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Michelle Obama's Stump Speech: The Politics of Frustration.--

Byron York is among several commentators today who, with a jaundiced eye, are covering or discussing Michelle Obama's stump speech:

Walking onstage to chants of "Yes, we can!" and "Fired up — ready to go!" she quickly gets to the heart of her message: There are forces out there who are trying to take away everything Barack has worked for. They — she doesn't mention anyone in particular but does refer to one "brand name politician" — are trying to win this election for themselves and thereby deny Obama the opportunity to move America to the mountaintop of hope. And they must be stopped.

"We've learned that we're still living in a time and in a nation where the bar is set, right?" she tells the crowd.

"That's right."

"They tell you all you need to do is do these things and you'll get to the bar — "

"Uh-huh."

"So you go about the business of doing those things — "

"Yes — "

Her husband has been doing just that, Obama explains — raising money, building an organization, winning caucuses, winning primaries, and amassing a large number of delegates. And yet he still hasn't won, because nothing is ever enough for those unnamed adversaries.

"You start working hard and sacrificing, and you think you're getting closer to the bar, you're working and you're struggling, you get right to that bar, you're reaching out for the bar, and then what happens?"

"They raise the bar!"

"They raise the bar. Raise the bar. Shift it to the side. Keep it just out of reach."

"Yes!"

"And that's just what's been happening in this race."

Mrs. Obama begins a long riff about how that is happening not just to her husband but to Americans as a whole, who are working hard only to find the benefits of their work kept just out of reach. "You know what happens when you live in a society where the vast majority of people are struggling every day to reach an ever-shifting and moving bar?" she asks. "You know what happens in that kind of society?"

"THEY GET FRUSTRATED!" yells a man in the audience.

That's right, Obama says. And that frustration leaves people isolated and afraid, and then "we pass on all that negative energy to the next generation." She tells the story of a ten-year-old girl she met in Newberry, S.C., before that state's primary. "It was in a little beauty shop, and we were having a rally — it was me and a bunch of women and a couple of brothers," she recalls. After the rally, the girl came up to her and said, with great seriousness, "Do you realize when your husband becomes the next president of the United States, it will be historical?"

Everybody laughs; what a cute thing for a child to say. But then Obama asked the little girl what that would mean for her. "It means that I can imagine anything for myself," the girl said.

The crowd begins to applaud; they think they're hearing a happy, inspiring story. But that's not where Mrs. Obama is going.

"And then that little girl started to break down in tears," she continues. "She sobbed so hard. She was crying big, huge tears. And I had to think, why is this little girl crying so hard? And I thought, you know what's going on? This little old girl gets it."

"Yeah — "

"This little ten-year-old girl knows what's at stake."

"That's right — "

"She knows that she's already five steps behind — "

"Mmm-huh — "

"She knows that her hopes for college are already dwindling — "

"Yes — "

"She knows that if she gets sick, maybe has an asthma attack, instead of going to a doctor and being treated, she's going to be sitting in an emergency room for hours on end."

"That's right — "

In short, Obama says, the little girl, just ten, knows that the bar has been moved far away from her, and she "feels that veil of impossibility, and it is suffocating her."

"This little girl is in all of us," Obama concludes.

"Mmm-huh — "

Even Michelle Obama herself. "I'm not supposed to be here," she tells the crowd. "I am a statistical oddity. As a black girl raised on the south side of Chicago, I'm not supposed to be here. I wasn't supposed to go to Princeton. They said my test scores were too high" — surely a verbal slip, because in the past she has said she was told her test scores were too low — "I wasn't supposed to go to Harvard Law School, because they said it might be a little too hard for me. And I certainly am not supposed to be standing here with a chance to become the next first lady of the United States of America."

But here she is, in just that position — only to find that they, as always, are trying to raise the bar a little higher, just out of her and her husband's reach. Still, she asks the crowd "to close your eyes and do some dreaming…to dream of the day that a man like Barack Obama is standing in front of the Capitol with his hand on the Bible." With that, the audience erupts into shouting and applause.

Keith in Dallas (mail):
Based on this account, it sounds like everyone in attendance is now dumber for having heard the speech.
5.6.2008 1:32pm
Steve:
I like Obama just fine, but I do not believe that electing him will make my dreams, or those of my children, any more or less likely to come true. When the Giants won the Super Bowl, did it increase my chances of getting that big promotion?
5.6.2008 1:38pm
Skyler (mail) (www):
Yeah, you go girl. It's not that you and your husband hate the country. It's not that you cavort and conspire with terrorists. It's not that you're marxists. Nope, it's "the man" keeping you down. Yep, not your fault at all.
5.6.2008 1:39pm
Ken Arromdee:
Apparently, being attacked by political opponents in a presidential race is now "having the bar raised".
5.6.2008 1:39pm
Brian Mac:
This speech tells me that they have been raising the bar out of Michelle's reach, before bringing it down on her head. Repeatedly. Only plausible explanation.
5.6.2008 1:45pm
AlGoreski:
If only she hadn't been there, but someone else that was appreciative of her undeserved but good fortune in life.

Initially I had hope that Obama would be different, but unfortunately he's resorted to playing the only card left in his shallow deck...
5.6.2008 1:48pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):
I have called this the "X + 1" game. The person seeking a job/promotion/whatever comes in with a resume with certain experience on it (we will call this X). In the interview the person interviewing asks them whether they have some experience/education/language/whatever that is not on the resume (we will call this "1"). Then the person does not get the job because they have the X but we need the "+1".

Now, "the man" can be a man, a woman, person of color whatever, but there is "the man."

I think anybody of any race who is losing their house right now has a visceral sense of "the man."

That is what strikes me about the stump speech. It is not just the Call from Lowery (whose cred on social justice is broader, higher, deeper and stronger than I would suspect the entirety of persons on this Volokh Conspiracy since its inception) and Michelle Obama but the "Response" from the crowd which should be heard.

And one of the "1's" would be, you do not improve our diversity numbers.

Whether the "1" is the true reason or not, the point is that the person in power is using it as the excuse to exclude you.

Please do not let me think that there is no frustration in those settings.

Best,
Ben
5.6.2008 1:51pm
alias:

There are forces out there who are trying to take away everything Barack has worked for. They — she doesn't mention anyone in particular but does refer to one "brand name politician" — are trying to win this election for themselves and thereby deny Obama the opportunity to move America to the mountaintop of hope. And they must be stopped.

