I don't think I want Bob Kerrey ever to be president, which is too bad, because I sure would love to see Sarah Paley be the First Lady. Boy, am I ever in her corner. If you've been following this--or I suppose even if you haven't--she's the wife of Bob Kerrey, who's back in Nebraska running for Senate. Paley wants none of it. The money quote from an article she wrote for Vogue is that not only isn't she a political animal, "I'm not even a social animal. My idea of a good time is when people cancel."
I don't wish my friends to take this the wrong way, but I so agree. Isn't there always a bit of relief when people cancel? You can stay home, slip on the pajamas, play with the kid, watch that movie or game, read that article you've been meaning to. It's not the same thing as having no plans. It's like getting a bonus night to yourself. It's just heaven.
More seriously, of course, she's challenging these decades-old stereotypes that these poor women have to live with, and it always seems to me like the most insufferable thing. Every time I see Michelle O., I wonder how she does it, especially when you throw race in. We're not supposed to talk about that, I guess, but we all know it's there, and it has to factor into every decision she makes about how she presents herself, and the burden must be crushing. Of course she does get to live in a nice house and all that.
There are ways in which politics is the most reactionary arena there is. When it comes to customs and roles and so on, the political culture is still half stuck in the 1950s. That might be because one of our two parties wishes devoutly that it still WAS the 1950s (you want the 50s? Fine, say I--let's set the top marginal tax rate back at 90 percent!). We need people like Paley to drag this desiccated world view into the current century, where most women work and have the independence of mind that comes with having one's own salary and, whether they're personally liberal or conservative, wouldn't do any of the insipid crap that political wives have to do.