Skip to main content

There is currently a recommended diary that documents the predictable, vapid response of some right-wingers to the First Lady of the United States participating in the Oscars Telecast last night.  Such august thinkers as Jennifer Rubin have expressed their outrage at this happening, as if Michelle Obama was some kind of interloper daring to pollute the air waves rather than being an esteemed public figure participating in our culture.

It all reminds me of one of my favorite clips on the Internet: Elanor Roosevelt's time as the mystery guest on What's My Line.  The video really shows just how low the political culture of this country has sunk in the past half-century.  There was a time you see when the entire country admired the First Lady.

Mrs. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The clip is a pretty remarkable capture of a moment in history.   For those not familiar with What's My Line, part of the show's format was for a mystery challenger to come out and have a blind-folded panel of celebrities try to identify her by asking yes/no questions.  For each no answer, the questioning would move on to next person.  A few things of note:

1.  The audience applauds the First Lady like mad.  Not a boo in the crowd.

2.  She was there to promote appreciation for the United Nations, also a non-controversial stance in that time.  

3.  This may be a subtle point but I've watched a lot of these old clips and the custom without exception is that when a female guest walks over to the panelists, the men stand to shake her hand and the women remain seated.  Not for Mrs. Roosevelt.  They all stand to shake her hand, men and women.  Because they respected her and admired her...as did the whole country.

4.  It's charming to see that she takes some offense at the notion that she was once involved with "politics".  I don't think in her mind being First Lady or Ambassador to the UN were "political" job.  They were opportunities for public service.

5.  I want to point out that the host of this show was John Charles Daley.  He comes across in all of these old clips as courteous and gentlemanly but he is downright deferential to Mrs. Roosevelt.  What makes that worth noting is that John Charles Daley was a noted conservative who frequently worked for the American Enterprise Institute.  You see back 50 years ago even Republicans admired the First Lady, even if she was married to the most liberal President we have ever had.  

Mrs. Roosevelt was an exceptional woman.  She was not just a first lady, but a wartime first lady who often had to do the public jobs that her husband's medical condition prevented him from doing.  The whole country lived through 12 years of depression and war with her and knew.  They all knew that she sent 5 sons out on the fighting lines, beside their own loved ones.  They grieved her husband along with her and probably felt a closeness to her that will never be repeated.  

But is common courtesy too much to ask now?  I think not.

Originally posted to Spider Stumbled on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 09:41 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Poll

Which First Lady Would You Be Offended By The Televised Sight of?

2%17 votes
5%41 votes
0%2 votes
13%109 votes
4%34 votes
0%0 votes
0%3 votes
73%583 votes

| 792 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site