- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 14, 2005

Laura Bush for president of the United States. Why not? Let me be the first to propose a serious political nomination for the 2008 Republican National Convention. I do this to highlight what is being overlooked, that in Laura Bush we have a first lady, the likes of which we have not seen since perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt or better yet, Abigail Adams, wife of the second president, John Adams.

By 2008 Laura Bush, now an elegant 59, will have had eight years of extraordinary experience — not as a pokerfaced onlooker. She has been a partner in a great governing enterprise which began, first, as the wife of the governor of Texas, second, as the daughter-in-law of an earlier president.

I omit any comparison of Laura Bush with Hillary Clinton, since the senator’s only achievements during the eight Clinton years were, first, she stood by her man, as the saying goes, despite his scandalous personal behavior and, second, she offered up a Big Brother health plan that if sent to Congress would have been DOA (Dead on Arrival). And in a presidential contest between Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, there is no question whom majority public opinion would favor.

I just read the speech Laura Bush delivered in the Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol May 5, at the National Commemoration of the Days of Remembrance. It is clear from reading the text it was her speech and not that of an anonymous White House speechwriter hidden away in some corner of the adjacent Executive Office Building. In that speech, she said:

“The men and women of the Allied forces were fighting evil and cruelty. Six million Jews perished in the Holocaust. They were stripped of their dignity and robbed of their lives solely because of who they were and the faith they practiced. It was not the first time evil men had sought the destruction of the Jewish people. Even today, we see incidences of anti-Semitism around the world. The survivors of the Holocaust bear witness to the danger of what anti-Semitism can become, and their stories of survival remind us that when we are confronted by anti-Semitism, we must fight it. …”When President Bush and I visited Auschwitz, I realized there are things textbooks can’t teach. They can’t teach you how to feel when you see prayer shawls or baby shoes left by children being torn from their mothers, or prison cells with the scratch marks of attempted escape. But what moved me the most were the thousands of eyeglasses, their lenses still smudged with tears and dirt. It struck me how vulnerable we are as humans, how many needed those glasses to see, and how many people living around the camps and around the world refused to see. We see today and we know what happened and we will never forget.”

You can be sure Laura Bush’s words are those of an independent mind. According to a Helen Thomas story, Laura Bush differs with her husband on Roe v. Wade.

In a January 2001 appearance on NBC’s “Today” show, she said she did not believe the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion should be overturned. Mr. Bush believes it should be.

The 2008 Democratic National Convention may well nominate Mrs. Clinton as its standardbearer, in which case what better opponent than Laura Bush? Rhinestones versus diamonds.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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