President Clinton once made a visit to the Boeing Company. It was a big event. The news channels covered his visit and the company went all out for the visit the short time he was actually there. Metal detectors were installed inside the factory for those who got the chance to hear the President speak. I was one of the lucky ones that received a golden ticket for the event. The group I worked in was all men and all considerably older than myself. They selected me to be the one person in the group allowed to go hear the President, partly because several men in the group wouldn't have cared to hear President Clinton speak even if we all had been given tickets.
The Clinton administration started off a bit rocky, with Bill Clinton remarking that the country would get "two for the price of one." Hillary would create a "new kind of first lady" and take a prominent role in the White House. Bill and Hillary were two peas in a pod and both championed liberal politics.
With the presidential election starting to heat up, it reminded me of my bible study from last year where we learned about Solomon. I started wondering what impact wives had on the decisions their husbands made, even as president.
Solomon was greatly influenced by his wife, Pharoah's daughter, and subsequently all of his wives. They led him away from the worship of God to the worship of idols.
1 Kings 11:1-10
“Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, besides the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; of the nations concerning which The Lord said unto the children of Israel: 'Ye shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods'; Solomon did cleave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not whole with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the detestation of the Ammonites. And Solomon did that which was evil in the sight of The Lord, and went not fully after The Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the detestation of Moab, in the mount that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the detestation of the children of Ammon. And so did he for all his foreign wives, who offered and sacrificed unto their gods. And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods; but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.”
The roles of some First Ladies
Quoted as being personally opposed to abortion, but not in a position to decided for others, she supported abortion rights. Her husband, Jimmy Carter, also echoed this fence-sitting sentiment, citing the separation of church and state, and supports the Supreme Court decision. She frequently sat in on cabinet meetings and took the role as advisor. Rosalynn is currently a "global human rights activist," supports mental health issues, and works with her husband on Habitat for Humanity and at the Carter Center.
By all accounts, she had a close relationship with her husband. Was against abortion, but after the death of President Reagan has urged President George W. Bush to support embryonic stem-cell research hoping it would lead to a cure for Alzheimer's disease. Also supported the Foster Grandparent Program, veterans causes, and Just Say No to drugs. Although Ronald Reagan was against abortion, he appointed two quasi-conservatives to the bench, Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy.
With Barbara an abortion supporter, George H.W. Bush has supported abortion (prior to hitching his horse to the Reagan presidency) and then came out as anti-abortion while in the White House, even vetoing several abortion bills. Appointed a mixed bag to the bench, David Souter and Clarence Thomas. Barbara called for the Republican party to drop its pro-life position during the 2000 elections.
While her husband, George W. Bush, has stated that he opposes abortion except in the cases of rape or incest, or if the life of the mother is at risk, Laura Bush is a supporter of abortion rights. However, this presidency saw abortion restrictions as well as full funding for abstinence-only education and blocked distribution for the morning-after pill, along with appointing two Catholics to the bench, Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
Looking ahead to 2008
I have never understood politicians. They want to be the leader of our country, but at the same time, they are not leaders in the strict sense of the word. They are political animals. Opportunists. Tilting to whichever way the wind blows instead of having a position and sticking to it. Listening to the advice and counsel of others has its place, but so few politicians have a plan of action and seek to carry it out. How many candidates have flip-flopped on issues for politically expedient reasons? How many sit on the fence and don't answer questions directly?
I hope our next president has a spouse who champions life and is able to get the ear of the president.