Friday, April 3, 2009


Anyone see that talk she gave at the girls' school in France yesterday?

It had me all teary eyed (as it did her).

The thing I love most about Obama and his wife is their honesty. It's seemed all my life like politicians speak a different language, and their spouses too.

There's a kind of diplomacy or tact that I understand most public figures need to keep in mind—when I'm asked to speak on or contribute some writing about topics that involve real people and their experiences, I have to calculate if anything I say or write will hurt anyone. so I understand this. [My old friend Hubert Selby Jr. used to say "Honesty without love is attack."]

But aside from being conscious of not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings, there's another layer of language padding that surrounds most statements from politicians and their spouses that compounds the distance and differences between us and them, and resonates with phoniness, or at least unreality.

This isn't true most of the time when Obama speaks. And none of the time when Michelle does.

She not only seems to speak spontaneously from her heart (even with notes) but to be aware of the reality of her unprecedented position on the world stage. She has to be the tallest, most athletic, most self-made woman ever on the world political stage. And she definitely is the darkest, at least from any developed country.

But she transcends the differences between her and her predecessors as well as between her and those of us who aren't tall, athletic, independent dark-skinned women, with the most disarming honesty I've ever heard from a public figure, at least among our country's political elite.

How unbelievably refreshing. Or actually, finally, believable. I hope she's setting a standard that we will all (including the media) hold future politicians and their spouses to.


JIm said...

Obama Cap and Trade tax and anti democracy defeats on the horizon???

The 41 Senate Republicans were joined by 26 Democrats to require 60 votes to pass Cap and Trade tax increase on everyone. The Card Check act (No More Secret Ballot) was also forced into requiring a 60vote margin in order to pass. It seems that Blue Dog Democrats are awakening to the dangers of Obamanomics.

RJ Eskow said...

Yeah, Michael, I agree. Even an old cynic like me was very moved.

JIm said...

Obama's Mea Coupa Tour

America will reform its arrogant ways said the boy president. We will no longer act unilaterally, inferring that the ten or eleven nations that acted with the US in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worthy to be acknowledged as working in concert. Or that Europe would be free without great cost of US treasure and lives over the last 90 years. Did the president receive any thing like European Stimulus funds or troops for Afghanistan? No. Dictators and rogue nations and parties need not fear the boy president. As if to punctuate that lack of fear the North Koreans over flew Japan with a missile. I am sure a strong US letter of reproach will follow.

Hail to the Chief.

Lally said...

True maturity can be a great shock to the truly immature who are used to expressing themselves like children and adolescents and whose leaders set that example for them as well. How refreshing to have a truly mature, grown up president at last. Thank you God.

JIm said...

I guess it is not surprising that folks on this blog have diametrically opposed views on Obama's performance.

Partisan Gap in Obama Job Approval Widest in Modern Era
April 2, 2009

From: To:

For all of his hopes about bipartisanship, Barack Obama has the most polarized early job approval ratings of any president in the past four decades. The 61-point partisan gap in opinions about Obama's job performance is the result of a combination of high Democratic ratings for the president -- 88% job approval among Democrats -- and relatively low approval ratings among Republicans (27%).

By comparison, there was a somewhat smaller 51-point partisan gap in views of George W. Bush's job performance in April 2001, a few months into his first term. At that time, Republican enthusiasm for Bush was comparable to how Democrats feel about Obama today, but there was substantially less criticism from members of the opposition party. Among Democrats, 36% approved of Bush's job performance in April 2001; that compares with a 27% job approval rating for Obama among R

JIm said...

Obama's Words in Bagdagh-
He seems to be embracing George W's strategy. Oh well, better late than never. I wonder if Code Pink will give him a hard time.

"This is going to be a critical period, these next 18 months," Obama said, referring to the Aug 2010 deadline for the withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraq.
"You will be critical in terms of us being able to make sure Iraq is stable, that it is not a safe haven for terrorists, and we can start bringing our folks home," Obama told troops at Camp Victory, the sprawling U.S. military base on the outskirts of Baghdad."