Wifely Wisdom of Michelle Obama

A year from today, Americans vote for a president again.

Three years after the last ballot, even ardent Democrats and entranced Independents no longer have stars in their eyes. With no time for a honeymoon back then, how can voters be enthusiastic about renewing their vows with Barack Obama?

For some, “consider the alternative” may be answer enough, but in fairness to the President—-and ourselves—-he deserves better than that.

Campaigning back in 2007, Michelle Obama talked about her husband’s domestic faults (not picking up his socks or putting butter back in the refrigerator) and offered a philosophical reason for doing so:

“Barack is very much human. So let’s not deify him, because what we do is we deify, and then we’re ready to chop it down. People have notions of what a wife’s role should be in this process, and it’s been a traditional one of blind adoration. My model is a little different–I think most real marriages are.”

And so, we know now, are political unions, particularly in hard times when angry opponents keep pounding on the door, doing nothing to help and turning off the fire hoses as the neighborhood burns down.

If his wife worried about deifying him, who could have foreseen so much effort to demonize Barack Obama, no matter what he does or fails to do? Who can parse the hidden racism and the bitterness of an over-entitled generation of aging Baby Boomers against his failure to perform miracles in a global meltdown?

American should choose Obama again, not because he has been a savior but a decent, talented, serious man whose mistakes pale against the kind of rabid obstruction unknown in my lifetime under 13 presidents with the privilege of seeing most of them up close as a journalist.

As a teenager during the Great Depression, I witnessed widespread support for FDR. But there were also newspapers owned by Hearst (the Rupert Murdoch of his time) and, in the New Yorker and elsewhere, cartoons of bankers in overstuffed chairs, fulminating against the President, but no one had to Occupy Wall Street to tell the majority of Americans how to feel about them.

Now, in a 24/7 information era, Tea Party venom is stronger and more easily spread, but the most striking change in American attitudes, after almost a century of better education and a multiplication of media, is the flood of unreason and downright stupidity now besieging an American President.

Those who hesitate to renew their vows with Barack Obama will want to think hard…

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Author: ROBERT STEIN

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19 Comments

  1. “Barack is very much human. So let’s not deify him, because what we do is we deify, and then we’re ready to chop it down”

    Okay I’m ready to go back to pre-Limbaugh political lethargy now. Back to the days when Democrats and Republicans could actually smile at one another without clicking the safety off the family howitzer.

    Thing is Bush and his once Republican majority may have done so much economic damage that American prosperity is irretrievable.

  2. If his wife worried about deifying him, who could have foreseen so much effort to demonize Barack Obama, no matter what he does or fails to do?

    A lot of people. Anybody who realized Obama was minimally qualified and wasn’t up to the job. Anyone who recognized the incredible hype and realized no one could ever live up to the expectations. Anyone who saw the demonization of Bush and realized many would retaliate by treating Obama similarly. Anybody who realized the media loves to build people up and then knock them down.

    Where were the voices of caution when Obama supporters were fainting in the aisles, exclaiming they wouldn’t have to worry about their house payments if Obama was elected, and giving no more reasons to vote for him but Hope and Change? Everyone ignored Michelle’s cautions and deified him anyway. Obama was elected on a wave of wild hype and I have little sympathy that he has had to suffer the fallout.

    What is telling is that Mr. Stein asserts early in the essay that Obama deserves better than being portrayed as “better than the alternative”, then ends the essay saying that Obama’s better than the alternative.

  3. President Obama is the most QUALIFIED President since John F Kennedy and there were damn few in between that could even come up to his shoe laces. None being Republican, I’m sorry to say.

    The Republican Party has morphed into some weird anti-establishment anti-people social Darwinist hate group.

    Only one Republican stands out as a model of compromise and that is Herman Cain.

    Give pizza a chance.

  4. I agree 100% with “DaGoat” and I’m guilty myself, but Obama ran on nothing but people’s hopes and dreams, especially African Americans and other minorities, also we have to be honest with ourselves completely, white Americans themselves are fed up with the status quo of who’s been running the country since 1776, to me it was a very sincere, yet desperate way of sending a strong message “It ‘s time for a serious change” everywhere! I would rather suffer seriously, and my family than put this weak ass-hole back in office!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Yanno considering the situation Obama was thrust into I think he’s done a pretty good job. Name a president other than FDR who was handed a bigger turd sandwich when he took office? Obama hasn’t made any major mistakes, he hasn’t fixed a number of things. He has done well internationally and domestically he’s been blocked at every possible turn by a GOP that’s been hellbent on making him look incompetent. I’d be a lot more willing to believe Obama sucks if the GOP had given him a little rope to hang himself with instead of blocking everything than screaming about how Obama can’t get anything done.

    Personally, I think its obvious the GOP wanted to hobble him and then blame him. I think it was a crappy thing to do to this nation and I don’t think we should be gullible enough to reward such a craven strategy.

  6. Mr. Stein appears to be doing some revival-deifying, part of the early Obama campaign, if it’s not just ancient out-of-touch liberal stuff.

  7. Telling everyone what to eat while not seizing and discarding her husband’s smokes?

  8. DaGoat expresses my feeling very well.

    Obama made promises that are unfulfilled. Obama makes speeches instead of getting behind closed doors and working out differences a la Bill Clinton. He did nothing as a state rep in Illinois expect miss votes; he did nothing in the Senate except miss or refrain from voing. He did not have the expertise to be POTUS. He let people with questionable abilites advise and guide him because he does not have the experience to get into the deep water without floaties.

