Senator Obama says the criticism of his wife is “infuriating.” Over the weekend the Washington Post ran the 700th and 701st article deploring the existence of the critics without bothering to listen to them.
During the Democratic presidential primaries, Mrs. Obama said that her husband's so-far successful run for the presidency was the first time as an adult that she felt proud of her country. She said that America is "just downright mean." She said that her husband is "never" going to let us go back to our apathetic and ignorant lives. She complained about having to spend "$10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth" (she said this in a county where the median income, as of 2004, was $37,000). She said that the Obamas are asking young people not to go into corporate America.
Her defenders almost never mention those last two comments, since they don't play into the storyline they're selling: that Mrs. Obama is being criticized because she is an outspoken black woman.
Given the comments she has made, it would be remarkable if people weren't criticizing her. Her combination of bitterness, ingratitude, anti-Americanism, leftism, and, yes, elitism rubs a lot of people the wrong way. (Her hostility to men, as evidenced in this 2004 interview, is unpleasant, too.)
What's your take?
UPDATE: Following the suggestion of a colleague at the Post, I have edited the above to indicate when Mrs. Obama made these statements. This colleague also points out that the Post articles I mentioned above were directed more at The New Yorker's infamous cover than at Mrs. Obama's conservative critics. That's a fair point. But since that cover cartoon was intended as a commentary on the conservative critics, and the Post articles used it to talk about public perceptions of Mrs. Obama and black women generally, it would have been nice if actual conservatives' perspectives had been engaged.
If actual conservatives still existed, they certainly wouldn't be attacking Michelle Obama, now would they? The "actual conservatives" who were around twenty years ago had some fucking decency, at least, and some intellectual honesty.
Ponnuru's "update" was actually someone biting his head off for being a dishonest hack--he knew the smears he wanted to perpetrate through this medium and he launched them without context or shame. As parents, my wife and I have costs for daycare, dance lessons, field trips and other activities for our children. We base what we pay on what we make. If we were Senator and lawyer, we'd probably pay exactly what the Obamas pay because, umm, that's what you do. And I will guaran-fucking-tee you that neither the Obamas nor us, nor the vast majority of Americans, runs up $500,000 in a month on the American Express card.
This is how the right wing is going to mount their litany of smears and attacks on Michelle Obama--by staying just under the radar to use "forums" and "talk" and "The Corner" so that they can keep their hands clean. It's dishonest and nasty, and no one should just roll over and take it. Ponnuru is a dishonest smear merchant who will use whatever means he can grasp in order to smear Michelle Obama.