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. Laura Bush, on same-sex marriage: "When couples are committed to each other, and love each other, they ought to have, I think, the same sort of rights that everyone else has." Laura Bush, on abortion: "I think it's important that it remain legal, because I think it's important for people, for medical reasons, and other reasons."
"I really do understand [President Bush's] viewpoint," she assured King. "And he understands mine." Her head cocked; her eyes widened. For a split second, it was possible to believe not only that George W. Bush understood his wife's approval of marriage-seeking gays and abortion-seeking women, but that if he had not understood it, she would have made him.