First Ladies Are Not Presidents

hillary clinton

A First Lady does not run the country, her husband does. While I am a firm believer that beside every great man stands a great woman, (not behind her man), we still have the great man in first position. It’s her husband that will help pass new legislation, that will represent our country to the rest of the world, and that will ultimately make the decisions. Not the First Lady.



Although a First Lady can influence her husband’s position on various issues, her influence does not extend to the rest of the executive or legislative branches. It’s also difficult to gauge what sort of first lady a presidential candidate’s wife will become. Typically, we are not given many opportunities to get to know her until after her husband has been elected. It’s at that time we learn about initiatives she may support or programs she hopes to start. 

Of course, there is an exception.  

When President Clinton was running for office, he promised his voters that it would be a two-for-one deal. Mrs. Clinton would partner with him in running the country. During his eight year term, it seemed that she did.  Shortly after his inauguration, she was appointed to Clinton’s task force on Health Care Reform where she had a very important role on that issue. I don’t know that another first lady was as directly involved as Mrs. Clinton was.  

It seems lately that there has been some more exposure from wives and even ex-wives. And based on what happened in South Carolina recently, it appears that even ex-wives do not impact whether a candidate is electable. We all watched as the headlines unfolded about Newt Gingrinch and the love triangles that he has been involved in with wives one, two, and three. Even after his second wife came out with nasty allegations about the former speaker’s, um, “requests,” Gingrinch still was able to win the South Carolina primary. Who would have thought that conservatives would have looked passed those indiscretions?

As for current wives,  I recently heard an interview by Wolf Blitzer  of Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann. It was a very touching and personal interview that discussed Mrs. Romney’s illness and how their marriage has flourished over the last 43 years.  As much as I admired Mrs.  Romney’s strength and courage and her passion for motherhood, my candidate of choice hasn’t changed. Romney and his wife seem like a lovely couple, but I will not be voting for Romney. 

As for one final thought, how much influence a wife has on her husband, and ultimately our nation, depends on the couple but my vote still goes to the candidate on the ballot.  

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. Read the original question and find links to all their responses here: In a Presidential Election, Do Spouses Matter?


Image via  U.S. Dept. of State / Flickr

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