Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 27, 2008 / 22 Iyar 5768

The other Obama is fair game, too

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | On the website of the Tennessee Republican Party is a short video in which residents of Nashville talk about the pride they feel for their country. One man, for example, mentions his esteem for the First and Second Amendments. A Vanderbilt graduate student says he was proud when Ronald Reagan told Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall — "and I was prouder when it came down." A young professional woman extols the "academic and job opportunities that women have in this country." A police officer named Juan says he is proud of having immigrated to the United States, learned English, and become a citizen of this "land of opportunity and the best country in the world."


The video makes its point by alternating these upbeat comments with clips of Michelle Obama telling two different audiences in February: "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country." In an understated press release announcing the video, the state GOP welcomed Mrs. Obama to Nashville and remarked: "The Tennessee Republican Party has always been proud of America."


One would have to have skin of microscopic thinness to take offense at so gentle and indirect a critique. No surprise, then, that Barack Obama took offense, reacting as if his bride had been slimed by slurs akin to those that enraged Andrew Jackson when he ran for president. (During the campaign of 1828, supporters of John Quincy Adams maligned Jackson's mother as a "common prostitute" and mocked his adored wife, Rachel, as a "convicted adulteress" and a "strumpet.") In an interview on ABC, Obama growled that Republicans "should lay off my wife," and described the inoffensive Tennessee video as "detestable," "low class," and reflecting "a lack of decency."


If Republicans "think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign," he added ominously, "they should be careful."


Ooh, very fierce. But unless Obama is prepared to emulate Jackson — Old Hickory defended his wife's honor by fighting duels, in one of which he killed a man — he stands no chance of putting his wife's remarks off-limits to criticism. As long as he keeps sending her around the country to campaign on his behalf, everything she says is — and should be — fair game.


And unfortunately for Obama and his allegedly sunny politics of hope, what Mrs. Obama seems to say with grim regularity is that America is a scary, bleak, and hopeless place.


Here she is, for instance, in Wisconsin:


"Life for regular folks has gotten worse over the course of my lifetime, through Republican and Democratic administrations. It hasn't gotten much better."


And in South Carolina:


America is "just downright mean" and "guided by fear . . . We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day."


And in North Carolina:


"Folks are struggling like never before . . . When you're that busy struggling all the time, which most people that you know and I know are, you don't have time to get to know your neighbor . . . In fact, you feel very alone in your struggle, because you feel that somehow it must be your fault that you're struggling so hard . . . People are afraid, because when your world's not right, no matter how hard you work, then you become afraid of everyone and everything, because you don't know whose fault it is, why you can't get a handle on life, why you can't secure a better future for your kids . . . Fear is the worst enemy. It . . . creates this veil of impossibility, and it is hanging over all of our heads."


There is also her creepily authoritarian vision of life under an Obama administration. From a speech in California:


"Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone . . . Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual — uninvolved, uninformed."


Michelle Obama is undeniably smart, driven, outspoken, and charismatic. She is also relentlessly negative about life in these United States. True, she is not the one running for president. But she is Barack Obama's closest confidante and adviser; if he is elected, her influence will be considerable. That is why her words matter. And why, whether her husband likes it or not, Michelle Obama is a legitimate issue in this campaign.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2006, Boston Globe

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles