Friday, February 22, 2008

Michelle Obama Is The New Hillary Clinton

or at least she will be when she comes from into focus, and what I mean by that is all those conservatives and republicans who felt threatened by an outspoken first lady and sort of viewed Hillary as a menacing spectre will soon feel the same way about Michelle who I think will make the Hillary of the 90s look like Laura Bush. And I think the first shot in that war was of course fired in response to Michelle's now infamous "for the first time I'm proud of my country" remarks.
But other than the whole narrative of another liberal blaming America and hating it first is the notion that I'm holding that while "white America" seems incredibly comfortable about Barack that may have to do with the fact that he does not implicate them by the fact that he is not the descendant of a slave and so, to some he can be thought of as the person to "move us forward" from slavery and shame without the painful self examination that this country shrinks from, whereas Michelle in her more..."blunt" style seems willing to point the finger and lay blame and be pessimisitic being someone who's ancestors were slave.
And so it's a very interesting dynamic, Michelle the "Implicator" and Barack "the Absolver" of our racial and class sins.
Plus America still isn't ready for a blunt and forthright woman. It's true.
What got me thinking about all of that was this piece in the L.A. Times about Michelle finding herself in the spotlight's glare

...unlike her husband, she tends to dwell on the negative. America, in her telling, is a place where "regular folks," meaning the working class, can't get ahead because, as she said at Ohio State University, "folks set the bar, and then you work hard and you reach the bar -- sometimes you surpass the bar -- and then they move the bar!"

Americans, she says, have become "cynical" and "mean" and have "broken souls." For regular folks, life is bad and getting worse.

People can't raise a family on one salary anymore, she says. They can't afford to get sick even if they have insurance because of deductibles, premiums and the high cost of medication. They can't confidently send their kids to neighborhood public schools because so many of them are so bad. Young people can't afford to attend college to become teachers or nurses or journalists because those jobs don't pay enough to repay college loans.

"We don't need a world full of corporate attorneys and hedge-fund managers," she told a crowd in a Baptist church in Cheraw, S.C., last month. "But see, that's the only way you can pay back your educational debt!

"The life that I am talking about that most people are living has gotten progressively worse since I was a little girl. And this is through Republican and Democratic administrations. It doesn't matter who was in the White House. . . . So if you want to pretend there was some point over the last couple of decades when your lives were easy, I wanna meet you!"

Her rhetoric is jarring given that the Obamas themselves are a stunning embodiment of the American dream. Michelle Obama and her brother, Craig Robinson, the men's basketball coach at Brown University, attended Princeton University. Barack and Michelle Obama both earned law degrees from Harvard, another of the nation's most prestigious schools, and are facing the possibility of raising their two daughters in the White House.

The couple's combined salaries were more than $430,000 in 2006, according to their tax return. In addition, Barack Obama earned $551,000 in book royalties. The family lives in a $1.6-million home in Chicago.

Despite their Ivy League pedigrees and good salaries, Michelle Obama often says the fact that she and her husband are out of debt is due to sheer luck, because they could not have predicted that his two books would become bestsellers. "It was like, 'Let's put all our money on red!' " she told a crowd at Ohio State University on Friday. "It wasn't a financial plan! We were lucky! And it shouldn't have been based on luck, because we worked hard."

When challenged during an interview about how her rather bleak view of America is at odds with her own life, she said she is not talking about herself. "I start the stump speech talking about regular folks, and I define them using the story of my father -- a regular working-class guy [who] didn't have a college education. . . . The folks in that room that I was talking to have had it hard for a long time."

Chicago real estate developer Valerie Jarrett, a close friend of the Obamas and a senior advisor to the campaign, said she thinks Michelle Obama is simply stating a reality. "I think her point is that when she grew up, with a blue-collar job and the right principles, you could provide for your children," said Jarrett, who once hired Michelle Obama to be her assistant when she was deputy chief of staff to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. "That's not possible anymore."

No, it's not and everything she seems to be railing against, y'know about how we're the first generation who may not leave this country in better shape for our children and all that, umm was John's campaign. But once again the elitism and class markers of Barack's initial base come out, those highly educated upper middle class who are worried about paying down college loans and not losing their jobs. That being said even though I hate her and think she's a bit of a twat I'm glad to see someone at least gesturing about inequality in that campaign. plus it's good to know that at least one person in that family has some bollocks since Barack's tendency to be slow to refute attacks shows that he may not yet be "wise to the Freak Show"

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