FORGET RAHM Emanuel. Ditch David Axelrod. Ignore Valerie Jarrett. Just focus on Desiree Rogers.
Desiree Glapion Rogers is the White House social secretary, and she's a lot more fun to look at than Emanuel, Axelrod or Jarrett. I know because I'm looking at a photo of her.
Of Creole heritage, she's a cool New Orleans native with a Harvard MBA who made her mark both in corporate America and the rough and tumble world of Chicago politics.
Rogers is the "eyes and ears" of first lady Michelle Obama. Through Michelle, she's in charge of selling the Obama brand. Rogers will tell you that brand Obama is "the best brand on earth." And, so far, the marketing campaign seems to be remarkably successful.
Our first lady is increasingly perceived as open, caring, attentive, natural, graceful. She grows vegetables and herbs behind the White House. She takes romantic walks in the moonlight with her husband. Has "date nights" in New York and Paris. Nurtures and obviously adores her two daughters. Ditches formality to enjoy a local burger joint. Even breaks with protocol to reach out to Queen Elizabeth.
It's all picture perfect. Which means the Rogers touch seems to be working, and people are giving Obama high marks.
She's fashionable. Funny. Hip. Charming. She's been on the cover of every magazine imaginable in recent weeks.
And those who are paid to have opinions on these things are even comparing Obama to another young and famous first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy.
But that's where they and I part company.
Had she lived, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy would have been 80 this summer. No one would have made 80 look as beautiful and tasteful as Jackie.
Jackie. The name itself conjures up the fine breeding and good taste of her birthplace, Southampton, New York. She divided her early years between New York City and East Hampton, at the Bouvier family estate. She also traveled between her stepfather's lavish properties, Merrywood, in McLean, Va., and Hammersmith Farm, in Newport, R.I.
She cultivated an understanding of the finer things in life. She was steeped in art and culture and spoke several languages, including French, Spanish and Italian.
Family patriarch Joe Kennedy took an immediate liking to Jackie, with good reason. The multi-millionaire investor knew a natural family asset when he saw one. And Jackie soon became an asset not just to JFK but also to the entire nation. She disarmed the stuffy British, beguiled the cantankerous French and taught romantic Italians the meaning of "amore" all over again.
And let's not forget that it was Jackie who singlehandedly persuaded French culture minister Andre Malraux to allow the Mona Lisa to travel to America for an unprecedented showing in New York. Jackie restored the White House to grandeur. She welcomed noted authors and artists, operatic and popular voices, the cello of Pablo Casals, string trios and quartets and whole orchestras to the White House.
Even after she left the White House, her influence flourished. When she lent her name to the battle to save Grand Central Station, the future of that New York landmark was assured.
Jackie really was unique. She understood the nature of allure. She studied manners and style and knew about presenting herself. She wisely embraced the world of classic style, resisting fads and trends. And knew how to handle the press while maintaining a discreet personal life.
Jackie never needed an image-maker or a makeover. She was instinctive and highly disciplined. Despite all the tawdry temptations of the modern age, she held herself apart. And, over time, she effectively branded herself.
Her image, her gestures, her voice, her mannerisms are all part of our collective memory.
And that is why Jackie endures, why we still love her and why she remains incomparable.
Sorry, Desiree. Sorry, Michelle.
But there is only one Jackie, now and forever. *
Daniel A. Cirucci is a lecturer in corporate communications at Penn State Abington. He blogs at dancirucci.blogspot.com.