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Sunday, July 6, 2008

POLITICS: Cindy McCain vs. Mrs. Hussein

Times Online:I should like Michelle Obama, but I don't
She's strong, inspiring and intelligent. But the drama of the millionaire rodeo queen Cindy McCain is irresistible
by Camilla Long

I know I should like Michelle Obama. But . . . I just don’t.

I can’t! Because, every time I try, I’m snake-charmed back by the pearlised nail varnish and Mars Attacks! hair of the one, the only, the ultimate power cheerleader: Cindy McCain.

It all came to a head the other week when the putative First Fembot bowled through London on her way back to America from Vietnam. (Clearly, heiresses don’t worry about their carbon footprint — just as long as it’s a diamond-studded, snake-skin-heeled stiletto mega-stomp.)

With an Air Force One blow-dry and coral-pink lipstick, the former junior rodeo queen was clearly on a charm offensive. “Oh garsh,” she fluttered when asked about the 71-year-old pepaw — far from being over the hill, he actually “wore her out”, and if campaigning ever got too arduous, she sweetly contented herself with the fact that that she had “a ringside seat on American history”. The general impression was that Mrs McCain, in the style of Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan, doesn’t really want to be First Lady at all, and is, instead, rather looking forward to getting back to her diamonds and the delights of the Dallas Crystal Charity Ball once her husband has got this highfalutin political jiggery-pokery out of his system.

How much more reassuring than Michelle Obama, who comes from the “I’ve got a leather skirt, I’ve got a leather Birkin bag, I’ve got a PhD in whupass” school of political wifery. We’ve only just got rid of Chony and Billary, for pity’s sake, and here we are again with yet another twinkly-eyed charisma merchant whose gobby wife can barely stop herself from grabbing the microphone. Cindy has never even seen a microphone, of course.

Normally, I’m a supporter of strong, inspiring, intelligent women such as Michelle. Heaven knows, politics is short of positive female figures. But I do think she is making a mistake, and behaving like a politician herself, rather than a politician’s wife.

What, after all, do we require in a First Lady? (Apart from Valium, valises and a Valhalla hairdo.) Her key and perhaps only quality, surely, has to be that she is happy to take an elegant back seat. When it comes to the role of second fiddle, the candyfloss detachment of a Mrs McCain seems so much more appropriate.

Don’t get me wrong. I also want drama — and John and Cindy McCain can certainly provide it.

A former beauty queen and a Viet vet? You couldn’t make it up.

Nor could you make up this report in the New York Review of Books: “In 1992, after Cindy McCain teased her husband about his thinning hair, McCain snapped at her, in front of the reporters and two staffers: ‘At least I don’t plaster on the make-up like a trollop, you c***.’ ” Now that’s what I call showbusiness. For ugly people.


Laura Bush still knocks them both out! :P But then, I'm an all-out Bush girl, so I'm pretty biased.