Is not the title of this article I wrote for the Atlantic Wire Culture Channel [Ed. Note: DUH], on the surprising politics of Laura Bush. And why should it be? It has nothing to do with what I actually wrote! But I read Laura Bush on Laura Bush, I read Curtis Sittenfeld on “Alice Blackwell,” I sat down to write about it, and then I saw her Larry King interview. And oh, my goodness:
Laura Bush has always been a quiet one. She’s private, modest, unambitious. She was reportedly unhappy when her husband ran for public office, didn’t aim to influence his policy, and quit her job upon marrying him. She adopted the least partisan causes imaginable: literacy, breast cancer. She seemed like the sort of mild, polite, ordinary woman who might go to church with your mother, or organize suburban potlucks. Her approval ratings stayed high while her husband’s tanked; no matter how disastrous his administration became, it was hard to dislike her. She never said enough to offend anyone; the worst you could call her was boring.
That’s likely to change, now. Laura Bush—the quiet one, the boring one, the woman too nice to offend—sat down with Larry King Tuesday night to promote her new memoir, Spoken from the Heart. With just a few words, she dismantled much of what we thought we knew.
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