Politics & Policy

Meet the Grievances

Now we’ve done it. We have incurred the displeasure of the Great One.

Barack Obama cited a National Review cover story by Mark Steyn on Michelle as part of a conservative effort to demonize his better half.

One of the benefits of being a Secular Savior — besides adoring press and automatic first-class upgrades — is the ability to declare from on high what can and cannot be said about you (or your spouse). In this case, the One We’ve Been Waiting For has sent his wife around the country to campaign for him, apparently on the theory that that is the best way to keep her out of the campaign.

“Debate me, not her,” he urged in an interview in Glamour magazine, pronouncing himself “infuriat[ed]” by the criticism, which is “part of our political environment that I’d like to change.” Duly noted. He’ll be very busy, not only forbidding us “to go back to [our] lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed” (to quote Michelle — while it’s still allowed), but putting off limits controversial statements by political spouses.

We might say we could no sooner renounce our practice of criticizing Michelle’s outrageous statements than we could renounce all conservative commentary and the First Amendment. But we’ll spare His Hopefulness the theatrical self-justification. (If only he’d return the favor.) Michelle is a public figure, who has un-burdened herself of astonishing sentiments, the most notorious of which is that “for the first time in my adult lifetime I’m really proud of my country.” At the risk of making her once again un-proud of her country, we consider that — and other similarly aggrieved comments — fair game for analysis and disagreement in a country that welcomes robust and free political debate.

On the cover in question, we dubbed Michelle “Mrs. Grievance.” In light of his plaint about legitimate discussion of his wife’s views, perhaps we should call Obama, “Mr. Grievance.” Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Grievances.

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