To outward appearances, Mr. and Mrs. Obama are deeply in love, and also a matched team in furthering his career. The daughters, Malia and Sasha, seem to be polite, good students, warmly attached to mom and dad. Possibly Malia, who is around 13, throws tantrums over wanting to go steady and screams at Michelle, “You never loved me!” in the privacy of the family quarters, but it seems unlikely.
We may contrast this almost-too-perfect script from a Frank Capra movie with the train wrecks of domesticity the GOP has served up over the years. While I heard of no blemishes on the family image of the Romneys (aside from the dubious business morality of the pater familias), take the Palins, puh-leeze: Nobody but nobody ever worked the family values-scam harder than the floozy Sarah Palin with her floozy daughter, drunken son and all-round battlin’, griftin‘ mob of sanctimonious phonies.
Then there was horndog McCain, nobody’s model of marital fidelity. And before that the Bush IIs, with their drunken lout of a father who could not hold a job and their out-of-control drunken daughters.
The Bush Is were scandal-free but not very close. When Bush I needed a family portrait for political purposes, he could not get his children to gather for the photographer, so he created a clumsy forgery.
And who can forget the Reagans, paragons of all old-fashioned virtues, except for Ron Jr. working out his daddy issues on the teevee and Patti working out her daddy issues by taking off all her clothes and making soft porn films.I do not usually pay attention to the domestic affairs of political leaders. It does not have to affect their ability to operate -- FDR’s sham marriage and the misadventures of his sons did not prevent him from being the most effective president of the 20th century. (With Nixon, the dynamic apparently ran in the other direction; his political life made his wife’s life miserable. One wonders whether a loving and supportive wife would have buffed out some of the vindictive hatefulness in the man, but probably it wouldn’t have. Sociopaths are resistant to love.) But an otherwise trivial event blew up over the last week that really makes the question -- why don’t the Republicans admire the fine family values of the Obamas? -- insistent.
|Dressed for church|
A minor league, but entirely typical, Republican operative, Elizabeth Lauten, launched a weird attack on the behavior and appearance of Sasha and Malia at the pardoning of the turkeys. Lauten probably didn’t have that many readers but the Internet is a multiplier.
And her remarks were truly weird. She criticized the girls for dressing like they were going to a bar. In fact, as anyone can see, they were dressed either for church or the mall. Or maybe school. You might imagine that Lauten hasn’t ever been to a bar, but as we will see, that is not so.
More subjective was her rant that the girls seemed bored and showed a lack of respect. Lack of respect for a turkey pardoning? Say it ain’t so!
I watched the entire 5-minute film of the event on Post TV and while it did not show any eyerolling, the camera wasn’t on the girls most of the time. I have no trouble imagining that two girls, 13 and 16, rolled their eyes at some of the president’s corny jokes. “Come on, Dad!”
Or that they were bored. So what?
Lauten later removed her post but the Internet never forgets.
Subsequent to her apology and resignation, she scrubbed her FB page, but the Internet is not only retentive but cruel.
It turns out that when Elizabeth Lauten was Sasha’s age she was robbing Belk’s although unlike Mike Brown, she was not shot to death for it. And she does know what the inside of a bar looks like. Her own Twitter feed had a picture of her blowing a longneck.
Stay classy, Elizabeth.
It will come as no surprise that the Republicans, instead of trying to put Elizabeth Lauten as far behind them as possible, could not refrain from complaining that Democrats did worse, although they could not show any instance of it.
So, back to the original question: Why doesn’t the party of family values embrace the wonderful family values of the Obamas?
I can think of only one possible reason: the Obamas are black.