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Posted by on Aug 26, 2008 in Politics | 4 comments

On Not Watching Michelle Obama

I did not stay up past my bedtime on a school-night on Monday, and thus missed out on the opportunity to hear Michelle Obama address the nation from the Democratic Convention in Denver. And, if I may give my apologies in advance, should Cindy McCain address the GOP convention in Minneapolis (as I assume she will) I will be busy washing my hair. Why? Because it simply doesn’t matter to me who the candidates are married to or, for that matter, if they are married at all. Spouses of presidents have no place in running the country, and when either Michelle or Cindy show up in the West Wing, I’d best not hear anything about them crafting legislation, making policy or getting their hands on the workings of our government.

Why? Because the voters have no control over them. You can’t remove them from the artificial “office” of First Lady (at term which does not appear anywhere in the constitution) nor can you control their ascension to such an “office.” What if the president gets a divorce while in office? Must he or she leave? No. It is not a position in our government, which is why I will always maintain that Hillary Clinton’s eight years of “experience” as First Lady does not count for diddly-squat. Similarly, I see that Cindy McCain is heading to Georgia. Why? She is a private citizen and not running for any office. (John Cole is spot on to call this “absurd.”) I’m sure Chelsea Clinton had a grand time during her eight years in the White House, but I don’t want our next president nominating her for the Supreme Court. Does Michelle Obama have anti-American feelings? Was Cindy McCain involved in shady business deals? I don’t care. I’m not electing either one of them.

The conventions, far from the “bad old days” of smoke-filled rooms and actual votes and decisions, have become nothing but carefully orchestrated dog-and-pony shows. This year’s Democratic convention offers the novelty of the Hillary supporters looking to cause mischief, which provides a movable feast for the media, but matters not a whit in terms of the process. Obama and McCain are the nominees. The vote is a formality and could have been done in a conference call.

But Jazz,” I can hear some complaining, “a spouse has the ear of the president every day. And doesn’t their choice of whom to marry speak to their judgment?” Ha! Judgment, smudgment, blah blah blah. I was a registered Republican from 1976 until 2005. In the 90’s I married a very liberal Democrat. That action changed my political ideology not at all, aside from yearly fights to steal each other’s lawn signs.

If you really want to use your convention coverage for something useful, what say we have a meeting of the rules committees and talk about the seriously broken primary process in both parties and how to fix it? Have we all so quickly forgotten what a sordid mess the whole affair turned into this spring? Now that would be some useful news and worthy of coverage and debate. The rest of this nonsense is nothing that couldn’t be done by any of the speakers in any location by simply calling a press conference.