Republican First Ladies are all saints, and Democratic ones are all cast iron bitches, apparently. Two stories indicate that 2012 as an election year means Michelle Obama is fair game. First, we get one step closer to the n-word…
Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal on Thursday apologized for an email that made fun of first lady Michelle Obama’s hair style and mockingly called her “Mrs. YoMama.”
The emails featured pictures comparing Mrs. Obama to the Grinch, a Dr. Seuss character, because of their similarly wind-blown hair.
“Sorry, just had to forward this latest holiday message,” O’Neal reportedly wrote in the email he shared with fellow Republican lawmakers. “I’ve had worse hair days, but this is pretty funny.”
According to The Lawrence Journal World, O’Neal forwarded from his personal computer the email that said, “I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing Mrs. YoMama a wonderful, long Hawaii Christmas vacation – at our expense, of course.”
Boy, I remember all the horribly racist emails about Laura Bush. Oh wait, never happened. And they’ll keep doing it and apologizing only when they get busted as long as they can keep getting away with it.
But the story that shows that the GOP absolutely knows that President Obama and his wife are likeable people? Michelle and Barack getting the Clinton Second Term treatment a year early with a new “White House insider” book by Jodi Kantor.
The dramatics that surrounded the passage of health care reform — culminating in Emanuel’s near-resignation — reflect the type of struggles that routinely pitted Emanuel against the first lady during the first two years of the Obama administration. The two jockeyed for influence over the president even before he formally took office.
Kantor, who interviewed for the book 33 White House staffers (many on several occasions) but not the president or the first lady, reports that Michelle Obama had “doubts” about the choice of Emanuel as chief of staff. Emanuel, in turn, had been opposed to bringing Valerie Jarrett, the Obamas’ longtime mentor, into the White House as a senior adviser.
Once the administration began, the frictions only escalated. Emanuel rejected an effort on the part of Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, Jackie Norris, to be part of his 7:30 a.m. staff meeting. The administration did not outfit her with a speechwriter for some time. And the first lady’s office grew so isolated from the rest of the presidential orbit that aides there began, as Kantor writes, “referring to the East Wing as ‘Guam’ — pleasant but powerless.”
Sam Stein, who really ought to know better, gleefully buys the portrayal of the First Lady as pretty much every awful stereotype ever associated with successful black women: mean-spirited, arrogant, overly controlling, petty and disdainful of her “betters”. Michelle Obama is an asset to the President and to the country, and just a few days into 2012 it seems the plan is to completely trash her in an effort to sink her husband.
Where have we heard this story before?
It just gobsmacks me to see that as much as folks like Stein complain that Democrats aren’t given a fair shake in the Village media (and they aren’t most of the time) we have Stein guilty of breathlessly pushing this gossipy “Michelle Obama’s really an awful person” nonsense. I thought the Manic Progressive crew wanted Rahm out of the White House anyway. Instead, we see that Michelle’s a insecure screamer and the return of The Democrat In Charge Is An Emasculated Wuss from that “bastion of liberalism”, FDL.
And I shake my head as I realize there’s now a concerted effort at the top to lower Michelle Obama’s likeability ratings as low as possible because she is such an amazing asset to the President. Yes, official Washington hated Hillary Clinton when she was in the White House. But they absolutely despise even the thought of an accomplished PoC in the position.
HuffPo is definitely pushing the notion that all that matters is “Democrats in Disarray!” with the First Lady vs. Rahm (and so will the Breitbart types on the right). Kantor’s NY Times excerpt on the other hand makes it seem like Michelle was the only one who knew that Rahmbo was a purely political creature and she was the brave resistance, protecting her husband.
Both views miss the point. The issue here is that Kantor’s book and the manufactured political spectacle it creates undermines the First Lady’s role in the White House only when a Democrat is in it. The greater point is that this is permissible way to treat Michelle Obama (and yes, Hillary Clinton as well) when Laura and Barbara Bush and Nancy Reagan were seen as heroines. Keeping kids off drugs was apolitical common sense when Nancy Reagan championed it, Laura Bush, librarian, wanted to improve child literacy rates, a truly noble cause. Getting kids to eat right makes Michelle Obama the most horrible nanny state harridan on Earth who gets booed at NASCAR events. There’s a component to the attacks on the First Lady that exceed even the hell Hillary Clinton was put through, and it’s that I’m objecting to, specifically the Village playing along like that component doesn’t exist.
2012 is going to be an unremittingly slimy year for the Obamas. And the worst part is I truly believe part of the reason this is being done is to get Hillary 2012 folks off the hook. It’s not racism if it happened to the Clintons too, you know. Patriotism really is the last resort of a scoundrel, and that goes for the asshats in both parties.
And as the top of the post recounts, what Michelle Obama is going through is much worse. I know how difficult it can be to be taken seriously as an intelligent PoC in America that breaks a number of stereotypes on a daily basis. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to have gender bullshit thrown in on top of all that. Then again, judging from the crazy that’s happened around here in the last week plus, I’m getting a very clear picture as to what all that entails.
And as for Cole’s opinion that the NY times excerpt isn’t a hit piece, that’s again not the point. The point is that the notion that a strong, intelligent woman advising her husband is “controversial partisan politics” in the first place. The point is that Kantor’s book can easily be cherry-picked to get out of it what you want to get out of it, hagiography or damnation. And really, the primary issue is that nobody seems to think that Michelle Obama shouldn’t be subjected to the Village Circus as First Lady, whereas it’s been wildly different before.
We should be asking ourselves why we’re being asked to think about why anything the Obamas do is somehow “unprecedented” or “never been done before” and always in a negative connotation, rather than focusing on the positive “unprecedented” things they have accomplished. Do I think it’s a hit piece? Cherry-picked as it is, it’s still not flattering. The entire book appears to be just trying to pick a fight and sell copy, like most political books.
That should be obvious.