Thursday, April 02, 2009

First Spouses

Shouldn't it be first spice? You know, mouse-mice, louse-lice. In any case, nobody writes 'first spouses', because the spouses of powerful people are overwhelmingly female and thus called wives. If they happen to be husbands they hide from the public eye, because being a first spouse is demeaning for a guy. Really.

Dana Goldstein points out the invisible husbands as a commentary to this picture, which is supposed to be about the spouses of the G-20 bigwigs:

But the two husbands, NĂ©stor Kirchner and Joachim Sauer, are missing. If they were in the picture they'd be ridiculed. Really.

All this reminded me of Darrel Issa's attempt to put some controls on the First Lady:

House Republicans are pressing for a change in federal law that could force Michelle Obama and future first ladies to do more of their policy work in public. But Democrats warn President Obama may take the attempt personally "as an attack on his wife."

The GOP effort is being led by the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), whose initial salvo was rebuffed recently at a contentious committee markup session. Under Issa's amendment, any government policy group that Mrs. Obama or another first spouse regularly participates in would be subject to a law requiring meetings to be announced in advance and, in most instances, public.


"We are trying actually to protect the historic role of the first lady," Issa insisted, repeatedly invoking the "transparency" mantra of the Obama administration. "I believe this is open government at its finest."


The video, as recorded by the committee's GOP staff, is after the jump. Discussion of the first ladies' amendment begins at about 10:57.

Note all the references to 'first ladies'. And to 'future first ladies'. The assumption is that first spouses will always be female. Really.