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February 20, 2008
Is Barack fighting against Michelle's cynicism? (updated)
Obama has been very clear that he is fighting against cynicism in his Presidential campaign. A year ago at the DNC Winter Meeting, Obama said that in the upcoming campaign cynicism would be as big a rival Republicans.
He reworked that same theme into a speech at an AIPAC conference a few weeks later, elevating cynicism to be an enemy equal to that of terrorists.
Having spent a fair amount of time looking at Obama and cynicism (see here, here, here, here, here and here), I noticed a couple of stories that stand out when paired together.
Michelle Obama recently gave a speech at UCLA carrying forward her husband’s message of ending cynicism:
[Barack Obama] is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.
On top of this we add the story of the recent pronouncement by Michelle Obama that she is proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.
Seeking to blunt any criticism of his wife’s comments, Obama has sought to put that quote into a more favorable context:
"What she meant was, this is the first time that she's been proud of the politics of America," [Obama] said. "Because she's pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason, and she's not alone. But she has seen large numbers of people get involved in the process, and she's encouraged."
The wife of the campaigner-in-chief to eradicate cynicism is herself cynical. Is she part of the problem?
Update -- Mark Roth adds:
I think Mr. Dobbs missed something from Obama's quote:
These were Obama's words. Therefore when he states "and with good reason," he is expressing his agreement with her. When he states "and she's not alone" he is expressly including himself.
Rather than explain away or distance himself from the cynicism Obama is joining his wife in hers.
If being married to Obama is not sufficient for someone to shed her cynicism -- then how is having him as a President going to cause me to shed mine, no matter how forcefully he demand that I do?