If Lindsey Graham doesn’t win the presidency next year, it won’t be because he’s a bachelor.
But just in case some voters find his lifelong non-married status troubling, last week he revealed a plan to compensate for it.
Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” host John Dickerson, after quizzing Graham on such mundane issues as Islamic State and immigration, at last got down to the nitty gritty:
“As we head out the door here, Senator Graham, one final question. You said, because you’re not married, you might have a rotating first lady. Have you gotten any offers on that front?”
Graham, laughing from a remote feed in Clemson, repeated his “best prepared to protect this country” pitch, then added:
“I am single, like many other people. If you have got a good marriage, God bless you. If you are single, there’s nothing wrong with you. The last time I checked, there was nothing in the Constitution or at the White House (that) said single people need not apply. I’m going to be a ready-to-go commander in chief, protect everybody, single people included.”
Hmm. Notice that Graham didn’t name any first lady-rotation candidates.
Recognize, too, that by delivering DFL (designated first lady) assurances, he signaled that he doesn’t plan to take a marriage oath before taking the presidential oath.
The Post and Courier’s Schuyler Kropf, however, did report on Saturday’s front page that Graham said he almost got married in his late 20s while serving in the Air Force in Europe.
OK, so nearly getting married way back then can’t give a President Graham a first lady by Jan. 20, 2017.
Then again, consider the advantages of fully vetting aspirants for his starting first-lady rotation rather than making do with the wife you already have.
And he’s not the only 2016 Oval Office contender who, if he wins the presidency, wouldn’t be bringing a first lady into the White House.
So what would we call the husband of a woman president?
A first gentleman?
Would a “gentleman” sexually trifle with an intern in her early 20s in the White House, then long lie about it (including under oath) until sordid evidence forced him to tell the disgraceful truth?
At least the other 2016 first gentleman prospect — former AT&T executive Frank Fiorina, husband of Carly Fiorina — seems like an honorable sort.
Name the first lady ...
1) who fainted when she learned her husband had been nominated for president and said she prayed for his defeat.
2) whose great-great-grandfather lived on Friendfield Plantation near Georgetown.
3) who married at 18, had four children (two of whom died) before being widowed at 25, then married a future president a year and a half later.
4) who spoke five languages, including Chinese.
5) whose father was a British Army officer.
6) who was the first first lady to fly in an airplane.
7) who was dubbed “Lemonade Lucy” for barring alcohol from the White House.
8) who co-starred in “Hellcats of the Navy.”
9) who came from a family of slave owners in Lexington (Ky., not S.C.) and held seances in the White House.
10) who graduated from Charleston’s Ashley Hall.
11) who was the only president’s wife not born in what is now the United States.
12) who, as a photojournalist, interviewed the man who later became not just her husband but president.
1) Jane Pierce, who descended into deep and lasting depression after her 11-year-old son Bennie was killed when the train taking the family to Washington derailed two months before her husband’s 1853 inauguration.
2) Michelle Obama, whose great-great-grandfather Jim Robinson was a slave on Friendfield Plantation in the 1850s.
3) Martha Dandridge Custis Washington.
4) Lou Hoover, who when other folks were around occasionally spoke Chinese to her husband Herbert (though he didn’t understand it as well as she did) to keep their conversation private.
5) Elizabeth Korthright Monroe, whose father served in the British Army during the American Revolution.
6) Eleanor Roosevelt, who first flew from Washington to Baltimore on an Eastern Air Transport Curtiss Condor in 1933 with, among others, Amelia Earhart.
7) Lucy Webb Hayes.
8) Nancy Reagan, who was billed under her maiden name Nancy Davis when she co-starred in that 1957 movie with husband Ronald Reagan.
9) Mary Todd Lincoln.
10) Barbara Bush (class of 1943).
11) Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, was born in London in 1775.
12) Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was the Washington Times-Herald’s “Inquiring Camera Girl” when she interviewed and photographed then-Sen. John F. Kennedy in 1953.
Bonus question: Who was that Inquiring Camera Girl’s first interview/photo subject for the Times-Herald in 1952?
Answer: Pat Nixon.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.