Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Michelle Obama - "fair weather" First Lady

Certainly Michelle Obama's speech faux pas about being "really" proud of this country "for the first time in my adult life" has made the media and blog rounds. Spinning is coming from everywhere. Obama supporters on the talking heads circuit often use the "what she meant was..." phrase, implying either their intimacy with the woman, or boasting of their personal mind reading abilities.

Fact is, there's only two people who can clarify the statement: her speech writer, as it's been in at least one other speech. And Ms. Obama herself. She hasn't been saying much, instead letting others speak for her:

On Monday, Obama spokesman Bill Burton released a statement in response to the controversy: “Of course Michelle is proud of her country, which is why she and Barack talk constantly about how their story wouldn't be possible in any other nation on Earth.

“What she meant is that she's really proud at this moment because for the first time in a long time, thousands of Americans who've never participated in politics before are coming out in record numbers to build a grassroots movement for change.”

His Messiahship Barack's explanation?

"What she meant was, this is the first time that she's been proud of the politics of America," he said. "Because she's pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason, and she's not alone. But she has seen large numbers of people get involved in the process, and she's encouraged."

BUZZER! Nope... wrong answer. We've all been cynical about the political process.. and many of us a lot longer than Ms. Obama. Nor is this the first large grassroots movement in the country in Ms. Obama's adult life. Or perhaps, because it wasn't all about "her" or her husband, it escaped her attentions.

It's disingenuous to suggest it's all about new found energy in politics. Consider she's been a part of that political process for over a decade in the IL State Legislature, and now the Congress. Not even a sense of pride in Obama's elections? Or what he has accomplished? Oh right... there is that rumor that he hasn't "done" anything. Humm... perhaps her cynicism is deserved.

But what does it mean for this nation to consider a potential First Lady who only takes pride in our country when politics are going her way? Is this an envoy we want to present as part of the most powerful couple in the world?

And something else bothers me. Is is just possible that this statement in her speeches, obviously screened and approved by Ms. Obama herself, reveals that she is one of those believe all of the world's ills originate with the US?

Capt. Ed is on the same page I am. And lately, that's rather unusual.

Barack Obama knows that he has to push back against this comment, not because Michelle Obama got misunderstood, but because it reveals so much about the Obamas. (via Michelle Malkin)

Yep... Obama revealing and unveiling. There's been a dearth of that lately by an adoring, star struck press. But if he's the nominee, we should demand to see more of the real family, and less of the prose happy entertainer who dazzles while saying nothing.

Michelle Malkin, link referenced above in Capt Ed's quote, has a personal essay of comparison between herself and the "other Michelle" that did give me a grin.

My column this week gives you two Michelles, two Americas. John Edwards was right after all!

Michelle Obama’s America—and mine
Michelle Malkin
Copyright Creators Syndicate 2008

Like Michelle Obama, I am a “woman of color.” Like Michelle Obama, I am a working mother of two young children. Like Michelle Obama, I am a member of the 13th Generation of Americans born since the founding of our great nation.

Unlike Michelle Obama, I can’t keep track of the number of times I’ve been proud—really proud—of my country since I was born and privileged to live in it.


Mrs. Obama’s statement was met with warm applause from other Barack supporters who have apparently also been devoid of pride in their country for their adult lifetimes. Or maybe it was just a Pavlovian response to the word “change.” What a sad, empty, narcissistic, ungrateful, unthinking lot.


I believe it was Michael Kinsley who quipped that a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. In this case, it’s what happens when an elite Democrat politician’s wife says what a significant portion of the party’s base really believes to be the truth: That America is more a source of shame than pride.

Both Malkin and Capt Ed go thru the plethora of American generosity and achievements just over the past "adult life" of Ms. Obama... all of which should generate pride in any of us.

I believe not that Ms. Obama made an error of expression, but that she was expressing her core beliefs to a like-kind audience of friends - expecting no backlash nor disagreement for such a simple observation. That has to make me believe that she must think most of us consider this nation "a source of shame".

She may be right, and only November will tell us for sure. But I, for one, do not wish to have a "fair weather" First Lady in my WH.

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