Michelle Obama: In the eye of the storm

Republicans have targeted Michelle Obama as a weak link in Barack Obama

“They loved to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton,” said Robin Abcarian in the Los Angeles Times. “They loved to hate Teresa Heinz Kerry.” And now, with similar passion, Republicans are learning to hate Michelle Obama. With Barack Obama’s emergence as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, the Right has zeroed in on his wife as a weak link in his uplifting campaign of hope. Michelle, critics say, is an Angry Black Woman who resents white people, hates America, and may even have terrorist sympathies. You wouldn’t believe some of the invective, said Maureen Dowd in The New York Times. Fox News anchor E.D. Hill has called Michelle’s playful fist bump with Barack a “terrorist fist jab.” Not to be outdone, Rush Limbaugh and other talk-show conservatives recycled an Internet rumor that Michelle once denounced “whitey” from her church’s pulpit. The rumor is untrue, but truth is beside the point. With Hillary Clinton gone, conservatives have started a new “sulfurous national game of ‘Kill the witch,’” and Michelle is now their target.

She’s fair game, said Jeff Jacoby in The Boston Globe. An undeniably smart and driven woman, Michelle is her husband’s “closest confidante and advisor,” and she’s traveling around the country to campaign for him. That makes her opinions very relevant. On the stump, she portrays America as a bleak and mean-spirited place. “Our souls are broken,” she says. “We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day.” Because of her husband’s candidacy, she says, “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country.” This woman sure can “whine,” said Peter Schweizer in National Review Online. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law School, Michelle Obama has had a successful career in the law and hospital management and, with her husband, has “cleared half a million a year.” Still, she complains about the cost of piano lessons and summer camp for her kids and paying off her student loans. It takes talent—and gall—to be both an elitist and a victim, but Michelle has pulled it off.

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