Other people who are "trying to win this election for themselves" (aka other candidates) are one of the usual obstacles one confronts upon deciding to run for office. She may have noticed that there were other candidates in Mr. Obama's prior elections, and I'm willing to bet that those other candidates were also trying to win the election for themselves.
5.6.2008 1:53pm
alias:

We've learned that we're still living in a time and in a nation where the bar is set, right?" she tells the crowd.
Also, what does this mean?
5.6.2008 1:55pm
guy in the veal calf office (mail) (www):
Is she the highest paid (+$300,000) community liaison in America? And is it a sinecure when her position as created after her man was elected senator?
5.6.2008 1:58pm
MXE (mail):
Dude, Michelle Obama scares the hell out of me.
5.6.2008 1:59pm
ejo:
it is a stump speech directed to the ignorant and uneducated, just like the sermons of Rev. Wright. She's not the first who has made these kinds of speeches nor will it be the last. Wasn't Huey Long a similar kind of demagogue-look at the wondrous state of Louisiana for where this dreck gets you.
5.6.2008 2:01pm
Oren:
She may have noticed that there were other candidates in Mr. Obama's prior elections, and I'm willing to bet that those other candidates were also trying to win the election for themselves.
You obviously aren't from Illinois.
5.6.2008 2:02pm
Richard Nieporent (mail):
If the Man set the Bar too high, will it break the glass ceiling?
5.6.2008 2:04pm
The Unbeliever:

"She knows that she's already five steps behind — "
"She knows that her hopes for college are already dwindling — "

Did Michelle Obama just call the little girl dumb?

In short, Obama says, the little girl, just ten, knows that the bar has been moved far away from her, and she "feels that veil of impossibility, and it is suffocating her."

Wait a second, I thought the metaphorical "bar" in question was what Barak Obama had to jump over to become President. How did a young girl fail to meet it at the ripe old age of 10?

At the very least, the bar is 25 years away from her until she meets the Constitutionally required age, by which time she might have enough experience to touch the lofty bar. This invites an obvious dig at Michelle Obama's husband, given the line "This little girl is in all of us", but I'm not clever enough to make it funny.
5.6.2008 2:07pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I was listening to the speech over the weekend, and I commented to my wife about how MO was screwing up the metaphor. Raising the bar is a good thing. Moving the goalposts seems to be what she's actually complaining about.
5.6.2008 2:12pm
Theodore (mail):
It's all 7 of 9's fault that we are in this mess. Talk about the ultimate in "the man", what about the Borg?
5.6.2008 2:14pm
BGates:
She may have noticed that there were other candidates in Mr. Obama's prior elections

Alias - not in all of them. In his very first campaign, he found reason to remove enough names from the nominating petitions of his opponents to get them all kicked off the ballot. In Ben Davis' terminology, the "1's" were, "they were in his way".

I think anybody of any race who is losing their house right now has a visceral sense of "the man."
I think that's probably right. Most people losing their houses right now made very poor forecasts about their future income or the inevitability of future house price rises, or failed to understand the basic math of interest rate increases, or were trying to commit fraud. Those are just the kind of morons who get worked up about "the man".
5.6.2008 2:19pm
xx:
How is this the politics of frustration? Isn't the message that people should keep fighting and the speaker's preferred candidate will win at the end? The meme seems to be "triumph in the face of adversity," not "give up in the face of inevitable frustration." She doesn't tell them not to vote in the end. . .
5.6.2008 2:22pm
Zeno (www):
That sounds a bit...sugary. Like an oratorical version of an Oprah episode.

Maybe that's why her husband is the politician and not her.
5.6.2008 2:32pm
NotLindgren:
Yes, we should all be focusing on Michelle's stump speech. It is of course the second most important issue facing our nation (second only to crazy black preachers). And yes, it is insulting to accuse me of doing my partisan bit to focus on issues that crazy left-wingers think of as trivial.

And no, despite having a decent facility (in my own) estimation with empirical analysis of data, I'm not aware that these cynical strategies have historically tended to work for Republican when any attention to the real issues would show they've made a mess of things. How dare you accuse of me of bias?
5.6.2008 2:39pm
James Lindgren (mail):
XX:

Yes, there is some hope in the speech, but if Byron York's account is fair (I haven't listened to the speech myself), the emphasis is more on frstration, and the hope is mostly to elect Barack Obama, as if politicians are very important determinants of the individual success of most citizens in America.

Also, I found the crying child story somewhat strange. Michelle Obama may have some additional reason for suspecting that the young child was feeling despair, but without more that wouldn't have been in my first five suppositions based on just the facts she relates (eg, the girl's emotion of talking to a famous and sympathetic person, relief at having gotten her words out and had them accepted, etc?). Maybe I just choke up with tears of emotion too often myself, but despair seldom leads me to tears.
5.6.2008 2:42pm
JRMo (mail):
Since she benefitted from affirmative action, didn't THEY actually lower the bar for her?

How come THEY never get credit for the good stuff THEY do? If THEY are so powerful, THEY certainly don't have to enact programs like affirmative action.

I realize 20-30 years of affirmative action does not make up for 400 years of slavery and oppression, but the fact is that nothing can make up for it and nothing ever will. But a little recognition from those being helped that the people helping them are, at the very least, not flat out evil, seems appropriate.

If THEY were really so bad, Michelle would still be living on the South Side of Chicago, wouldn't she? Maybe she should offer THEM a "thank you" instead of accusing THEM of purposefully keeping black people down (an accusation refuted by her own history).
5.6.2008 2:44pm
Tom952 (mail):
Would someone please read her last paycheck stub to her and explain what the numbers mean?
5.6.2008 2:46pm
Cold Warrior:
Sounds like an effective stump speech to me.

Lindgren seems to be expecting the candidate's spouse to introduce her 12-point plan for dealing with the foreclosure crisis.

It's a stump speech.

I remember the waning days of David Brinkley on TV -- when asked about some speech or other (it hardly matters) he's simply reply, "It's a good political speech." Basically devoid of real content, but content wasn't really the point.
5.6.2008 2:47pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
JL shows his amazing ability to cut and paste from right wing hacks. Must be election time again.
5.6.2008 2:49pm
Kathi Smith (mail):
I saw Ms. Obama on Colbert Report, and every time she said her husband's name "Barack Obama", I got goosebumps. In a good way. She's awesome.
5.6.2008 2:50pm
Snicker:
Obama doesn't have the number of delegates he needs. He hasn't reached the "bar" yet, and, unless they rewrite the convention rules to require a higher number of delegates, the bar is going to stay in exactly the same place as it is now and as it was when he threw his name in the running. Hillary's continuing to campaign isn't raising a bar or readjusting the standard - it's requiring Obama to actually win the nomination instead of having it handed to him. Oh, the horror of having to earn something!
5.6.2008 2:57pm
Tom952 (mail):
I've never been in a competition where my opponent didn't try to "raise the bar", that is, try to perform better than me to win, as I was trying to do the same to my opponent.

The presidential race is an intense competition, and so are many of life's important endeavors. If Michelle Obama thinks that life is like the boy scouts, where one only needs to check off certain accomplishments to earn the prize, she is a complete fool.
5.6.2008 2:59pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Michelle's speech is the story of hope and obstacles overcome. I thought it was very heartening. I did appreciate her slanging the Clintons' endless negative spinning of Barack's achievements -- "the only states that count are the ones I (HRC) won; we expect the colored man to win South Carolina, so his victory doesn't count; etc."
5.6.2008 3:00pm
Smokey:
Since she benefitted from affirmative action, didn't THEY actually lower the bar for her?
When you cut through all the clutter, that's the essential fact of the matter.

