Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle Obama for First Lady

Anybody else watch Michelle Obama's speech last night at the Democratic National Convention?

This is part one of her speech, which doesn't actually start until about four minutes, thirty seconds into the video. Part two and three.

Personally, I was seriously impressed. She spoke about her life, her husband's life, and the American Dream. She spoke about keeping your word, about honor and integrity, about dreams and hope, and about love of country. She spoke of humble beginnings and unlimited horizons. Every single thing she said I agree with wholeheartedly. I thought it was an excellent speech, an inspiring speech, an amazing speech - and should she become the First Lady, I think she'll do more than just a credible job, I think she'll be an outstanding First Lady. She's articulate, passionate, supremely well spoken, confident, outspoken, idealistic, and obviously thoughtfully intelligent. And she's deeply in love with her husband - does that matter? I think it does, at least to me.

It is apparent to me, and has been for some time, that many of the things said about her are patently false. Last night's speech just cemented that opinion in my mind.

This morning the pundits are taking her speech apart word by word, criticizing everything from her Princeton education to her sincerity to her choice of apparel and hairstyle.  Predictable, and no less nauseating for being predictable.  I read somewhere this morning, a comment from some vitriolic idiot who said in essence, "So what? She's just parroting the words some speech writer wrote for her." Bullshit. Obvious bullshit. Listen to her words, watch her speak, watch her eyes. Her eyes are on America, on the crowd, not on some teleprompter. I've given a lot of speeches in my time. I've stood in front of a lot of people and have spoken passionately and from the heart.  And I know it when I see it. Those are her words, not some speechwriter's, and she believes every one of them. True sincerity, you cannot fake that. You cannot, not in front of me anyway.

I've seen a dozen reports this morning regarding her tip of the hat to Hillary Clinton. The most ridiculous being Fox News (of course. Tediously, predictably, of course) who sneeringly questioned her sincerity with regards to Clinton's achievements and iconic status.  CNN went so far as to hire a so-called "body language expert" to analyze Michelle Obama's stance, posture, and gestures during that portion of the speech - just to determine if Mrs Obama was actually, you know, sincere in her acknowledgement of Clinton.  The expert determined that she was "ambivalent."  


Again, listen to her words, watch her talk - she's not blowing smoke up Clinton's tailored pantsuit with empty, politically expedient flattery. She was sincerely acknowledging Clinton's achievement - Hillary Clinton came closer to the Presidency than any woman before her, and her accomplishment paved the way for those woman who will follow the trail Clinton blazed, straight into the Oval Office - maybe one of those women will be Malia or Natasha Obama.  Michelle Obama can, and did, acknowledge that fact without reservation. 

Was it a calculated olive branch to Clinton's supporters? Sure, probably.


Welcome to politics. Was is disingenuous? No. No. No. Again, listen to her words, she spoke about unity, about all Americans standing together. All Americans. And those aren't empty words, she demonstrated her commitment to unity by reaching out, right there in Denver, to one of her husband's most bitter rivals.  Far from insincerity, I take this as a sign of the Obamas' sincere commitment to represent all Americans, to reach across the aisle, to unify instead of divide.

Insincerity? No, wrong word.

It's called class, and grace, and style.


I look forward to hearing Cindy McCain speak at the GOP Convention. I'm sure it'll be equally impressive.



  1. Thank you, Jim.

    Whenever I hear W. or his wife speak, it is always so patently obvious that they are reading from a script. Not so with Michelle Obama. She's the real deal, a woman I am proud to support, along with her husband.

    And shut up, Fox News.

  2. I don't think Cindy will be speaking at the RNC. I think she's in Georgia helping out with her humanitarian organization. I guess she felt a need or something.

  3. I look forward to hearing Cindy McCain speak at the GOP Convention. I'm sure it'll be equally impressive.



  4. I don't know--Cindy McCain might be giving the performance at the GOP convention that she had prepared for the Miss Buffalo Chip competition.


  5. I don't actually have anything against Cindy McCain--in fact I liked the fact she said, "I'm not running for president, why do you need to see my tax records?"

    However, I think she's creepy looking. More creepy than Nancy Reagan even.

  6. I personally don't have anything against Cindy McCain either. I don't particularly like her, I don't particularly dislike her. Truthfully, I don't know her. Personally, I don't have anything against John McCain either. He seems to me to be an honorable, passionate, formidable guy. I think he could be an excellent President and leader. I have certain concerns about many of his positions, but given a choice between him and the current jackass, I'd take McCain. Given a choice between McCain and the shifty dipshit the Dems fielded in the last election - I'd take McCain.

