The New York Times last weekend asked the burning question: Is America ready for a president with a trophy wife? The question is, of course, in reference to Fred Thompson and his wife, Jeri, who is 24 years his junior.
According to the Times, Fred Thompson is close to smashing through a barrier Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a “glass ceiling” if you will, that has yet to be broken in the more than two-century history of the United States presidency. This is with the possible exception of Dolley Madison, who was 17 years younger than James. Age differential aside, a woman who ends up with snack cakes named in her honor is a trophy indeed.
Fred Thompson is going to present a problem for a mainstream media that is used to reporting on political candidates who enjoy the affections of younger women Ã¢â‚¬â€œ just as long as their wives don’t find out.
The media isn’t quite sure how to handle a man who has a comprehensive past with the ladies, is probably running for office and yet isn’t busy herding more illicit humps into his closet than an Abu Dhabi camel smuggler with the cops banging on the front door.
Back in his single days, Thompson dated many women, including country singer Lorrie Morgan, and so far the media seems frustrated by the fact that they can’t find a woman who will say a bad word about Fred.
For example, Morgan recently said this: “Fred is a perfect example of chivalry. He’s the kind of man little girls dream about marrying, who opens doors for you, lights your cigarettes, helps you on with your coat, buys wonderful gifts. It’s every woman’s fantasy.”
Lights their cigarettes? I think the mainstream media has found their negative angle. Nowadays this is known by a different name: Bic-assisted homicide. How else did Fred “help” women? By cooking dinners laced with trans-fats and making out with them on the porch under the warm and environmentally deadly glow of an incandescent light bulb?
(Column continues below)
Possible media spin aside, Fred Thompson likes women, and it sure is nice to read about a politician whose dating reminiscence brings a tear to his eye for reasons other than mace flashbacks.
The Times’ question, “Is America ready for a president with a trophy wife,” assumes that America has never had a president with a trophy wife. So in the name of due diligence, I’ve considered all presidents from the mid-1900s to today. Not one of them had what would qualify as a “trophy wife.”
Probably the closest we could get would be John F. Kennedy, who was married to Jackie. But a true trophy wouldn’t be forced to sit on the mantle waiting for JFK and RFK to come home from the beach sporting tan lines in the shape of Marilyn Monroe.
Otherwise, FDR never had a trophy wife, though maybe Eleanor did. Lyndon Johnson never had one (they don’t like being picked up by the ears). Richard Nixon didn’t either, as it requires a woman of similar age that you’ve known most of your life to put up with you wearing a suit to bed. The only trophies to come from the Gerald and Betty Ford marriage have “congratulations on reaching step-12″ inscribed on them.
Even Bill Clinton, legendary ladies man, has never had a trophy wife Ã¢â‚¬â€œ yet. Unless of course we count as a trophy what Bill won after finishing first in the Harpy Feminist Bowling Tournament.
As long as Dennis Kucinich doesn’t stage a Doug Flutie-esque comeback, Fred Thompson would indeed be the first president in modern times with what will constantly be billed as a “trophy wife.” The media is bound to, with incessant overanalysis and numerous Freudian slips, pose two questions: 1) “Is it good for the country?” and 2) “Why can’t we get one?”
As far as voters go, in spite of movements to feminize men and masculinize women, Thompson’s chivalry will be a welcome respite for traditional females, not to mention men, who long for a day when we all knew what in the heck men and women were supposed to do and say when we were in the same room together.
Fred Thompson could be a good thing for the country’s sexual politics, as it’s been decades since we’ve had a presidential candidate from a southern state whose way of asking a woman out on a date wasn’t to just drop his pants and say “How ’bout a smooch for lil’ Bubba?”