What has MO done to actually merit $300,000 a year? Besides being married to BO, I mean.
5.6.2008 3:07pm
Benjamin Davis (mail):

Most people losing their houses right now made very poor forecasts about their future income or the inevitability of future house price rises, or failed to understand the basic math of interest rate increases, or were trying to commit fraud. Those are just the kind of morons who get worked up about "the man".


Talk about elitism! Jeez! I guess I have finally stumbled across "the man": he is Bill Gates (BGates). Sounds like Scrooge.

Best,
Ben
5.6.2008 3:10pm
JB:
We get it. Barack Obama is just another politician. In fact, he's a fairly generic liberal. All of his supporters who didn't know that have already left the tent. I'm not sure who you're trying to convince of what here.
5.6.2008 3:12pm
James Lindgren (mail):
CrazyTrain:

I posted two things on the election this morning, one from RealClearPolitics and Daily Kos, the other from National Review.

Further, most of York's NR post purports to be direct quotations from Michelle Obama herself made to advance her hisband's candidacy.
5.6.2008 3:12pm
Its1932again (mail):
Yeah, my daughter gets it too. "Daddy, if Obama becomes President will he raise taxes?"

"Yes"

"Does that mean we will have less money to visit grandma, buy gas and maybe visit Disneyland?"

"Yes"

"Will he pass more rules that make making money harder?"

"Oh, yes."

"Does that mean fewer people will make money, there will be fewer jobs and more poverty?"

"Heck yeah."

"Will it become like New York, where you grew up in the 1970's and everyone was either struggling, poor, a criminal or a stupid pinko in a limosine?"

"Yep."

"And when the government printed monopoly money to bail out pinkolimosineriders on Wall Street."

"Yepper."

"Dad! What do we do?"

"Pray. Buy Gold, Ammno and canned goods. And vote Ron Paul."
5.6.2008 3:13pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

In his very first campaign, he found reason to remove enough names from the nominating petitions of his opponents to get them all kicked off the ballot.

To earn money for the family, my father used to distribute handbills in his youth. He told me that while he was diligent and responsible, many other boys would start by going from door to door, but then they'd get bored and throw the rest down the storm drain. Apparently the nominating petition gatherers for Obama's opponents operated similarly. They started out collecting valid signatures, but when it became crunch time they just sat in a room and passed the petitions from one gatherer to the next, so that successive signatures would not be in the same handwriting.

I guess Obama could have closed his eyes to this blatant election fraud, but why let ineligible candidates run for office?
5.6.2008 3:14pm
James Lindgren (mail):
To be fair to Michelle Obama, the Clinton camp is trying to change the rules by seating Michigan and Florida delegations.

That would be raising the bar; but it hasn't happened yet.

Jim Lindgren
5.6.2008 3:16pm
Kirk:
I hope to G-d that the girl story is made up--because if not, what kind of abusive monsters have been brainwashing her, that at the age of ten she's utterly despondent at her chances in life as an adult? The kids at the private school school where my wife teaches, who in general spend waaaaaay too much time fretting over what college they'll get into, don't go that far.
5.6.2008 3:18pm
James Lindgren (mail):
Its1932again,

I don't think your post advanced Ron Paul's chances or made him seem more attractive.
5.6.2008 3:18pm
The Unbeliever:
Michelle's speech is the story of hope and obstacles overcome.

What obstacles? I haven't heard any legitimate "hard knock life" stories from either Obama, the few Michelle tried to float have been roundly (and rightly) derided. I haven't heard of either one overcoming significant racial or glass ceiling barriers.

Maybe they're trying to lay claim to the national overcoming of racial barriers, i.e. Barak couldn't have gotten this far in our nation 50 years ago. But that seems like a profoundly arrogant co-opt of others' legacies, and probably clashes with the class warfare tripe they're pushing.

Maybe she was speaking of political barriers, but that's prima facie absurd. Her husband coasted to victory in 2004 over an imploding IL GOP party--over Alan Keyes, a candidate who shares a skin tone with him--and this cycle he easily beat such luminaries as John Edwards (hah!) and Dennis Kucinich. Now he's facing his first real obstacle, Hillary Clinton, but he has yet to overcome it. From the post:

Her husband has been doing just that, Obama explains — raising money, building an organization, winning caucuses, winning primaries, and amassing a large number of delegates. And yet he still hasn't won, because nothing is ever enough for those unnamed adversaries.

Well cry me a freaking river, but every Presidential candidate has to do that. You don't win 1st prize for meeting the contest's entry qualifications, and Michelle's oft-remarked upon sense of entitlement is showing here. In any case Hillary is getting along pretty darned well doing the exact same thing; where are Michelle's laments that about out of reach bars approaching the glass ceiling?
5.6.2008 3:19pm
Blue (mail):
Go Bar! Go Bar!
5.6.2008 3:20pm
JosephSlater (mail):
What NonLindgren said. Beyond that, does anybody here remember a first lady who purportedly believed in astrology and, according to reports, influenced her husband's schedule around those beliefs?
5.6.2008 3:20pm
Ken Arromdee:
Whether the "1" is the true reason or not, the point is that the person in power is using it as the excuse to exclude you.

Except that the people she's referring to as trying to exclude Obama are the other candidates. Are you seriously suggesting that the other candidates are even able to do such a thing?
5.6.2008 3:26pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
If anything, it seems increasingly likely that the bar was lowered significantly to allow Michelle to attend Princeton or Harvard. I have heard that she only got in to Princeton based on her being a) an affirmative action admit b) a legacy admit based on her Princeton brother. I've heard repeatedly that the consensus at her high school was that she was unqualified even as an affirmative action candidate. And these were the same teachers that had enthusiastically sent her brother there recently, so we can thus rule out any sort of bias.

Judging from the 3rd grade writing quality in her senior thesis, I would venture that she was an affirmative action admit at Harvard Law as well.

If anything, she seems to be complaining that America won't lower the bar one last time.
5.6.2008 3:28pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
I just heard on TV last night that someone compared Mrs. Obama to Jackie O.

It took me an hour to stop laughing.
5.6.2008 3:30pm
Anderson (mail):
Moving the goalposts seems to be what she's actually complaining about.

Nieporent gets it. If Clinton had Obama's delegates &vice-versa, Obama would be out of the race by now.

The above revulsion to this speech is, quite simply, ridiculous.

(Though I'm glad that they have Byron York following the campaign wives around, instead of doing anything serious. He's only in a few feet over his head on this beat. Maybe Jonah Goldberg could report breathlessly on McCain's daughter and her iPod playlist.)
5.6.2008 3:37pm
Barry Zuckercorn:
OMG! The gall of that woman! Making an empassioned political speech that appeals to emotion when her husband is running for president! How dare she! Casting herself and her husband as the underdogs against the elite! How dare she! It's almost like she's copying the style of the last 20 years of AM talk radio hosts! The gall!
5.6.2008 3:41pm
byomtov (mail):
I have heard that she only got in to Princeton based on her being a) an affirmative action admit b) a legacy admit based on her Princeton brother. I've heard repeatedly that the consensus at her high school was that she was unqualified even as an affirmative action candidate. And these were the same teachers that had enthusiastically sent her brother there recently, so we can thus rule out any sort of bias.

