Monday, October 15, 2007

A woman of grace and beauty

CRAWFORD, Tex., Oct. 14 —This Saturday, a military jet with the code name “Bright Star” will take off from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, bound for a diplomatic mission in the Middle East. It will carry an increasingly outspoken and quietly powerful White House emissary: Laura Bush, the first lady of the United States.

The official purpose of the trip is to promote breast cancer awareness; nobody expects the president’s wife to engage in bare-knuckle negotiations over war and peace. Yet in the twilight of her husband’s presidency, the woman who once made George W. Bush promise she would never have to give a speech is stepping out in a new and unusually substantive way.

At the United Nations General Assembly in late September, Mrs. Bush was in the audience while her husband criticized the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators by the military junta in Myanmar, formerly Burma. But three weeks earlier it had been the first lady, not the president, who picked up the phone to call the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon.

She is now the administration’s leading voice on the matter, denouncing the junta in official statements, Congressional testimony and, last week, an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal. ct. 14 —

Whatever you think about George W Bush as a human being or as a president at least we can all agree that the First Lady which he brought to the White House is an infinite improvement over the wretched and detestable hag who occupied the position in the previous administration.