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A new Michelle Obama?
Can an outspoken political spouse resist the pressure to become a Stepford wife?
M

ichelle Obama is “fearless,” said Dahlia Lithwick in Slate. In her speech at the Democratic convention Monday night, she could have talked about law and politics and reminded everybody about her Harvard Law degree, but she chose to talk about family. Everyone else in the campaign is “terrified” about sounding “sappy,” but the candidate’s wife had the courage to say that “hope” and “change” are “still cool.”

The “vicious caricature” of Michelle Obama as an America-hating radical sure looks silly now, said Kirsten Powers in the New York Post. The goal of such attacks is “to turn smart, opinionated wives into political eunuchs who live in fear of ‘scaring’ voters.” Some supporters worry the vitriol has put Michelle Obama on the “road to Stepford Wifedom,“ but her speech showed she has held onto “at least her warmth” even if her “feistiness” is on ice.

“I miss the old Michelle,” said Katherine Marsh in The New Republic, “and I think a lot of other women do, too.” We don’t admire the “scripted Stepford wife.” We want to see “the sassy better half who reminded us that while Barack was the answer, he was also stinky in the morning and forgot to put the butter away.”

There’s a reason for the minting of this new Mrs. Obama, said Byron York in National Review Online. The old one used her speeches to describe America as a “dark and ugly place,” and the complaints didn’t go over well in polls. So her job in Denver was to “rehabilitate herself” by setting aside all the anger and embracing “a wholesome, country-loving, American-Dream-living image.”

Then mission accomplished, said Ezra Klein in an American Prospect blog. Michelle Obama’s speech was “beautifully delivered” and “smartly crafted.” Her tone was “soft and steady” and carried not a hint of aggression. She knocked it out of the park.

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