You have heard. Right. From knowledgeable sources inside the Princeton admissions office no doubt. If you want to back that up go ahead, otherwise it's pure nasty BS.

And spare us your mock outrage at legacy admissions.
5.6.2008 3:43pm
Hoosier:
Anderson, et al.: Barack himself has been using the vague "They" rhetorically as a the pronoun for the bad guys who are trying to do nasty things to him/you/me/kittens; and throughout the primaries. (Cf. Obama's victory speech on Super Tuesday.)

Why is it "ridiculous" to be revolted by what is clearly a conscious tactic of the Obama campaign? Has that sort of resentful populism ever been a good thing to inject into politics? Anywhere?

Or is there something I'm missing about playing to the "Worse Angels of Our Nature"? (Other than its effectiveness, of course.)
5.6.2008 3:47pm
SeaDrive:
The technical term is "telling people what they want to hear." It's exactly the same has Hillary pushing the gas tax holiday.
5.6.2008 3:48pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Anderson: LOL at the lines about York and Goldberg. And Barry Zuckercorn and Byomtov's posts were pretty good too.
5.6.2008 3:49pm
Hoosier:
Sea Drive: Except that resentments, though vague, may be consistent. Hillary wants to repeal our pump tax, then hit the oil (excuse me, "BIG OIL") companies with windfall profits taxes. And they will compensate for the increased taxation by doing WHAT to prices? (I'll wait while everyone thinks about the possible answers.)

So: Obama assumes we [Hoosiers] are full of wrath; Clinton that we are void of thoughts. Great.

QUESTION that occurs to me: If Obama is elected, will he be constantly "reaching across the ailse" to 'THEM'? Why or why not? (Show your work.)
5.6.2008 3:57pm
gab:
ejo said,



"...it is a stump speech directed to the ignorant and uneducated..."


And how pray tell, sir or madam, is that any different from John McCain's gas tax holiday speech?
5.6.2008 3:59pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
What has MO done to actually merit $300,000 a year?

As readers of a legal blog might know, had she stayed at Sidley, she would have passed $300K long ago.

I haven't heard any legitimate "hard knock life" stories from either Obama, the few Michelle tried to float have been roundly (and rightly) derided. I haven't heard of either one overcoming significant racial or glass ceiling barriers.

I have no idea what you would consider a legitimate "hard knock life" story, or a significant racial or glass ceiling barrier. In your world ghetto girls must always be going from their attic apartments to Princeton and HLS.

I admit I am curious about Jim at FSU's gossipy Whitney Young connections -- E! True Magnet School Story. Both Michelle and her brother skipped second grade, so I'm going to deduce they were both pretty bright kids.

Michelle's thesis does have a tortuous first draft quality to it, as if she had written it all in one eighteen hour burst to turn it in at the deadline. (Not that the college student me would know anything about that.) Keenly aware of her own adjustment to the Princeton environment, she wondered how it had affected previous black Princetonians. Her main problem was that she gathered data and had to draw conclusions from it, even though the results were not as tidy as she had hoped. Most of what she wrote was just converting the lessons of the tables into sentence form. Also, the OCR errors did not make reading it any easier, especially the tables.

Basically she found blacks clung to each other (for support?) while at Princeton, while both before and afterwards they moved more into the white mainstream. Blacks identified with other blacks because of shared experience (operating within the majority culture), and not because of shared culture (music etc.).
5.6.2008 4:02pm
Hoosier:
>>>And how pray tell, sir or madam, is that any different from John McCain's gas tax holiday speech?

Failure in McCain's case to postulate malign forces who are rigging it so that normal folks like you and me and him can't make it in the world. (In addition to the fact that Michelle Obama can raise her arms higher, I mean.)
5.6.2008 4:03pm
EH (mail):
<i>Its1932again:
"Dad! What do we do?"

"Pray. Buy Gold, Ammno and canned goods. And vote Ron Paul."
</i>

Funnily enough, Ron Paul supports Obama. Care to modify your hysteria?
5.6.2008 4:15pm
Bored Lawyer:
What is offensive about this speech is that it confuses ordinary achievement with political success. The office of President (like any elective office) is not one that one is entitled to merely for working hard and having talent -- not like becoming a succesful lawyer, doctor or accountant.

A person can work hard all his or her life, have the right background, even achieve a measure of political success and still not be elected president -- simply because the electorate has decided that it wants someone else's leadership, or ideology or governmental temperment.

MO seems to be implying that it is engrained racism -- the anonymous THEY -- who will keep her husband from being elected -- the same THEY who, purportedly, keep minorities from succeeding.

This complaint is doubly insidious because (1) today many minorities do in fact succeed through hard work (MO herself is a prime example thereof) and (2) her husband's not being nominated or elected, should that occur, is different in kind from a minority child not succeeding in higher education and a profession.
5.6.2008 4:16pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
And between Reverend Wright and Michelle Obama, I have to seriously question Obama's judgment and leadership ability that he couldn't convince both of them to keep their mouths shut while he is trying to get elected president. They are not helping.
5.6.2008 4:21pm
Jimmy S.:
EH, the act of a) taking a story from the Iranian state news service, and b) completely taking it out of context in order to support an allegation the story never made, does little for your credibility.
5.6.2008 4:29pm
Gaius Marius:
There is nothing more pathetic than seeing a couple of successful and wealthy Ivy Leaguers whine about how tough life seems. Waaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
5.6.2008 4:33pm
Tom952 (mail):
This complaint is doubly insidious because (1) today many minorities do in fact succeed through hard work (MO herself is a prime example thereof) and

Really? And I was sure she got her high paying job because her hubby was elected to the U.S. Senate.
5.6.2008 4:37pm
The Unbeliever:
I have no idea what you would consider a legitimate "hard knock life" story, or a significant racial or glass ceiling barrier.

Fair enough. I'll weasel out with the "I'll know it when I see it" line, and note that I am more impressed with Condoleeza Rice's bio than with Michelle Obama's.
Basically she found blacks clung to each other (for support?) while at Princeton, while both before and afterwards they moved more into the white mainstream. Blacks identified with other blacks because of shared experience (operating within the majority culture), and not because of shared culture (music etc.).

You don't say. At my college the Asian students clung together in cliques, divided along nationality-based lines, and it was quite common to hear lots of chattering in Chinese within certain areas of the lunch hall (along with some Korean). What was noteworthy about her conclusions, and why did it contribute to her apparent of sense of entitlement? (I don't know how her thesis got introduced to this conversation, but FWIW it seems a little, well, obvious. If I or one of my colleagues in the School of Business had submitted something similar, we would have gotten laughed out of our classes.)
5.6.2008 4:39pm
Oren:
EH, the act of a) taking a story from the Iranian state news service, and b) completely taking it out of context in order to support an allegation the story never made, does little for your credibility.
Here's the interview in case anyone wants to actually listen.

