New from me at PJM:

First Ladies’ Pet Projects: Where Does Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Campaign Rank?

Here’s just a sampling — a chart illustrating part of the essay:

First Lady Pet Projects: The Rankings

The following chart ranks each First Lady’s pet project according to how socially significant it was and how successful she was in bringing it to fruition.

Two First Ladies on this chart (Bess Truman and Mamie Eisenhower) did not really have any pet projects worth noting, while two others (Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton) were what I call “Power First Ladies” whose activities and political involvement were so important that they didn’t really count as “pet projects” but rather were essential components of their husbands’ administrations. Because of this, all four have been excluded from the final rankings.

Although the chart starts in 1933 to be thorough, the list of First Ladies participating in the rankings actually begins proper with Jackie Kennedy.

The column on the right totals up each First Lady’s “Pet Project Rating” by assessing (based on my research) how significant (on a scale of 1 to 10) her pet project was to the nation at large, and multiplying it by how successful she was in bringing it off (again based on my research).

A note on the background colors:

      = Power First Lady (excluded from rankings)

      = Non-participating First Lady (excluded from rankings)

First Lady
Primary cause
(Secondary cause)
Significance  x   Success
(1 – 10 scale)          (1 – 10 scale)
= Pet Project Rating
   (1 – 100 scale)
Eleanor Roosevelt
National policy     10sig. x  6suc. =  60
Bess Truman
Mamie Eisenhower
Jackie Kennedy
White House refurbishment     1sig. x  9suc. =  9
Lady Bird Johnson
( + Project Head Start)
    5sig. x  8suc. =  40
Pat Nixon
Volunteerism     4sig. x  3suc. =  12
Betty Ford
Equal Rights Amendment
( + breast cancer awareness)
    5sig. x  3suc. =  15
Rosalynn Carter
Mental Health     4sig. x  5suc. =  20
Nancy Reagan
Drug Abuse     6sig. x  6suc. =  36
Barbara Bush
Literacy     5sig. x  2suc. =  10
Hillary Clinton
National policy     10sig. x  5suc. =  50
Laura Bush
Education     5sig. x  5suc. =  25
Michelle Obama
(2009- )
Childhood Obesity     6sig. x  ?suc. =  ?

Curious about the rest? Read the whole thing here!