The life of politicians Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum has always had an intense spotlight focused on their every move, but rarely does that light ever shine on the women in their lives yet as the saying goes, “Behind every great man is a great woman.”; and so we ask the question…Who are these women and which one of them has the greatest potential for possibly measuring up to our present first lady and the great first ladies of the past?
Before we move forward let’s look back, starting with one of the most influential first ladies of her time:
Betty Ford was the First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977 and during that relatively brief time, she made her stamp on American politics as one of the most influential feminists of her day, Ford was a steadfast advocate of abortion rights, the Equal Protection Amendment and equal pay for women. She also helped to raise awareness about breast cancer, a disease from which she suffered herself. Moreover, after being treated for her alcohol and drug addiction, she founded the Betty Ford Center, known as the world’s most famous rehabilitation clinic (located in Rancho Mirage, California.)
Like Betty Ford Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the most notable women who best embodies the aforemention quote. Eleanor received 48 honorary degrees throughout her life. She championed many civil rights and was very vocal about her support of African-Americans, equal rights for women, and even assist in working to enhance the status of working women.
Least we not forget Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Kennedy is remembered for reorganizing entertainment for White House social events, restoring the interior of the presidential home, her taste in clothing worn during her husband’s presidency, her popularity among foreign dignitaries, and leading the country in mourning after JFK’s (John F. Kennedy) 1963 assassination.
In looking back at some of the greats we can see a distinctive pattern of what it takes to be a remarkable first lady: Advocacy, a strong supportive nature, perhaps a sense for what the people want, and the ability to get things done (seems like a bit of a thankless job, but I digress).
Now let’s flash-forward to our GOP candidates better halves…Newt Gingrich’s wife’s name is Callista Gingrich, she is the president of Gingrich Productions , where she hosts and produces documentaries and films. She became Gingrich’s third wife after he reportedly had an affair with her while still married to his second wife ( kind of throws the “term” first lady out the window for her, perhaps).
Ron Paul’s wife name is Carol Wells Paul she has worked as a secretary and a dance instructor. The two met in high school and had their first date on her 16th birthday. They have five children together; one of them serves as a senator (Rand Paul).
Mitt Romney’s wife is Ann Romney she has known Romney since elementary school and was a stay-at-home mom while he pursued politics. She was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis in 1998.
Last but not least Rick Santurom’s wife is Karen Santorum She worked as a neonatal nurse before attending University of Pittsburgh law school . The two met while Santorum was recruiting interns for his law firm. They have seven children ( although they lost one son at birth) including a daughter with Edwards syndrome.
Since the office of FLOTUS ( First Lady of the United States) is extra-constitutional or beyond what is provided for in a constitution ; the Constitution doesn’t outline parameters for first lady’s duties, power, or exact role.
This burst the door open for a very motivated woman to help her husband do astonishing things and/or do some amazing things herself…Albeit, getting him to POTUS (President of the United States) continues to be most challenging.