The Campaign Spot

Maureen Dowd Unsheaths Her Claws On Mrs. Obama

I don’t want to hear anybody complaining that I’m unfair to Obama, because compared to Maureen Dowd’s screed against Mrs. Obama today, I’m Mr. Fair and Balanced personified.

Apparently Michelle Obama pokes some fun at her husband during her not-terribly-frequent speaking appearances.

“I am always a little amazed at the response that people get when they hear from Barack,” she told the crowd at the Beverly Hilton, as her husband stood by looking like a puppy being scolded, reported Hud Morgan of Men’s Vogue. “A great man, a wonderful man. But still a man. …
“I have some difficulty reconciling the two images I have of Barack Obama. There’s Barack Obama the phenomenon. He’s an amazing orator, Harvard Law Review, or whatever it was, law professor, best-selling author, Grammy winner. Pretty amazing, right?
“And then there’s the Barack Obama that lives with me in my house, and that guy’s a little less impressive. For some reason this guy still can’t manage to put the butter up when he makes toast, secure the bread so that it doesn’t get stale, and his 5-year-old is still better at making the bed than he is.”

Is any other husband out there feeling like they’ve heard this routine before? Just me? Ladies, are my suspicions correct that some of you have had a similar thought or two about the men in your life?

And Dowd thinks this is a problem.

Many people I talked to afterward found Michelle wondrous. But others worried that her chiding was emasculating, casting her husband — under fire for lacking experience — as an undisciplined child…. But it may not be smart politics to mock him in a way that turns him from the glam J.F.K. into the mundane Gerald Ford, toasting his own English muffins. If all Senator Obama is peddling is the Camelot mystique, why debunk the mystique?

You know, after fifteen years of each member of the Clinton marriage telling us how flawless the other is, and how lucky the country is to have them in public office, and how noble and selfless they are for dedicating their lives to public service, it’s kind of refreshing to hear a potential First Lady poke a little fun at her husband.
Really, there’s a pettiness and cattiness to Dowd’s columns that sometimes verges into self-parody…

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