No Candidate's Spouse Is Rocking My Vote for 2012

Michelle ObamaI am not a political person at all. I remember being all hype to become a registered voter and then fizzling — at record speed might I add — as I realized that everything was a heck of a lot more complicated than just finding a candidate who represents your sentiments on a set of particular issues and pulling a lever to help put them in office.

There are a handful of politicians I’ve followed no matter where they are in the country and what seat they’re presently filling. Barack Obama was one of those few people after I first heard about his grassroots handiwork in Chicago. When he was on the campaign trail, I got a chance to develop more respect for not only him, but Michelle too. That’s not to say I’ve agreed with everything they’ve said and supported over the last three years. I just haven’t seen another husband-and-wife duo yet who impress me like they do. And no, it’s not just because they’re black.

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There are some women who just cheerlead their husbands through their candidacy and, if they’re lucky, their presidency. They show up in high-collared, Ann Taylor Loft-ish business suits, careful to not show too much cleavage or too much leg, and wave at the crowds like the old school women-should-stay-in-their-place guard have groomed them to. There’s nothing wrong with that, I guess, except their conservativism is a flagrant waste of opportunity to be outspoken about issues and topics that are clearly the pink elephants all over the country.

That doesn’t boil down to simply talking about religion (eh-hem, Anita Perry). There are a host of other subjects not easily informed by faith-based beliefs and aren’t as cut and dry to argue against “the what would Jesus do?” backdrop as abortion and the death penalty are.

Thank goodness there are other women who I can really envision holding their man accountable to the decisions he’s made and the promises he’s declared. Hillary Clinton was one of them. Michelle Obama is another. I can’t imagine either one of them going to bed at night with their mouths all poked out in disagreement. I am quite sure that their personalities and their relationships with their hubbies have given them the level of comfort they need to let it rip in opposition. And I like that, largely because I’m not a fan of trophy wives.

Especially in pursuit of a position as mighty and powerful as Commander in Chief, a candidate should have his own system of checks and balances right there in his own household. (I say “his” for now, until we get a viable female candidate for the position. And so far as I can tell, not a one has cropped up just yet.) The first lady wields a lot of power herself — if not just in the media — and seeing that go to waste on fancy dinners and interior design tours is deflating.

The nature of politics doesn’t encourage women to be vehemently passionate.  It’s a fine line to walk, I know. Too much emotion and she’s a basketcase unable to handle pressure. Too little and she’s labeled a stoic robot a la Condoleezza Rice. Sometimes a gal can’t win for losing. But it’s still nice to see the first lady — aspiring and actual — stand behind her man but step out into her own right, as well.

Does the spouse of a political candidate have an influence on who you ultimately vote for?


Image via Rusty Darbonne/Flickr

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