The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Slight Dissent on Michelle Obama

She deserves credit for standing up for civility. But her comment that “fear is not a proper motivator” is mistaken. Fear is a perfectly good motive in politics. I vote against a lot of candidates because I fear that their policies would harm my state or country. Every candidate makes fear-based appeals. Mrs. Obama’s husband certainly did. And while the specific appeals he made may have deserved criticism, there was nothing wrong with their activation of fear. The species has fear for a reason, after all. But this may be a point that conservatives are more comfortable making than progressives.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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