Long story short, Ron Paul, like the majority of Americans, is incapable of supporting John "100 years in Iraq" McCain.
5.6.2008 4:43pm
wooga:
Oren,
I find it exceedingly hard to believe libertarian Ron Paul would ever support an avowed statist like Obama. Which candidate is promising to expand the federal government the most? Yeah, that's the one who libertarians will get behind! [/sarc].

Sure, Ron Paul may think John McCain is 100% wrong on Iraq (he doesn't - Paul is simply concerned about procedural compliance with founding principles - he introduced a Dec of War on Iraq), but there is more to Ron Paul than Iraq, you know.
5.6.2008 5:09pm
gab:
Hoosier said,


"Failure in McCain's case to postulate malign forces who are rigging it so that normal folks like you and me and him can't make it in the world. (In addition to the fact that Michelle Obama can raise her arms higher, I mean.)"



The point of my post was that McCain's speech, just as Michelle Obama's speech "... was directed to the ignorant and uneducated..." Just because they use different means to do so doesn't detract from that point.

And you also might consider a class in basic grammar, or is that not available in Hoosierville?
5.6.2008 5:20pm
BGates:
Both Michelle and her brother skipped second grade
I've read her senior thesis. She would benefit from making that year up.
5.6.2008 5:25pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Cheney's daughter is a lesbian! Oh wait, THAT'S unfair.
5.6.2008 5:27pm
Aultimer:
She's making the analogy that the entrenched Clinton's attempts to bend the rules about Mich and Fla are much like the entrenched majority's perceived bending of rules that is, or results in, the "black tax". If you're not familiar, it's a commonly held belief that black folk have to work harder/do better/produce more to be perceived as equal, and receive equal treatment.

The little girl story means that although a black president would signal that the purported world of possibilities is real, the little girl would have to pay the black tax on top of everything else required to reach those possibilities.

It's obviously not a claim that Clinton's efforts are the result of prejudice, just a handy metaphor.

I'm surprised she's being this whiny at the present stage of the game.
5.6.2008 5:28pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

I am more impressed with Condoleeza Rice's bio than with Michelle Obama's.

Both of Condoleeza's parents were well-educated, they insulated her from her surroundings as much as possible, and at the age of 13 took her to Denver, where blacks are few in number and Hispanics fill the bottom rungs of society. After a private high school education, she studied at her daddy's employer. I'd say that Michelle came a lot farther.
5.6.2008 5:34pm
Tom952 (mail):
Ironically, if Michelle keeps talking, he may actually get screwed out of the nomination - by her.
5.6.2008 5:38pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
Oh brother... UPPITY BLACKS!!

The only people who would find this speech upsetting are the kind of people who would never have voted for Obama in the first place.
5.6.2008 5:47pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
After reading that, I wouldn't vote for Michelle Obama, but who am I to hold against Barack Obama what any racists with whom he might be associated might say?
5.6.2008 5:56pm
astrangerwithcandy (mail):
Michelle Obama is an issue if the voters think she is an issue.

slater - you don't find a hypocrisy in pointing out the hypocrisy.
5.6.2008 5:58pm
genob:


This speech actually seems more applicable to Hillary Clinton...She (at least in her mind) has been the one that has spent the last 25 years "going about the business" of doing all she was supposed to do to get the nomination. Indeed, she acted early on in the campaign like it was a given. Something to which she was entitled. She is the one that has been dutifully paying her dues for all these years and now is having the "bar raised" by an inexperienced upstart who's resume certainly doesn't suggest he's ready to be POTUS.
5.6.2008 6:01pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

Maybe Jonah Goldberg could report breathlessly on McCain's daughter and her iPod playlist.


No, he's too busy telling us that the Tuskegee experiments weren't that bad.
5.6.2008 6:06pm
JosephSlater (mail):
slater - you don't find a hypocrisy in pointing out the hypocrisy.

Um, your point is that it's hypocritical to point out hypocrisy?
5.6.2008 6:10pm
Bored Lawyer:

Oh brother... UPPITY BLACKS!!

The only people who would find this speech upsetting are the kind of people who would never have voted for Obama in the first place.


Right. Obama is such a perfect candidate, the only reason to oppose his candidacy is racism.
5.6.2008 6:10pm
Federal Dog:
"What has MO done to actually merit $300,000 a year? Besides being married to BO, I mean."


Being married to Bill bought Hillary a senate seat and a presidential run.
5.6.2008 6:34pm
Anderson (mail):
The only people who would find this speech upsetting are the kind of people who would never have voted for Obama in the first place.

Exactly right.
5.6.2008 6:37pm
AndrewK (mail):
"But then Obama asked the little girl what that would mean for her. "It means that I can imagine anything for myself," the girl said... 'And then that little girl started to break down in tears...'"

.... because she knows that, in fact, she CAN'T succeed, because the white devil neocons are keeping her down. I am extremely perplexed by this because how can Michelle, by her own logic, explain the success of her husband in the face of "the Man?" Either she is (1) painting her husband as some sort of Ubermensch capable of overcoming literal impossibility (which is frightening as an example of cult-of-personality politics), or she has to realize that (2) the Man actually wants Obama to succeed.

Does Obama's inversion of the American dream remind anyone else of Marx's inversion of Hegel?
5.6.2008 6:37pm
Hoosier:
gab: "And you also might consider a class in basic grammar, or is that not available in Hoosierville?"
No thanks. But sweet of you to offer. (By the way, where's "Hoosierville"?)

Bored Lawyer: It's disturbing to see how Obama supporters respond when you criticize the Dear Leader. I don't like where this is headed.
5.6.2008 6:39pm
Dave N (mail):
It's all 7 of 9's fault that we are in this mess. Talk about the ultimate in "the man", what about the Borg?
The funniest post so far--by far.

I would note that Barack Obama has had exactly one tough race in his entire political career: in 2000 when he ran against incumbent Bobby Rush in the Democratic primary and was defeated.

In his first election, Obama received the Democratic nomination without opposition after challenging the nominating petitions of every other opponent.

In 2004, both of his major opponents imploded, Blair Hull in the Democratic primary and Jack Ryan after receiving the Republican nomination*--leaving Obama to run virtually unopposed against the never-credible Alan Keyes.

So, in a sense, Obama has led a charmed political life--which might lead Michelle Obama to a sense of entitlement.

Her remarks are certainly not helpful to Obama though I doubt she will do much to either help or hurt her husband's campaign.


* I did find it noteworthy (and very positive) that Obama made it clear that he considered Jack Ryan's divorce to be off-limits prior to the release of the documents that sank Ryan's campaign.
5.6.2008 6:42pm
BT:
Some random thoughts:

To JRMo: MO still lives on the south side of Chicago, just in a much more expensive neighborhood than were she grew up. The house they now live in and how it was aquired was part of the recent trial of Tony Rezko.

