Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Something Odd I Have Noticed

One night a commentor on a liberal blog pointed out that Michelle Obama is a better orator than Barack Obama. The real politician in the family! But of course Michelle is not running for office. Barack is.

This made me think of a book I recently read in which the writer, a man, thanks his wife as the better writer in the family. He is the one who makes money out of writing in that family, though.

Then I looked back on all the comments about Elizabeth Edwards and her great political acumen, her good political plans and her strength and courage. And how I very often read what a great politician Eleanor Roosevelt was and how sad it was that she didn't have institutional power for her work until very, very late in her life.

There is something that unites all these comments: They are about women who are not career politicians or writers but the wives of career politicians or writers. And I'm wondering if the meaning of such praise isn't a little different when it is aimed at a woman who isn't, say, actively seeking office but is instead carrying out the traditionally decreed supporting role of a wife.

I'm wondering if that praise would very quickly change to something else should one of those women suddenly run for office herself. But perhaps I'm just overly sensitive right now.