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A Woman of Substance


An article in the Washington Post about two months ago bore this headline: “A First Lady Who Demands Substance.” It began with this priceless paragraph:

For weeks, Michelle Obama had been telling her staff and closest confidantes that she wasn’t having the impact she wanted. She is a woman of substance, with a background in law, public policy and management, who found herself relegated to role model in chief. The West Wing of the White House—the fulcrum of power and policy—had not fully integrated her into its agenda. She wanted more.

Now, let me be blunt: Michelle Obama, the product of lifelong affirmative-action coddling, is an intellectual lightweight who fancies herself a serious thinker. Just read her Princeton senior thesis, an intermittently coherent stream-of-consciousness pile of leftist jargon, campus pseudo-seriousness, and racial-identity babble. Can there be any doubt that the Princeton administrators accepted it only because of her skin color?

No matter: She is a woman of substance. So where is her contribution to the debate over reform of the U.S. health-care system? Other than pointing out that her daughters like peas and broccoli, she has informed us that “no system is going to be perfect” and “it’s not going to be easy.” And let us give credit where it is due: She is absolutely correct about that.

But obviously she is capable of giving us more, of moving the debate forward, of using her background in law, public policy, and management to shoot down the spurious arguments of the special interests and the Beltway obstructionists. We need her now. We need her wisdom. We need her analytic rigor. We need someone, anyone, in the media to ask her for the answers that the East Wing press — obviously in the pocket of those right-wing mobs — has suppressed. Someone like . . . Katie Couric!

Benjamin Zycher is a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.