‘Tis the Season to Judge Recent First Ladies

The long Obama farewell had begun. Donald Trump will be inaugurated one month from today. I saw a clip of Oprah’s interview with Michelle Obama about the transition, and the First Lady said something to the effect of, “This is what it’s like not to have hope.” On the day the Trumps move in, will the Obamas ceremonially hand them the keys? If so, I bet this clip will make things a bit awkward.

So here is my Christmas gift to you – a prediction of the Donald Trump/Michelle Obama interaction:

  • Donald Trump (sniffing): “Hey Michelle, we caught your interview on Oprah. I will tell you this: I’m good on TV. Everyone knows it, everyone says it. I’m great on TV. I’m terrific. You are not so great, and you showed up like a rookie, like someone wandering into Hollywood for the first time, okay? That’s what you did. How about we have a little decorum, okay? Can we have a little of that? Thanks a lot, Loser Michelle! That’s going to be your nickname, Loser Michelle.”
  • Michelle Obama (smiling brightly): “Oh, you caught my interview? I’m so glad you caught it. I was hoping you would catch it! Because I want to thank you for killing all my hope, until not a single ray of sunshine is left to say, ‘Michelle, don’t worry. It’s going to be okay.’ Because it won’t be, and that’s because of you. And yeah, I know my interview in the White House with Oprah was not as great as your Current Affairs interview on a bus with Billy Bush. Why don’t you go back to being a Prima Donna? Prima Donald, that’s your nickname.”
  • Melania Trump (stares right through them with icy cat eyes, says nothing)


Since everything on Lost in the Garden is political or ridiculous or both, let’s rank the recent First Ladies. Here’s the criteria (feminists, please skip):

  • Politics – Ideally, First Ladies are apolitical. They are only rated on politics to the extent they personally get involved, e.g., make statements, propose legislation.
  • Dress – The First Lady should have style. It’s important since she has a ceremonial role in the Administration, and one of her primary responsibilities is representing America.
  • Behavior – The First Lady has to comport herself well. She should be graceful, diplomatic, and hospitable. She shouldn’t be exhibiting a lot of emotion. You don’t want to see the First Lady joking around, getting in someone’s face, or being strung out on meth.
  • Likability – The First Lady should be a likable, relatable person with whom people like spending time. She should be a relationship builder.

In the left column the First Ladies are listed in chronological order; on the right, they are in order of preference:

Lost in the Garden model

Laura Bush won, not by much. She’s in a category called, “Yeah, she’s okay.” She kept a healthy distance away from W’s disastrous policies; her cause was literacy. She was motherly, and not controversial enough to dislike. She demonstrated proper behavior rather than really good manners. On style, Laura was a sad failure, no two ways about it.

Where to begin, Laura? Everything needs to be redone.

Can I be honest, Laura? I hate it. The hair, the blazer, the jewelry, everything.

Michelle Obama came in second. I was initially not crazy about her, due to comments she made during her husband’s first campaign. But when he was inaugurated and I saw Michelle’s awesome olive gloves, I knew everything was going to be all right. As First Lady, she’s stayed classically stylish. Her cause was fighting childhood obesity.

She was somewhat political and controversial, and she campaigned for Hillary Clinton, a big negative on this list. Still, Michelle comported herself well. When the president and David Cameron morphed into 14-year-olds and took selfies with the Nordic goddess at Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, you know she must have been humiliated. It was reasonable to grab Barack by the ear, drag him away, and murder him herself. Nobody would blame her. But Michelle handled it like a lady, staying outwardly focused on the service, and inwardly devising a justifiable homicide defense.

Obama taking selfies at Nelson Mandela's memorial

Obama and David Cameron trying to hook up with supermodel at Nelson Mandela’s memorial

I kind of like Laura Bush and Michelle Obama, and I definitely dislike Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton. Barbara Bush is a firm neutral. Unquestionably the Deadliest of the Bushes (despite spawning W. and Jeb!TM), you can tell by looking at Barbara that she is the boss and lounges around at home in combat boots. She was gracious in a big-hearted Texas kind of way, and behaved with restraint. Anyone conversing with Barbara was likely to catch that look on her face that said, “God, you bore me”, even while she smiled politely. Her cause was literacy. I don’t remember her being political, but everything is outweighed by her sins against fashion. Barbara Bush makes her daughter-in-law look like a style maven.

When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you.

When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.

On to the dark side, and Hillary Clinton. Hillary fails everything. All of it. Every category. I feel for the Clinton cabinet, watching the First Lady burst into meetings, barking orders at people, and guiding the agenda. Hillary was clearly the brains behind the Clinton machine, so politics was her thing. She supported NAFTA, which is reason enough to distrust her forever. She dressed better than Barbara, though she trails Laura. She was known for being unlikeable. The Essence of Hillary, could it be captured in a bottle, would make an excellent mosquito repellant.


As long as she’s blaming people for her defeat, this outfit should get honorable mention

And now my least favorite First Lady: Nancy Reagan.

Her clothes, like her, were very petite and particular. Her cause was “Just Say No” to drugs, which is annoying, preachy, and a stupid idea. She ranks last because of her unlikability, and because her cute, petite exterior hid an unusually controlling person. She wasn’t the boss, à la Barbara or Michelle, but a puppet master. Nancy was guided by her astrologist’s readings, which makes her control over the president even more dubious. If she had a Sister First Lady, it would be Mary Todd Lincoln.


I shall know if so much as a single scallop is askew!


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