Sunday, May 22, 2016

No Precedent for ‘1st First Gentleman’

1st First Gentleman, whether he is or not. An ex-president is always called 

"President So-and-so", so if Hilary Clinton is elected President, there will be two President Clintons in the White House. They will be referred to as President Bill Clinton and President Hilary Clinton according to custom, so it is not likely that Bill will be called the "First Gentleman" at all.

Unlike legislative or judicial titles, executive titles do not persist after leaving office (a result of our disdain for monarchy, one assumes). The press often refers to Bill Clinton as "former president" or "ex-president" but this are improper. His formal title is Mr. Clinton. "First Lady" is the title of the hostess of the White House, not the President's wife. From Jan 3, 2000 to Jan 20, 2000 Chelsea Clinton was our youngest First Lady (since her mother, Hilary, abdicated the office when she became Senator). She may resume the role - a politically favorable move, I would think.

The question – what will we call the husband of the nation's first female president? – may seem minor, but it has more possible answers than you'd think. 

Bill, 68, told Oprah Winfrey in 2007 that his Scottish friends had their own suggestion: "My Scottish friends say I should be called 'first laddie' because it's the closest thing to 'first lady.' I'm not so worried about what I'm called as what I'm called upon to do." 

What kind of first lady will Bill Clinton be if Hillary becomes president?1st first gentleman

The bake-off was an attempt to appeal to stay at home moms following her 

controversial response to California governor Jerry Brown’s criticism that she owed her professional success to her husband, Bill. “I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had tea,” she told a reporter in a soundbite that was reported around the world. “But what I decided to do was fulfill my profession.” Many women responded with outrage, and perhaps that’s why, shortly thereafter, Clinton participated in the traditional Family Circle first lady bake-off. And won.

Clinton’s cookies are good: my best friend’s mom used to make them for her school lunches. No doubt Hillary could have won any number of bake-offs with her recipe, but politics have paid off far more for her: in less than a year, she may be the first female president of the United States. But if that happens, she won’t be the only one breaking a gender barrier: her husband Bill will step into a role no man has ever held before. So what kind of first lady will Bill Clinton be? (Besides, of course, a manly one).

Different women leveraged the position in different ways: some argue that Lady Bird Johnson was the first to modernize the job when she campaigned on behalf of her husband Lyndon B Johnson in the mid 60s, but others wielded significant political clout before her. Eleanor Roosevelt’s work as a writer, activist, public speaker and social reformer is perhaps most famous. But other notably hard-working first ladies include Florence Harding, wife of Warren G, a passionate suffragette who edited all of her husband’s important speeches and pushed hard to influence his appointments.

But when Hillary Clinton moved into the White House in 1993, she was not granted the same flexibility. As the chair of the Task Force on National Health Care reform, she was slammed in the press for stepping beyond the reaches of her role, in spite of her clear qualifications to work on policy: the implication was that she was being unladylike. To many Americans, the revelations about her husband’s extramarital sexual proclivities confirmed their belief that Hillary was failing to fulfill the remit of the first lady: to be a pleasant and decorative hostess who represents a “traditional” and anachronistic family: a man in charge, a faithful and helpful woman by his side (even though a number of other presidents and first ladies have also had notable affairs). Indeed, Clinton blamed the affair in part on herself for failing as a wife.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Hillary Clinton Has a Few Thoughts About Bill's Potential Role as 1st First Gentleman

Bill Clinton as the “1st First Gentleman” will be very polarized, partly because 
they were in the past. Feeling thermometer scores are a way to assess public opinion, and they work on a 0 – 100 scale: 0 degrees is really cold, 50 degrees is neutral, and 100 degrees is warm. 46 percent of the public felt either very warm or very cold towards him in 1996. It would also partly have to do with him being an unusual presidential spouse. He would play a much more political role than most first ladies have done. Also, I suspect that feelings toward him would probably be very linked to Hillary Clinton: People who feel positive towards her are going to feel positive towards him, and vice versa.


Hillary Clinton, the presidential candidate who could very well become the first woman to claim the Oval Office after this year's election, has already outlined her husband's potential gig as the country's first First Gentleman. 

During last night's Democratic debate in South Carolina, Hillary was asked what kind of role former POTUS Bill might take when it comes to advising her on economic affairs. Will he have a "kitchen table role" or a "real policy role?"

Most former first ladies were not the subject of much research in this area because they did not generate much controversy. They were more traditional and so didn’t really have the same polarization. Barbara Bush is an example of a traditional first lady, and feelings towards her were very positive. Most first ladies before Hillary were not involved in policy, and usually took on projects that would have widespread approval – like reducing drug addiction or promoting good health, for example. This enabled them to travel the country in a non-partisan way and do things that both Democrats and Republicans would find laudable. Hillary Clinton deviated from that significantly. But she, and perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt, were an exception. Subsequent first ladies went back to a more traditional role, including Michelle Obama.

Donald Trump, Correctly, Labels Bill Clinton A Rapist

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump escalated his 

attacks on former President Bill Clinton, accusing him of rape in a Fox News interview Wednesday.

In an interview on Fox News’s “Hannity,” Sean Hannity compared allegations of Trump harassing women that appeared in The New York Times with accusations made against the former president.

“For example, I looked at The New York Times. Are they going to interview Juanita Broaddrick? Are they going to interview Paula Jones? Are they going to interview Kathleen Willey?" Hannity said, listing women who have made allegations of sexual misconduct against Clinton.

“In one case, it's about exposure,” he continued. “In another case, it's about groping and fondling and touching against a woman's will.”

“And rape,” Trump responded.

“And rape,” Hannity said.

"And big settlements, massive settlements," Trump continued. "And lots of other things.

In an interview with Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity, Trump was answering questions about an unflattering story published this past weekend by The New York Times involving his relationships with women when he turned his attention to Bill Clinton.
"By the way, you know, it's not like the worst things, OK," Trump said. "You look at what Clinton's gone through with all of the problems and all of the things that he's done."
Hannity went on to question whether the newspaper would interview women including Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey. All three have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct.

The real estate mogul has lashed out at the Clintons in the past over the former president’s infidelities, going so far as to call his wife, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, an “enabler.”

But until now, he had stopped short of accusing Bill Clinton of rape.

In 1999, Broaddrick, a former nursing home employee, accused Clinton of raping her decades earlier when he was a gubernatorial candidate in Arkansas.

Clinton denied the allegations through his attorney and refused to comment on them.