great line in "American Wife."

I'm paraphrasing--

"You elected him. I just married him."

I've dated people that I wouldn't want as my President, but I certainly wouldn't have any say in whether or not other people did.
To me, she always sounds sedated when she talks (as if she's taken too many quaaludes or something.) Plus, she's always seemed so Stepford Wife-like when Bush was in office. The excerpts I've heard from her book are making me rethink my dismissal of her, though. Now I think that maybe she had to be sedated in order to survive the Bush years like the rest of us.
and Sara Palin rocks the Bumpit.
I think she married for money. Pretty tempting for a woman living on a teacher's salary and pushing 30.

But, in spite of that, I have often been impressed with her. She won me over on Oprah shortly after 9/11 when she told people to think about their kids' teachers who have to deal with kids' emotions and questions and keep it together themselves all day. I really appreciated that. And in the week that followed it, we had several moms bring treats and write notes of encouragement for our teaching staff.
Great post Kevin. Warm and heartfelt emotions.

too bad some hate filled nuts had to show up and ruin it.

Eva Braun? come on.
I loved Sittenfeld's book--do you think the depiction of Barbara Bush is on target?
I had wondered why she would consent to marry him. Wearing a suit to her own first wedding, kind of down playing the whole thing in a way. Also, I had heard she was air lifted when she was about to give birth to the twins and her husband was making a pledge to her to be sober or a better husband or something like that. I had heard she killed someone in an accident. I think she might have been really scarred by that experience and might have stifled it in someways her whole life then got mixed up with the Bush family and decided to live out a kind of penance. I don't know. She seems a bright and intelligent women, I have been trying to figure out for years why she would have bothered with someone like him, you know a former drug and alcohol, never want to grow up, now I have Jesus sort. Hard to understand. Well, she did it and now she gets to live with it. Doesn't seem to be too bad for her. Rated.
Two thumbs called it. Great post. Nut cases showed up to try to ruin it. Laura Bush is a classy lady.

I felt about Bill Clinton like so many of you now do about Bush. I've come to have a bit more respect for him in later years. And no matter what any of us have to think about any of them, one thing they will always have that we never will is that honorific: Mr. President. That's theirs for life. Like them or not, either one, they were President. We never will be. Tough life, ain't it?
I have no emotion about this lady whatsoever. I neither like nor dislike her in any way.

I find it nearly impossible to be interested in her faith or lack of such, or the crimes and sins of her past.
She is simply another image, attached to words, that will float back out of my consiousness...replaced perhaps by the graceful tones of the new first lady, for which I have only the dimmest of affections brought forth by my tendancy to appreciate her wardrobe.
It's that sexy librarian kind of thing, isn't it?
I read the NY Times review of the book and it confirmed my feeling that she was the smart one in the household. Sure, her defense of her husband's policies was a little disappointing, but really, do you expect her to bash the man's she married to in print? The stuff about the accident, and feeling isolated in the White House, humanized her. There's no contradiction in liking her and thinking her husband was the worst President ever.
I like the lady. xox
I'm not generally too worked up over First Ladies. Laura was OK, I guess. Don't know why she married Chimpy but love is blind and crazy at times. As they say, there's a lid for every pot. In any event, we don't vote for them, they do have their little pet projects but beyond that they're just part of our version of the royal family.
I don't see why it's a question of love or hate with Laura Bush. True, how can you hate a school librarian? You can't hate her because librarians per se are boring. They may be perfectly nice people individually, but if you project yourself as a bland, nice librarian, with few opinions or beliefs that might make you stand out as an individual, for me there is not much to love or hate. In summary, yawn.
Bonnie Russell gets it about marrying beneath her.
Even if she was retarded, she'd have married beneath her.
BTW-I did say retarded as, being pc is chickenshit because it costs accuracy.

Lisa Kern beat me to the "Stepford wife" comparison.

To: Kevin "Broccoli", You do realize, don't you, that her father in law hated you?

In my 71 years, I have never ever detested any politician more than I will forever detest her scumbag and cowardly husband.
A major reason is my serving in Nam while this punk HID in Ala to get out of being a man and serving his country.
Then, after being an illegal alien in the oval office, he did everything he could to ruin that same country.

So, was Laura really starry eyed?
Did she marry "for money"?
Is she drugged surreptitiously by those "in control"?
Has she been "warned" about telling any truths?

And, what I wonder most sincerely, has she been an abuse victim by the jerk to whom she is married?
i feel the same, kevin.

i tried to hate her, but she's a really bright, classy lady with a great heart. i really like her.

and when she defended michelle, wow.
One person is elected President. What is inexplicable to me is why it matters at all about the so called First Lady? She was not elected but sort of goes along for the ride and is expected to do all sorts of social things. It is patronising and really odd to me. In countries with Prime Ministers ,for example, their families are often not a part of any news gathering unless they choose to be public. After all, they move to a different house for the period the P.M. holds that position which is rarely for the four years a President has office at least. One must consider really that a President is kind of the king ( one day, the queen) and thus one has a royal family for the 4 to 8 years. Considering the huge and questionably constitutional powers that that office has gathered unto itself, it is a reasonable comparison of royalty,. Mrs. Bush seems a decent lady but it seems that she did not have a great deal of self esteem and married beneath her intellect and ethical stature in my estimation.
Kind of love that similar to "kind of pregnant" or "kind of like chicken" or what? And how can you love someone simply because she admitted that she had guilt over an accident (she should have) or that she thought Michelle O was whatever(who cares?) This is how one falls in love, or kind of in love..or whatever? Just more media mush...thanks for writing it but not much depth to what is a woman who had to ask her mother-in-law how to be a first lady, and was told to be as quiet as possible. (research this for factual comment if you want)...which she did. Until now. And of course she would defend her spouse...her mommy in law does, and everyone else in that political dynasty defends each other. What else is new? But I'm glad you are kind of in love...makes my day..NOT.
Only the most delusional tea-bagging types are going to consider GWB a great, good or even decent president.

So with that out of the way......

I have little doubt that most who are here taking shots at the Bushes, their marriage and the circumstances under which they met, dated, married et al are the same folks who revere the divine relationship of Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham.

At least the Bushes can stand each other enough to share a residence, bed and life.....which is a lot more than can be said about the Clintons.

As Dennis Miller said, "The Clinton marriage couldn't be more about convenience unless they installed a Slurpee machine and a Slim-Jim rack at the foot of their bed."
Not to pick nits, but wasn't the famous Katrina flyover accomplished in Air Force One, rather than a helicopter? Flying over in a helicopter might have afforded the ability to land and see, to drop a ladder, perhaps to pick up some of those people who literally roasted to death on rooftops (or at least waive to them and mouth "Hang on. I'll send someone to help you! "). Not really feasible in a 747 at 35K feet.

Gosh, come to think of it, from his days avoiding the draft by faking his flyboy credentials straight through "Mission Accomplished!", he sure made a lot of blunders in midair. Helluva job, Georgie.