    There is no doubt in my mind that the Repub’s have blocked him every step of the way this past year, but his first two years in office, his party controlled everything and he chose to spend most of that time shoving his health plan down our throats.

    I will not vote for Perry, Bachmann, Santorum, Cain, or anyone else the far right supports, but I won’t vote for Obama either. I would vote for Hillary…and I promise you this is the first time in my life you will have ever heard me say this.

  9. I have few doubts that in 2016 you’ll have an opportunity to do just that John, regardless of who wins in 2012.

  10. And John you say that Obama had no experience or qualifications but I will tell you what made me support him. He has the ability to see consequences of rash action. This is a quote from a speech of his in 2002.

    “Now let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

    He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

    But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

    I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the middle east, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

    I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.”

    You can say he was not qualified, and by his resume he was not. But the fact he was able to make that call in 2002 convinced me he knows how to assess a situation. His performance in foreign affairs since he has taken office has only strengthened my belief in that. He has failed to comply with many of his campaign promises and there is much he could do better. But seriously, I am so tired of so many of the GOP leadership that take our might as an assumption we can just be a bull in a china shop, treat every problem as a nail because we have the biggest hammer, that I am glad there is still someone out there who can wield our might with a bit of finesse and isn’t worried about looking like Clint Eastwood all the time. I have yet to see that in any GOP candidate for the office, which is sad because the GOP could really use another HW Bush.

  11. Insofar as the Obama campaign of 2008 (and into 2009-2010) is concerned, which also is related to the current 2016 campaign, don’t forget that to the target, that is, liberal audience, which means they are driven by emotion rather than reason, all that matters, after all, is Feeling Good.

    Still, I cannot believe that Obama already is resuming that kind of campaign. Surely, while there still are the stupid, there cannot be as many ignorant liberal voters this time than in the past, can there? The real Hope is that they aren’t ignorant any more (many on the far left aren’t ignorant of what they believe constitutes betrayal or failure by Obama), but just that their support of Obama is due to detesting the Republicans (which is no surprise outside liberal circles, either).

  12. Slamfu…one senator taking on the opposition like Obama did in 2002 is not unusual. He was not the only Dem saying a war against Iraq was stupid. It was, if I remember, the party line and was not originated nor initiated by Obama.

    His record of government service is primarily missed votes and “no votes”. In my estimation, it was the backlash to Repub actions in the middle east, his oratorical skills, and a bumbling, stumbling Repub ticket that won him the presidency. Obama was just in the right place at the right time.

  13. slamfu, not to mention that Obama has not governed like that guy in 2002. He escalated the war in Afghanistan and joined a conflict against Libya, a country that posed no imminent or direct threat to the US.

  14. I doesn’t require any special genius to realize that Obama is (easily) the lesser of evils here (a low standard yes, but the one we have to work with at the moment) All it requires is a willingness to reflect objectively over the past dozen years – with tribal reflexes disabled. Needless to say, many people are as capable of doing that as my dog is of quoting Yeats, hence the regular appearance of absurd comments on political blogs.

  15. I don’t want to look back JSpencer…I want to look forward. The past two presidents have proven inept and flawed. Why do we spend so much time looking back? We should only be looking back to learn from our mistakes; not to place blame or citicize. It is a waste of time.

  16. I bled for Obama in the last election, I won’t bleed for his ass this time. Understand, the government has taught us for so many ages that we “should vote”, “must vote”,and “will vote” because “WE” are a democracy, and this nation will not survive without the leadership of its political leaders.

    This country was founded on protest,rebellion, “acts of treason” against the tyrants, but more than anything they were willing to suffer and die than live under the sovereign’s rule. So lets face it…rather than suffer with anarchy, rebellion, chaos, extreme shock and awe, percutions and death, (if this is what we’re so afraid of happening) we are willing to keep on puting the same old “lesser of two evils” in power and spend the rest of his or her term debating (whining and bitching) about them…but they know that they’ve got us!!! They know that there’s not enough people strong enough, and willing enough to refuse to (vote) put them in power, “because we need them soooooooo desperately”.
    Ten 10,000,000 million people refusing to go the booths this election, now that’s the message we need to get started. I say send a message Don’t Put Them In Power!

  17. I feel your pain, AW. If you want the guy you help elect to listen to you and react to your wants and not those of the Big’s, we have to get laws passed to keep votes from being bought. Want something protest and make a stink about? This is going to be the next major march on D.C.

  18. I saw this, earlier.

    His record of government service is primarily missed votes and “no votes”.

    I’m surprised more office holders haven’t caught on to this: just as with sealing various prior records, doing this reduces the number and kinds of votes that political opponents can exploit.

  19. @sentry

    I’m surprised more office holders haven’t caught on to this: just as with sealing various prior records, doing this reduces the number and kinds of votes that political opponents can exploit.

    Agreed, and this is similar to what judges with Supreme Court aspirations seem to do as well – take no public positions that can come back and bite you later. Obama’s career until 2008 was largely one long campaign, the exception being his anti-war statements which although forceful turned out later to be hollow.

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