Don't even think of disappearing n or trying to change your image. The bullying right wing and anti-feminists will think they have won, and your supporters in the Democratic Party will know perfectly well you are not being you. Disappointed you must be over the health care Bill, but eehumble' is not a word anyone n even your most loyal subjects n would associate with you.
The temptation to have the White House image-makers set out to change you must be great, but please resist it. You are a known quantity. Your true character has been in your face and body language. We have seen a meanness, a contempt for silliness and ignorance, but also determination and forthrightness.
Nobody imagines you will, or wants you to take a back seat during your husband's re-election bid. You tried that the first time and it didn't come off. Those who watched you closely during the 1992 campaign knew perfectly well that you couldn't abide the gladhanding and other trivialities of being on the stump. You never talked on those boring campaign bus tours, but everyone knew you had so much to say. That overexercised muscle permanently protruding from your cheeks was witness to you gritting your teeth for yet another tiresome chicken dinner.
Take a leaf out of Eleanor Roosevelt's cuttings book. She never backed off, or was cowed, or shellshocked, even though she was the object of much vituperation. People hated her for championing the underclass, but she never faltered. And when she spoke she had that frightful, upper-class coffee-grinder voice, but she never stopped talking.
First Ladies always get into trouble because the bully boys don't like the idea of women running anything. Nancy Reagan was criticised for being regal and tried to improve her image by going to schools and orphanages and launching the Just Say No drugs programme, but she didn't change. She still turned up looking as though she was going to tea at the Plaza.
People were very rude about Rosalynn Carter's commitment to her husband's human rights campaigns, but she didn't let it bother her, either. And she never dressed up.
Take the heat, stay out of the kitchen, ignore madmen who crash-land into your garden, get back on the campaign trail and keep talking about violence in American society and against children, but also about health care reform. It will come one day, for sure. And you want to be in the history books as the First Lady who took it on and just said eeNo' to those who wanted you to give it up.
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