--MO's senior thesis at Princeton is the subject of a recent story by Christopher Hitchens in Slate titled "Are We Getting Two For One?" My guess is that is why people are now referencing it. I was not aware of it being public in any way until a few days ago. Her themes today seem to be very similar to those of 20 years ago. BTW Hitchens links to it should you wish to read it. I am too much of a true product of the southside of Chicago to be able to do that here.
5.6.2008 6:51pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Bored Lawyer:

The point is not that people can't have good, principled reasons to oppose Obama. The suggestion (and I agree with the suggestion) is that the people who are outraged, or pretending to be outraged, by Michelle's speech aren't people who were going to vote for Obama anyway.

Also, AndrewK:
Does Obama's inversion of the American dream remind anyone else of Marx's inversion of Hegel?

I'll raise my hand and say, "no, not at all."
5.6.2008 6:51pm
Oren:
Wooga, did you even listen to the interview that I posted or is that just reflex?
5.6.2008 7:10pm
Foobarista:
She clearly wants to get rid of these silly democratic formalisms and anoint Obama as God Emperor of the Known Universe.

Only there can he abolish cynicism, reshape America's soul, and end all bad things.
5.6.2008 7:22pm
Oren:
Yes, because it wasn't bad enough we have arguments from the loony left that President Bush does not plan to step down on Jan 21 2009, now we have to endure that bullshit from the loony right as well (bonus points for someone that comes up with a catchy alliterative name).
5.6.2008 7:24pm
James Lindgren (mail):
JosephSlater:

I wasn't "outraged" by Michelle Obama's speech. I did, however, think it reflected a negative view of America and was worth VC readers seeing it. And I voted this spring for Obama (in the IL primary), as I have many times before.

I have been reading his second book, looking for evidence that he is not naive; I'm trying to understand him better, as I expect many VC readers are who are either voting for McCain or are on the fence. At least here, some Obama supporters seem not to want to read about Obama's character, attitudes, viewpoints, judgment, candor, affinities, etc.

IMO, Michelle Obama is mostly a critic of America, while her husband is more positive. And the book shows him to be exceptionally tolerant of voters who disagree with him.
5.6.2008 7:25pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Keep Michelle away from the bar.

She is over her limit.
5.6.2008 7:26pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Hey some one deleted my comment about what Michelle did to earn her 300K.

In fact it is true. She did keep people from the hood from using the UChicago Emergency Room. A hospital administrator said she was "worth her weight in gold". And that is a direct quote.

You can look it up. In fact I will be giving links shortly.
5.6.2008 7:38pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Easton said the hospital management believed she merited the promotion based on a series of achievements. They included expansion of the institution's women and minority vendor purchases, rejuvenation of its volunteer program and work she did to help set up a collaborative effort with South Side clinics and doctors' offices to provide primary care for low-income residents who otherwise would seek treatment at the emergency room.

Baltimore Sun
5.6.2008 7:42pm
Daveperk (mail) (www):
Alias wrote of Michelle Obama's mythical 'other people'—

"Other people who are "trying to win this election for themselves" (aka other candidates) are one of the usual obstacles one confronts upon deciding to run for office. She may have noticed that there were other candidates in Mr. Obama's prior elections, and I'm willing to bet that those other candidates were also trying to win the election for themselves."

Uh, yeah, except for that State legislative seat he won by clearing the field with his petition denial scam. He prematurely retired a famous and much loved black woman, a civil rights activist, by sending workers into city hall and protesting every single signature on her petition.

When he ran, there was no opposition. No 'other people'.

I reckon that's the way Michelle would prefer it.
5.6.2008 7:44pm
Kazinski:
Joeseph Slater:

...the people who are outraged, or pretending to be outraged, by Michelle's speech aren't people who were going to vote for Obama anyway.

Which of course is why Obama can't win. Most Americans don't have the view of being victims of the man, nor do they want a President that has the view (or his surrogates) that he is powerless before unseen forces and can only operate in the narrow turf as the powers that be allow him.

Now obviously this is Michelle talking not Barrak, but if she is out there speaking for the campaign and the candidate, well then, she is speaking for the campaign and the candidate.
5.6.2008 7:51pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
From a link (in the body not a comment) from Volokh guy Jim Lindgren

Easton said the hospital management believed she merited the promotion based on a series of achievements. They included expansion of the institution's women and minority vendor purchases, rejuvenation of its volunteer program and work she did to help set up a collaborative effort with South Side clinics and doctors' offices to provide primary care for low-income residents who otherwise would seek treatment at the emergency room.

The link was to a Chicago Tribune article

Sheesh Jim. How about restoring my original comment? Was 's truth.

She got her $300K for keeping people from the hood out of the UChicago Emergency Room.
5.6.2008 7:53pm
Angry and frustrated (mail):
I think anybody of any race who is losing their house right now has a visceral sense of "the man."


Not just my house! The cops knocked down the toll booth I put up yesterday on the bridge I bought. And people laughed at me. It's not fair.
5.6.2008 7:58pm
Kazinski:
Jim Lindgren:

And the book shows him to be exceptionally tolerant of voters who disagree with him.

But somehow that hasn't seem to modified his views enough to get a clue. Barrak is a well meaning guy that hasn't figured out that solutions to America's ills have to be built on America's strengths. Barrak and his fellow travelers seem to have the view that America's strengths are the problem, and if only we can tax the rich enough then the poor will mysteriously become middle class.

We've built an incredibly resilliant economy, but there are a lot of strains on it now, in terms of increased foreign competition, energy prices, an aging population. Barraks solutions seem to be hiding from the competition with trade barriers, increasing energy prices thru the roof with GHG emmissions schemes, and doing nothing about SS reform other than raising taxes. All the while raising income tax rates, and capital gains rates that will severely impact our ability to compete.
5.6.2008 8:09pm
Bored Lawyer:

Bored Lawyer:

The point is not that people can't have good, principled reasons to oppose Obama. The suggestion (and I agree with the suggestion) is that the people who are outraged, or pretending to be outraged, by Michelle's speech aren't people who were going to vote for Obama anyway


You conveniently left out the "Uppity Blacks" part of the prior post -- basically an imputation of racism of anyone who opposes Obama.

Your observation by itself may be correct. But all it proves is that the same people who reject the whiny-we-are-perpetual-victims rhetoric are unlikely to vote for Obama, and vice-versa.
5.6.2008 8:10pm
Bored Lawyer:

I think anybody of any race who is losing their house right now has a visceral sense of "the man."


Always easier to blame someone else than one own's greed and overexuberance.
5.6.2008 8:12pm
Max (mail):
The Michelle speech reminded me of a scene in Evita.

I know there is a great musical in here somewhere, a reprise of Evita with Eva Peron, Juan Peron, and Che translated to Michelle, Barack, and Bill Ayers. After all, Romeo and Juliet rewritten as West Side Story worked well.

I'll acknowledge that there is a risk of the first as tragedy then as farce problem in going from Evita to Michellita. Somebody ought to give it a try anyway.
5.6.2008 8:24pm
wooga:

Wooga, did you even listen to the interview that I posted or is that just reflex?