    His politics simply aren't mine however.

    I don't hold that against him, but I'm not voting for him.

  7. And speaking of voting - I'm wearing my "I voted" sticker right now, since I just got back from voting in the local state elections. State Senate and House, and 4 ballot initiatives.

    Straight democrat and yes on all 4, just in case you were wondering.

  8. But what were the ballot initiatives?

    Anything fun?

    Firehouses? Schools? Roads?

  9. Roads and schools?

    No, it's Alaska.

    Mining, Hunting, gambling, and politics.

  10. I too was impressed w/ Michelle. Class, grace, & passion all the way. Her sincerity shone through - anyone saying it was fake is just looking for things to find fault.
    I have been involved locally w/ the Obama campaign since Feb. Through that work, I know people who first met both Michelle & Barack back in the winter of 2007 when they were first starting to drum up support for his candidacy. All of them say that both Michelle & Barack are very sincere, & when you are speaking to them, they are obviously listening to you, paying attention to what you're saying. They're very real.
    I hope & pray that this country can overcome the racism that is so prevalent, & vote based on the man, not his color.

  11. Well, the first two at least are common here.

    Sunday hunting is a perennial one in many southern counties.

  12. I finally had a chance to listen to it and while I couldn't watch her eyes, I could hear the sincerity in her voice. When you are harnessing strong emotions like loyalty, love, and grief, you can't keep your voice dry and impersonal. She really felt every word.
    Bravo, Michelle. You would make an awesome first lady!

  13. If you were so impressed with her, why not say she'd make a great president?

    Evidently, there is a much longer way to go than Michelle Obama thinks.

  14. Well, she wasn't applying for the job of President, Sheila.

    I think she's a terrific person, but she's never been in government service in any capacity. Her husband is a Senator, and while some argue that he doesn't have enough experience, especially in the areas of Commander in Chief, Michelle has none. Should she get that experience, say the way Hillary Clinton did as a US Senator, I'd be more than willing to consider her application.

    And I think the role of First Lady (or First Husband as the case may be) is a very important role. Sure it's a figurehead, but it's a figurehead that represents the United States - and one that can and often has made a hell of a difference, remember Dolly Madison?

    Gender, Sheila, has absolutely nothing to do with my opinion, which is what I gather you were getting at here.

  15. Sheila, I actually considered saying she'd make a great president, but then took a second look at what I was basing that comment on. I made a similar assessment as Jim did above and revised it to what I know she'd be good as. Truth be told, what I like best about her is that she doesn't sound like a politician -- and the president, woman or man, has to be a politician.

    Just 'cause you like someone doesn't make them presidential material.

  16. I was looking at her background and education. Granted, she hasn't the political aspirations or background that her hubbie does.

    I was just making the point that people would not take her seriously, despite her education, her great speaking skills, and her diplomatic skills -- all of which would be useful in a presidential candidate.

    I was not suggesting she go there (the presidency) as she doesn' t seem to have aspirations.

    I wasn't attacking Jim particularly, just attempting to make the point that most people in the USA are not ready to have a woman for president.

    I'll shut up now and go back to lurking for a while.

  17. Sheila, I don't necessarily disagree with your last observation - that the country is not ready for a woman president. However, I don't necessarily agree either.

    I was in the Navy before, during, and after the infamous Tailhook incident. Prior to Tailhook, women were second class citizens in the Navy, and the military in general. Afterward, things changed. Big time. Women were put onto ships as regular combat crew, women were assigned to command ships, women became combat pilots - and the wailing and crying from the men was unbelievable. "They'll ruin the military." "They can't stand up to combat." Even "The tampons will clog up the ship's CHT system, it'll cost billions to change shipboard systems." I heard it all. You know what? It didn't happen. Female sailors, and there's at least one who hangs around here, were every bit as tough, smart, mean, capable, and etc as their male counter parts. A year or two down the line and nobody could conceive of going back to the old way. Nowadays, there's no Sailor who can even remember when women weren't equal partners, even though it really wasn't that long ago.

    And that's how I think it will be with a woman President. Once it happens, everybody will wonder what all the hoopla was about.

    I'll tell you something: one way or another, this election is going to change things: Either we're going to have the first African American president, or the first female Vice President. Either way, we win something.

    And please, keep commenting. Your first comment made me realize that from a certain perspective my post could have been interpreted as subtle and unconscious sexism. It wasn't, for the reasons I stated above, but I can see how it could be interpreted that way. So, thanks, Sheila, I appreciate it the difference in viewpoint.


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