Tuesday, August 26, 2008

These Are Words That Go Together Well

Michelle Obama: America-hating secret Muslim terrorist who has it in for whitey? Or apple pie mom?

It's sad that this is even an issue but her speech last night was about convincing a goodly chunk of our nation who may believe that she is the former that she is really the latter. Or at least that she falls a bit closer to that end of the spectrum than previously believed.

The speech itself? Nothing special. Just the usual hard-working, close-knit family, American Dream narrative. My dad worked hard through adversity, my mom was our support after he was gone, my brother and I watched TV, my husband loves his kids and dammit, so do I.

As a potential First Lady, not as anyone who would have any actual responsibility in an Obama administration, there's not much she could or should have said about policy. Her job was to send one message: I am not scary.

Well, she did that, all right. And man, if anyone watched her speak and still thinks she's scary, there wasn't much hope for them anyway. There is a certain faction, either racist or pathologically conservative (or both!), who will not support these people under any circumstances. This was not for them. But for the rest, if you thought Mrs. O was scary before, I'm not sure how you could honestly still think that.

She was warm, bright, intelligent and charming. She looked terrific and she delivered the speech not like a pro but like someone who meant it. (A subtle and possibly meaningless difference.) She told Middle America that she was one of them. And for crying out loud, she is. You can't get much more like the Republican ideal than her. Working-class background, pulled up by bootstraps, worked to go farther than parents, married, monogamous, kids, took hubbie's name, stumps for him... What more do you want? If you're still looking for something else, you're not gonna get it.

She'll never be white, people.

And those kids! Adorable! Serious points there. No, this wasn't about politics in the normal sense. It was about optics. And dammit if she didn't knock this one out of the park.

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