Oren:
That's a nice choice you give me. I did not listen to the interview, as I have no sound while I procrastinate at work. It is not "just reflex," as I have read and heard a great deal of Ron Paul, and doubt very much that he deviates from all of his prior statements to say anything which could be rationally construed as either "Ron Paul supports Obama" or "Ron Paul is incapable of supporting John '100 years in Iraq' McCain."

The fact is, Ron Paul is not anti-war. He introduced a freaking declaration of war against Iraq. He is pissed because the way we procedurally went about entering this war was improper, and that the federal government should not have authority to act as 'world policeman.' On both fronts, there is no indication that McCain is more objectionable than Obama to Ron Paul.
5.6.2008 8:28pm
wooga:
Always easier to blame someone else than one own's greed and overexuberance.


BoredLawyer,
... or one own's stupendous economic miscalculation. I bought a tiny place in 2005, fearing that my local market would rise above my reach if I waited. There was no greed or exuberance on my part. Just plain stupidity. But I guess I'm not blaming "the man," so your point probably still stands against THAT kind of irresponsible person.
5.6.2008 8:32pm
LM (mail):
Skyler,

Yeah, you go girl. It's not that you and your husband hate the country. It's not that you cavort and conspire with terrorists. It's not that you're marxists. Nope, it's "the man" keeping you down. Yep, not your fault at all.

Do words like "hate," "conspire" and "marxist" have actual meanings to you?

If the left-wing analog to this kind of comment was posted here, most of you guys would be all over it, and rightly so. Is selective outrage over dishonesty one of those ends-justify-the-means type things?
5.6.2008 8:49pm
Smokey:
Mahan Atma:
Oh brother... UPPITY BLACKS!!
Don't be a fool. This is politics, and we vote for the person who is closest to our political philosophy.

I would vote in a heartbeat for Shelby Steele, Bobby Jindal, Thomas Sowell or Walter E. Williams if they were running. So take your implied accusation of racism and shove it.
5.6.2008 8:54pm
LM (mail):
David M. Nieporent,

I was listening to the speech over the weekend, and I commented to my wife about how MO was screwing up the metaphor. Raising the bar is a good thing. Moving the goalposts seems to be what she's actually complaining about.

I had the same reaction. As a supporter, I was kind of embarrassed. But I also screw up enough metaphors that I'm grateful I'll never have to hear myself give a stump speech.
5.6.2008 8:57pm
Porkchop:

Dave N (mail):
It's all 7 of 9's fault that we are in this mess. Talk about the ultimate in "the man", what about the Borg?
The funniest post so far--by far.

* * *

In 2004, both of his major opponents imploded, Blair Hull in the Democratic primary and Jack Ryan after receiving the Republican nomination*--leaving Obama to run virtually unopposed against the never-credible Alan Keyes.

* * *

* I did find it noteworthy (and very positive) that Obama made it clear that he considered Jack Ryan's divorce to be off-limits prior to the release of the documents that sank Ryan's campaign.


As I recall, Jack Ryan was married to 7 of 9 at the time. So did "the Man" win or lose that time?
5.6.2008 9:00pm
Kazinski:
Wooga:

[Ron Paul] is pissed because the way we procedurally went about entering this war was improper...

Which is one reason why Ron Paul is an idiot. The Constitution says that Congress has the power "To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;". There is nothing in that formulation that requires specific words, a secret handshake, or anything else in Paul's imagination.

Congress authorized the use of force in both the war on terror, and in Iraq. That is all that is needed, so says congress, so says the president and so say the courts. And it isn't as if votes in Congress are secret and the other party is on notice like about a year before the first trigger is pulled that Congress is going to vote on an authorization to use force.

And for you originalists, who is the first president to use force with an authorization from Congress but without a specific declaration of war? Thomas Jefferson. If fact Jefferson authorized the first action before Congress gave him authority, after the Bey of Tripoli declared war on the US, but went to Congress after the first action in the war.
5.6.2008 9:09pm
LM (mail):
James Lindgren,

Also, I found the crying child story somewhat strange. Michelle Obama may have some additional reason for suspecting that the young child was feeling despair, but without more that wouldn't have been in my first five suppositions based on just the facts she relates (eg, the girl's emotion of talking to a famous and sympathetic person, relief at having gotten her words out and had them accepted, etc?). Maybe I just choke up with tears of emotion too often myself, but despair seldom leads me to tears.

I agree, and I think it points to two fundamental problems Obama has with his message.

First, he really is by disposition a uniter rather than a divider. This means economic populism, which he apparently needs right now, and which relies on some kind of antagonist, doesn't come naturaly to him, and it probably does to Michelle. But that doesn't necessarily make her the right person to deliver it, because,

Second, there's a basic difference between the languages of white and black economic populism, and Michelle seems to be tone-deaf to it. The vocabulary of black economic populism has its own historical arc, and today it isn't nearly as negative, victimized, or blaming as it can sound to unfamiliar outsiders. For one thing the right wing has very effectively harnessed it to the objectionable, extremist messages of demagogues like Wright. In reality, it has a very different, more uplifting purpose and message.

That said, whatever the reasons and merits, speeches like this one are a sure political loser with most of the white voters Obama is trying to win over, so Michelle better wise up.
5.6.2008 9:34pm
Dave N (mail):
Porkchop,

Jeri and Jack Ryan divorced in 1999--in California. The Chicago Sun-Times sued to get access to sealed portions of their divorce file--which led to the embarrassing revelations that tanked Ryan's campaign.

BTW, I am curious as to how the Sun-Times had standing to seek the unsealing of those records--but that is a different discussion for another day.
5.6.2008 9:47pm
Oren:
The fact is, Ron Paul is not anti-war. He introduced a freaking declaration of war against Iraq. He is pissed because the way we procedurally went about entering this war was improper, and that the federal government should not have authority to act as 'world policeman.' On both fronts, there is no indication that McCain is more objectionable than Obama to Ron Paul.
First off, sorry for the 'reflex' comment.

If you listen to the interview, he is pretty clear that he wants the troops home as soon as possible.
5.6.2008 10:11pm
Skyler (mail) (www):

Do words like "hate," "conspire" and "marxist" have actual meanings to you?


Yeah. Hate: When they go to a church that commands their god to damn the country, I'd say that by definition requires hate.

When they have meetings in a terrorist's home to plan their political debut, I'd call that conspiring.

When those terrorists and many other of their close friends, advisors and influences are self-proclaimed marxists and most of their political positions come right from the communist manifesto, I'd say that makes them marxists.

What part is not quite precise enough for you?
5.6.2008 10:19pm
BT:
Dave N.

I am pretty sure it was the Chicago Tribune that sued to get access to Jack Ryan's files not the Sun Times.

I can't answer your legal question.
5.6.2008 10:22pm
LM (mail):
Skyler (mail,

Do words like "hate," "conspire" and "marxist" have actual meanings to you?



Yeah. Hate: When they go to a church that commands their god to damn the country, I'd say that by definition requires hate.

When they have meetings in a terrorist's home to plan their political debut, I'd call that conspiring.

When those terrorists and many other of their close friends, advisors and influences are self-proclaimed marxists and most of their political positions come right from the communist manifesto, I'd say that makes them marxists.

