Obviously going for the softer approach, the Republicans decided to send out Laura Bush and Cindy McCain to show that the Republicans care much more this time around. The sting of Katrina still remains, so doing some image bolstering, they got in early with showing their support for victims of Hurricane Gustav. Too bad it’s now called Tropical Storm Gustav.

Cindy McCain

Laura Bush, Cindy McCain ask help for victims. With their plans for opening day of the Republican National Convention dashed, first lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain instead appealed to GOP faithful to donate time and money to those caught in Hurricane Gustav.

Appearing at the podium, Bush said America’s priority has shifted away from politics, but that the hurricane offered an opportunity for a politically divided America to come together. “The effect of Hurricane Gustav is just now being measured. When such events occur, we are reminded that first, we are all Americans, and that our shared American ideals will always transcend political parties and partisanship,” she told delegates. — Associated Press

Cindy McCain: A Quiet Strength. Cindy McCain is tougher this time around, though it’s hard to imagine her otherwise. She is impeccable — that ever-present smile, the ever-present pearls, the folded hands and elegant suits, the very proper look she said she got from her “very proper” mother. — Washington Post

Mrs. McCain, Demure in 2000, Is Speaking Up in a Steely Tone. Cindy McCain on the presidential campaign trail in 2000 was mostly a cheerful sidekick to her husband, keeping her positions on national policy to herself. When her husband, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, saw his White House run collapse in the South Carolina primary — after a whispering campaign suggesting that he had fathered an illegitimate child and bringing up her onetime addiction to painkillers — Mrs. McCain burst into tears, but then joined her husband on a road of forgiving and forgetting.—The New York Times

Laura Bush

Laura Bush, ‘thrilled’ by Palin pick, warns against sexism. First Lady Laura Bush, the wife of a Republican governor who became a Republican president, has voted for Republican men for a very long time. But now that John McCain has selected Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, Laura Bush said she was “very thrilled” to finally be voting for a Republican woman. — Los Angeles Times

First lady takes shots with a smile. First lady Laura Bush on Monday did what only she could do on an unprecedented occasion – deliver tough political jabs on behalf of Sen. John McCain on a day in which the Republicans had forsworn overt political activity because of Hurricane Gustav. — The Washington Times

First lady increasingly confident in spotlight. Myanmar, first lady Laura Bush was standing right behind him in the Oval Office. But really, she was the one out front. Laura Bush presided in the White House briefing room a day before the president spoke on the devastation in South Asia. She blistered military leaders in Myanmar as being “very inept” for repressing citizens and decimating an economy, and urged them to accept humanitarian aid to help a shaken nation recover. — News Box

Commentary:

Ladies first. The legal concept of the femme couverte, whereby a woman, upon marrying, was absorbed into the person of her husband, was described by the eighteenth-century British scholar Sir William Blackstone in terms that reached for the metaphysical. “The very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband, under whose wing, protection, and cover she performs everything,” Blackstone wrote, in his “Commentaries on the Laws of England.” The notion that a woman who marries is, as if by some peculiar biochemical process, transformed into something like an extra organ of her husband, as functional and compliant as a healthy kidney, has ceased to exercise much persuasive power among the general public. Few contemporary wives are expected to conform without dissent to the beliefs, interests, and preoccupations of their husbands, and standup comedy would be the poorer if they did. But there is one class of wife among which evidence of independent thinking is usually a cause for public comment: the small but influential population of First Ladies. — The New Yorker

Videos:

Laura Bush, Cindy McCain Open Convention

And already the spoof version:
Cindy McCain and Laura Bush at the RNC 2008

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW