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Posted by on Jun 5, 2007 in At TMV | 23 comments

Too Beautiful for Politics

Libby Spencer argues that Jeri Thompson is, quite simply, too young and too beautiful for a First Lady. In a post yesterday, Libby called Jeri a “trophy wife.” Strangely, people considered that to be some kind of insult. After all: it merely implies that Fred married her because she’s young and beautiful, not because of her character or intelligence.

What’s insulting about that?

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  • Trophy wife is generally used as an insult.

  • lol, did you read the rest of my post Holly?

  • Ro

    Well, yes, in this context, it’s an insult. Saying someone is too beautiful to be first lady is a lot like saying someone is too ugly to be first lady. The reasons people give for men not being able hold some (any) position almost never come down to what they look like. For women, it’s open game for people to judge their looks and how it will/may affect their successes. Did anyone read the “using your breasts effectively” from ABC News a few days ago? How about all the appearance-related bull in Carl Bernstein’s new book on Hillary Clinton? Her weight, whether or not she wears stalkings, the supposed thickness of her ankles.

  • Michael said:

    Telling African-Americans that they are “articulate” (because most African-Americans clearly are not) is, somehow, an insult.

    Huh? Did you just have Imus moment or something? I think it’s pretty safe to say that most ALL people are not articulate. That goes for white, black, asian, etc.

    The reason it’s bad to say someone black is articulate, is because it implies that it is somehow stunning that a black person can speak.

  • As for the trophy wife thing, in this case it’s not necessarily an insult to Jeri (although it implies that she is concerned more with wealth and power than genuine love). Instead, it calls into question Thompson’s morality and values, that would appear to value vanity above substance.

  • How about all the appearance-related bull in Carl Bernstein’s new book on Hillary Clinton? Her weight, whether or not she wears stalkings, the supposed thickness of her ankles.

    Yes, the frequency with which coverage and criticism of Hillary focuses on appearance is frankly bizarre. Same with criticisms of how Bush walks, the gap between Rice’s teeth, and the boyish looks of Quayle and Edwards.

  • Rudi

    Were talking about the wrong trophy, I recommend Jeri Ryan!!

  • Chris – no, Imus was dead serious, I was not. I was ironic.

  • Ro

    The difference, Jason, is the rarity with which appearance actually holds back the success of men. Nobody is saying Edwards it too pretty to be president — they say that he’s wasteful because of what he does to enhance his looks, but not that he’s too good looking to be taken seriously.

  • It hurt Quayle pretty badly, but generally you are correct

  • Mike,
    Sorry… I didn’t pick up on the irony, but I don’t think Imus was being serious either 🙂

  • If looks were all, Mrs. Thompson might have trouble beating out Mrs. Dennis Kucinich. But the First Lady question has been complicated by having a First Lady now running for President and much more:

  • casualobserver

    Boy, if that rambling, convoluted, double-speaking, jealousy-induced piece is Libby Spencer journalism, I’m glad I have little reason to read her. No doubt she reads the magazines at the super market checkout for professional inspiration.

    Note the negligible reference to Kucinich. Clearly, that man has been written off as a going-nowhere candidate.

    This Jeri Thompson thing really has legs…..(guffaw, guffaw) I remember arguing this same thread with kritter 4 weeks ago.

    Why doesn’t the press just coronate Fred now and save us all the misery of the campaign cycle.

  • It wasn’t Quayle’s looks that got him in trouble, it was his brains. If he really HAD been a Jack Kennedy, no problem.

  • Sam

    Trophy wife also implies the wife in question is a bit of a whore, having married a man for money and security.

  • casualobserver

    And one of Ms. Spencer’s readers pointed that perjorative connotation out to her on day 1 and so she sort of retracts it on day 2.

    But the old political adage goes, “It doesn’t matter what you say about me, so long as you say it often and spell my name correctly”… Nobody is getting more free press than Fred Thompson and that alone makes this prurient fascination an interesting double-sword…

  • casualobserver


  • kimrit

    I think the trophy part is more demeaning of the husband’s motives than the wife’s- it doesn’t say she’s a golddigger. But it does imply that the husband woke up after 20 years gave the first wife the ol’ heave ho, and went into a midlife crisis where he found a much younger more attractive one- arm candy. It also implies that he views her as a symbol of his own success.

  • DLS

    “after 20 years gave the first wife the ol’ heave ho”

    Trade-in time!

  • Pyst

    Seems ole Fred traded in right after he got to Hollywood, so trophy wife is a heckuva lot more an insult to Fred.

    But golddigger does apply as well, the guy was a Hollywood actor with big gov. connections.

    They both traded up in the world, and it doesn’t look like anything else to someone that see’s them for what is quite apparent.

    I’ll wait for words to come out of Fred’s mouth (which he currently won’t utter for some reason) concering his stances/ideas to bother with him being president. Of course I’m sure the words won’t be anything off script or earth shattering anyways, just as Reaganesque as he can possibly act. Actor, nothing more than that.

  • Pyst

    And one other thing.

    I don’t think america would be too happy about having it’s taxes spent to have a stripper pole set up in the White House LOL.

  • kimrit

    To be fair- Thompson was divorced for years-since 1986- and dated around a lot in Washington when he was in the Senate. (I read somewhere that Margaret Carlson was hopelessly in love with him!) Anyway, Jeri is a former RNC organizer-not from Hollywood, despite the blonde bombshell looks.

    I think there ‘s a lot of excitement because he hasn’t entered the race yet. Once they look at his record and realize he left the Senate because he didn’t like the long hours and didn’t like Washington- I’m not sure he’ll be their guy. He may not have the stamina for the campaign.

  • C Stanley

    Where are you getting this “Fred left the Senate because he didn’t like the long hours” line that you keep using? He has said that he was frustrated by the Senate (some people aren’t suited for that) and he was thinking of leaving before 9/11, then said he was reconsidering running again because of the importance of the times, then finally decided not to run when his daughter died. That’s hardly the same as someone being too worn out by the workload or too lazy to work long hours.

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