NYT on Fred: “Is America ready for a president with a trophy wife?” Update: Nixon called Fred “dumb as hell”
posted at 2:22 pm on July 7, 2007 by Allahpundit
It must be. It elected JFK, didn’t it?
Here’s the first in what’ll be a long line of hit pieces on Jeri Thompson dressed up as “political analysis.” They’re determined to label her a trophy wife but by their own admission they haven’t seen her resume and thus can’t judge how much or little she’s accomplished. Solution? Call her a trophy wife anyway — but in a good way:
THE term “trophy wife” was coined by Fortune magazine in 1989 and immediately entered the language. Although it often has a pejorative spin, the term originally meant the second (or third) wife of a corporate titan, who was younger, beautiful and — equally important — accomplished in her own right, which describes Mrs. Thompson.
This would be like Fox News calling John Kerry a “golddigger” but noting that that term originally described miners, who of course are industrious, hard-working members of the world economy. So calling him a golddigger is actually sort of a compliment, isn’t it? Same here. Just mainstreaming a little vocab. “Branding,” if you will.
I like this detail, too. Remember, the ostensible point of the article is that values voters won’t accept an older man with a younger woman. Hence the need for commentary about her … choice of footwear?
[U]nlike other potential presidential spouses like Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama, Mrs. Thompson lets her husband do most of the political talking. In public appearances recently, her most dramatic statements have been sartorial, like gold-lamé wedge sandals on a campaign stop, or a plunging neckline for a Washington dinner.
The Middle East already hates us so, what would it think if our first lady wore gold-lamé sandals? Isn’t that what’s bugging them, that they think she’s somehow not “dignified” enough for the role? After all, the age difference between the Thompsons is only six years more than the difference between the McCains, who married when John was 44 and Cindy 26. Jeri Thompson’s not that young, either, just three years shy of Michelle Obama’s age and eight years older than Jackie Kennedy was when JFK took the oath of office. So the knock on her as a trophy wife is thin even before you get to her resume. My advice to Mrs. T: Start wearing pillbox hats. They contain magical media powers capable of transforming actual trophy wives into elegant, self-assured, proto-feminist fashionplates. Or start wearing berets as a signal to the left to rally to your defense when the media pries into a private relationship that’s Your Business And Nobody Else’s. Hats seem to be the key for some reason.
Nixon was disappointed with the selection of Thompson, whom he called “dumb as hell.” The president did not think Thompson was skilled enough to interrogate unfriendly witnesses and would be outsmarted by the committee’s Democratic counsel.
This assessment comes from audio tapes of White House conversations recently reviewed by The Associated Press at the National Archives in College Park, Md., and transcripts of those discussions that are published in “Abuse of Power: The New Watergate Tapes,” by historian Stanley Kutler.
“Oh shit, that kid,” Nixon said when told by his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, of Thompson’s appointment on Feb. 22, 1973…
“We’ve got a pretty good rapport with Fred Thompson,” [counsel J. Fred] Buzhardt told Nixon in an Oval Office meeting on June 6, 1973. The meeting included a discussion of former White House counsel John Dean’s upcoming testimony before the committee…
Nixon expressed concern that Thompson was not “very smart.”
“Not extremely so,” Buzhardt agreed.
“But he’s friendly,” Nixon said.
“But he’s friendly,” Buzhardt agreed. “We are hoping, though, to work with Thompson and prepare him, if Dean does appear next week, to do a very thorough cross-examination.”