Monday, May 14, 2007

This Woman is Going to Ruin It For All Of Us

[obligatory disclaimer: I am NOT a chauvinist! I love black women. Heck, I married one. So don't get it twisted. However....]

Someone needs to tell Barry's wife, Michelle Obama, to have a Coke and a smile (my man Dallas has a far more crude phrase to basically say the same thing). By opening her mouth without a muzzle, and saying the most inopportune things at the most inopportune times, she is running the very real risk of derailing his campaign for Prez before it even gets started.

USA Today and the Washington Post both strangely featured Page A-1 exposes on Barry's Better (?) Half last week. While the USA Today article was far more in depth (seriously, WTH?), both played on a similar theme: Michelle Obama thinks she's the new school Shirley Chisolm (unbought and unbossed) and this might prove to be a liability down the road.

For better or for worse, America prefers it's First Ladies to be seen and not heard. We don't like 2 for the price of 1's, unless you're talking about McDonald's cheeseburgers. That's why Nancy Reagan will be far better remembered than Hilary Clinton.

I had my concerns about Mrs. Obama when the couple appeared on Oprah (where else?) a few months back. A success story in her own right (she was a hospital administrator making over $300k/yr until she recently stepped down), I wondered exactly how this independent woman would accept her career aspirations taking a back seat to her husband's quest for the Oval Office. As she's become more active and visible in his campaign, a style of unfiltered and unscripted candor had become her calling card.

Thus, you get nuggets like these, for the voting populace to chew and digest.

"Barack and I have lived very separate professional lives," she said. "He's done his thing, I do my thing. And my focus is on figuring out what's the right thing for me to do given where I am in my life, where my kids are. And I won't know what that looks like in '08 -- it changes," she said.

Her speeches this week in New Hampshire include references to Sen. Obama's "strange name" and his big ears. She doesn't repeat anecdotes from previous speeches about his inability to make beds or put the butter away after making toast — comments that prompted New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd to write last month that some voters find such teasing "emasculating."

..she doesn't want to be "so tied to all that (Barack) is that I don't have anything for me." It's also evident as she describes the "tension and stress" in their relationship a few years ago when he was focused on his political career and she was home alone with their two kids.

"Do you think I would ever hold my tongue?"

Barack Obama's less famous wife, though, warns that his superstar glow will fade as voters learn more about him... she wants them to know that he's not the "next messiah, who's going to fix it all." She's just as direct with her audience here: "He is going to stumble … make mistakes and say things you don't agree with."

"I have gone back and forth every year about whether I should work." When she finally winds down her duties as vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals in the days ahead (she was promoted to the position soon after her husband joined the Senate), she said, it "will be the first time that I haven't gotten up and gone to a job."

"It is very odd," she said of the prospect of interrupting her career... in conversations with her friends, Obama has expressed some ambivalence about shedding her independent life...she was earning almost $275,000 a year before scaling back her duties this year.

In his 2006 book, The Audacity of Hope, he wrote that during his failed congressional campaign in 2000, she told him, "You only think about yourself. … I never thought I'd have to raise a family alone." ... Michelle Obama tells USA TODAY that "there was a lot of tension and stress." She overcame it, she says, when she realized "that I needed to focus on what kept myself sane instead of looking to Barack to give me the answers and to help fulfill me. … I need support. It doesn't always have to come from him, and I don't need to be angry because he can't give me the support."

Jiminy Christmas, would someone put a muzzle on this woman?

Again, I'm all for women working and being career focused. Heck, if you're getting paid, it's more money for both of us, after all.

But being Miss Independent is not the card to play when your husband is gunning for that Number One Spot. The country is barely ready for a President of Color. Adding a First Lady who wants to telecommute to the mix is a bit much at one time, no?

Outside of Hilary (Bill's a story of his own) Obama's chief adversaries all have 2nd bananas who are more than willing to bite the bullet for their men. John Edwards wife is dealing with terminal cancer, but she's a trooper. Mitt Romney (whose 60 Minutes expose last night was pretty eye opening, and impressive for a Republican) has a wife who's got M.S., has popped out and raised 5 boys, and endured who knows how much polygamy. Judith Giuliani stole Rudy from his 2nd wife and endured a crapload of media scrutiny in the process.

These women are all Ryde or Die Chicks who understand the real prize is getting your man in office. Period. After he's in there, and the checks are cashing, you can pretty much do as you please. Someone needs to inform Mrs. Obama of this.

Michelle Obama, get a clue, and a hobby. It's about making history, Boo Boo, it ain't about you.

Somewhere in South Heaven, Coretta Scott King, The Original Ryde or Die Chick, is crying inside.

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