Let’s begin with a little confession. A couple of years ago I watched a whole series of VEEP thinking that the President (who was never seen because the programme is all about Selina, the Vice President) was actually called Potus. I thought it was his surname. Thankfully my lovely husband was able to put me straight and so I was able to move on in life knowing that POTUS means President Of The United States and his wife is therefore FLOTUS: First Lady of the United States. Doh. Sometimes I can be a bit slow on the uptake!
So the FLOTUS is on my mind today in particular because I was listening the British radio this morning and apparently some woman back home turned 90 today and its a big deal 😉
As there is no monarchy over here, there is no direct equivalent, but there is the First Lady and I have been writing about First Ladies this week with my book reviewer’s hat on. I’ve been reading and writing about Louisa, The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas, an excellent biography of the wife of John Quincy Adams, the sixth POTUS. I also did some research about First Ladies in general and found that there are regular surveys carried out asking US historians and scholars who the ‘best’ First Lady is/was. Without preempting my article for Bookbrowse, here are some amusing facts about First Ladies that I learned this week:
Laura Bush tops the list of First Ladies who “could have done more”.
Mary Lincoln rates pretty poorly and drags down her husband to 7th place in the best “power couple” category. In the First Ladies’ ranks she comes in at a lowly 31st, but in previous years has been in last place.
Number one in six out of 10 categories is Eleanor Roosevelt. She was also the longest serving First Lady.
Dolley Madison ranks as 4th best First Lady but I’d personally like to recognise her as the First Lady with the most jolly name. Here is a picture of Dolley who was First Lady from 1809-1817. I think she looks pretty jolly too:
Michelle Obama joined the rankings the last time this survey was conducted (in 2014). She does well, ranking 5th overall, and also tops the list of First Lady who ‘most effectively managed family life while in office’.
Only two women have been married to a President and the mother of a President: Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush. Abigail Adams (FLOTUS of the 2nd POTUS) also tops the rankings for Integrity and Value to the President, placing 2nd overall to Mrs Roosevelt.
Jackie Kennedy takes 3rd place overall and wins out in the categories of Being a White House Steward and Public Image.
Hilary Clinton came in 6th place in the 2014 survey but she tops the rank in one very topical category…… First Lady most capable of being President!