The Corner

The Worst Line in Michelle Obama’s Speech

The First Lady is getting rave reviews for her speech last night at the convention, and she deserves them. With each Democratic convention her performance has improved. But one of the lines for which she has been praised struck me as terrible both on the merits and politically. After saying that any president and first lady act as role models, she said that “this election, and every election, is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four to eight years of their lives.”

What a creepy way of putting it. It was a well-written speech, yet nobody thought to substitute ”influence” for “shape.” With “influence,” the sentence is true–albeit, this year, unfortunately true: If the election is a referendum on whether people want Clinton to influence their children’s character, she will lose and deserve to lose. I’d rather my kids not be paranoid, self-righteous, dishonest, and convinced the rules that apply to everyone else exempt them.


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


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