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Laura Bush, Cindy McCain to Host Morning Shows

April 17, 2008

In case anyone still doubted the transformation of American politics into just another form of entertainment, news that Laura Bush and her would-be Republican successor Cindy McCain will soon be hosting NBC's Today Show and ABC's The View should be a case in point. And to be sure, millions of Americans will see the two Republican women presented as the very models of the modern First Lady.
On Tuesday, April 22nd, Mrs. Bush will co-host the 9 AM hour of the Today Show. In addition to her hosting duties, the press release reads, she "will also give Ann Curry a rare look inside the Bush family ranch in Crawford, Texas" and explain "the 'green' eco-friendly design of the home." The First Lady will also be briefly joined by her soon-to-be-married daughter Jenna to discuss their new children's book, Read All About It.
Of course, they are less likely to discuss Jenna's first book, Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope. In it, she parts company with her U.S. AIDS ambassador/mother regarding abstinence. (In an interview with Diane Sawyer, she added, "kids need to have education. They need to be educated in order to make the right decision for themselves.")
No doubt, Americans will also hear little about Laura's progress in brokering a peace deal between the Bloods and the Cripps as part of her backburnered anti-gang initiative once glowingly previewed by her husband during his 2005 State of the Union. And with America casualties again rising in Iraq, morning viewers can expect no reprise of Mrs. Bush's complaint a year ago that "no one suffers more than their President and I do" or her earlier grousing that "many parts of Iraq are stable now. But, of course, what we see on television is the one bombing a day that discourages everybody."
For her part, Cindy McCain will take to the airwaves a day earlier on April 21st to join the panel on ABC's The View. There, she will certainly be warmly received her conservative co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who fawned over Mrs. McCain's husband during his appearance on the show last week.
One topic certain to be avoided by both is Chelsea Clinton. Hasselbeck, after all, recently said, "I felt for her" after Chelsea was questioned on the campaign trail about her father's affair with Monica Lewinsky. To be sure, Elizabeth Hasselbeck will not ask Cindy about her own reaction to her husband John McCain's 1998 slur against the young Chelsea:

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno."

Needless to say, that won't be the only topic that will be off-limits. It is unlikely that Barbara Walters will ask Mrs. McCain if copying and pasting content from the Food Network is the secret tradition behind the "McCain Family Recipes." Even Whoopi Goldberg will show restraint by avoiding asking Cindy if in fact John McCain allegedly called her a c-word in 1992 or by bringing up their adulterous relationship well underway before the dissolution of McCain's first marriage. Instead, any questions directed to Mrs. McCain, the $100 million beer heiress and owner of 8 homes, will no doubt focus on Barack Obama's "elitism."
It is possible, of course, that Michelle Obama or Bill Clinton will get their chance to host one of the network morning shows as soon as one of their respective spouses has sewn up the Democratic nomination. But don't count it. They are simply not the archetypes of tradition and deference that the media wish to portray as the Stepfordesque ideal of the First Lady. For that casting call, ABC and NBC will turn to the likes of the GOP's Laura Bush and Cindy McCain every time.


About

Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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