What part is not quite precise enough for you?

Life's too short....
5.6.2008 11:04pm
Dave N (mail):
BT,

You are right. My apologies to the Chicago Sun-Times.
5.6.2008 11:36pm
Deliberately anonymous (mail):
Let me tell y'all a little story... about a little white girl from the South Side of Chicago... 77th and Wolcott. 4 years old -- 1972... My folks had a month or two to pack up and start looking for a new home. They lost their brick home, with a dining room, and the neighborhood and neighbors they had known... The fancy sociologists call it "white flight". The people who were there saw it a bit differently. Property values cut in half, as the neighborhood changed overnight. Still happening in the south suburbs too. Stay, you say? Not then, not in reality. The blacks came, the realtors cooperated, the values absolutely plummeted and there was no realistic change of "holding out." The schools desegregated? Not in the fancy liberal areas.

Why are Michelle and Barack somehow insulated from competing, because of their skin color? Some of us have, and are still doing ok, even for the losses we have endured. We understand we're not owed anything, and plenty of the black professional class continues to amaze me with their mediocrity despite their credentials. It's like they've been conditioned to think the world is against them, that they are ... entitled. That a first term senator is somehow due the presidency, despite the fact that he's clearly not ready, not now.

His "activist" work is laughable. His career is pretty much built on politics, but no real accomplishments. If Dems are dumb enough to think this man, this black man, can lead a united country just because of his color, well I've got a nice brick home you can pick up for cheap because of past liberal guilt like Prof. Lindgren's.

Sorry. We're not all falling for it. Take away his race -- look at his record through Dr. King's colorblind dreamer eyes... your candidate falls woefully short at this point in time. America is not in the economic nor international place where it needs to be to take a gamble, a pretty long shot you must admit, that pretty words translate to hard solid "git er done" reality. You really want McCain? Run Obama and see what America gets... Sometimes a bit of history, a wallop of reality, and a cleansing of your spiritual soul aside from making others pay for your sins is necessary. Just like if you want to get ahead you have to make more than you spend, no matter your color. And sometimes it's better to live in a smaller house that you've paid for yourself, than it is to let somebody specially finance your mansion because you and yours are worth it, entitled to it, and have "suffered" at Princeton and Harvard just to get it...

Listen to FL, IN, PA, OH, TX, MI, folks... Work together to proceed incrementally, because the truth is nobody's due anything in this country. You get what you put in, no whining, no playing special cards. That always seems to catch up to one somehow...

In short, Michelle Obama here makes me laugh. And she should be ashamed for playing the child like that.
5.6.2008 11:42pm
Porkchop:
Dave N wrote:


Porkchop,

Jeri and Jack Ryan divorced in 1999--in California. The Chicago Sun-Times sued to get access to sealed portions of their divorce file--which led to the embarrassing revelations that tanked Ryan's campaign.

BTW, I am curious as to how the Sun-Times had standing to seek the unsealing of those records--but that is a different discussion for another day.


Okay, so then the Man was on Obama's side, right? The whole Borg was in on it.
5.6.2008 11:54pm
LM (mail):
Deliberately anonymous,

How did your family "lose" it's house?
5.7.2008 12:16am
abu hamza:
I'm with Crazy train: "JL shows his amazing ability to cut and paste from right wing hacks. Must be election time again."

re rev. Wright, he's a grown man. Obama's a grown man. Let each grown man speak for his own damn self and don't ask another grown man about what some ohter grown man thinks.

america is ready for a black president. it is becoming more and more clear that the american media is not, however.
5.7.2008 12:33am
Hoosier:
>>>Let each grown man speak for his own damn self and don't ask another grown man about what some ohter grown man thinks.

So Obama will not be looking for endorsements?
5.7.2008 12:52am
LM (mail):
Only from women and children.
5.7.2008 1:35am
Gaius Marius:
Let me tell y'all a little story... about a little white girl from the South Side of Chicago... 77th and Wolcott. 4 years old -- 1972... My folks had a month or two to pack up and start looking for a new home. They lost their brick home, with a dining room, and the neighborhood and neighbors they had known... The fancy sociologists call it "white flight". The people who were there saw it a bit differently. Property values cut in half, as the neighborhood changed overnight. Still happening in the south suburbs too. Stay, you say? Not then, not in reality. The blacks came, the realtors cooperated, the values absolutely plummeted and there was no realistic change of "holding out." The schools desegregated? Not in the fancy liberal areas.

I think the term is "blockbusting." It is well recognized that certain unscrupulous realtors during the late 1960s and early 1970s would move a Black family into a white or ethnic neighborhood and then convince the neighbors to move and list their homes for sale with these same realtors before more Blacks moved into the neighborhood. Hence, the "White flight" to the suburbs.
5.7.2008 2:15am
Vadept (mail):
I think Michelle has something of a point: This primary has gone on far too long, and if these were republicans, Obama would be the candidate already.

I find it ironic that "the man" in Michelle's narrative is, in fact, a woman, and that her problems stem from her beloved Democrat party.

I'm just glad we're electing Obama and not Michelle, though given that she seems to have convinced Obama to sit in Wright's church for 20 years...
5.7.2008 7:27am
JosephSlater (mail):
James Lindgren:

I wasn't accusing you of being outraged, I was referring to some of the comments. And I commend your reading Obama's book and otherwise looking for what he has actually done. I think that's a better clue than trying to parse things his wife said.

I will stick by my point, however, that few if any people who are genuinely undecided about McCain vs. Obama will make Michelle Obama's speech a deciding point, and that the people in this thread who actually are getting all upset about this would never have voted for Obama anyway.

Finally, again, I wonder how exercised any of the folks who are troubled by M.O.'s speech got when reports surfaced that Nancy Reagan was a serious believer in astrology and tried to influence Ron's scheduling, etc., in accordance with said beliefs.
5.7.2008 11:21am
Hoosier:
>>>Finally, again, I wonder how exercised any of the folks who are troubled by M.O.'s speech got when reports surfaced that Nancy Reagan was a serious believer in astrology and tried to influence Ron's scheduling, etc., in accordance with said beliefs.


Do you expect any of us to REMEMBER what we thought 25 years ago? I was 15. I'm sure I was focused on other women at the time. Younger women. Specifically, an incredibly cute girl who sat next to me in Latin class.
5.7.2008 11:41am
JosephSlater (mail):
Well, Hoosier, I guess I'm older than you. And I remember at the time thinking that Nancy Reagan's belief in and reliance on astrolgoy was weird and a bit disturbing. But I'm not pretending that was the reason I didn't support Reagan.

And since I'm chattin' with you, re your line above:

It's disturbing to see how Obama supporters respond when you criticize the Dear Leader.

The North Korean dictator reference seems a bit beneath your normally high standards of posting. But more substantively, I'll just say that it's not Obama supporters who, for several years now, have attempted to dismiss and ignore criticism of one of the least popular presidents ever as a product of some imaginary "derangement syndrome."
5.7.2008 12:29pm