Posted by: Christine Johnson | March 5, 2008

Michelle Obama: Rich and Whiny

The Campaign Spot points out an article in the New Yorker on Michelle Obama that is supposed to be flattering, but the parts I’ve read so far make her out to be a whiny, spoiled rich woman. She goes on and on about how difficult life is, how it hasn’t gotten better in the last couple of decades, how it’s so hard for their family because they are only recently out of debt. (Yes, I know that anyone can have a lot of debt, but it’s still hard for me to feel sorry for a woman who talks about “having to work” whose income is only 1/3 of the more than $1 million each year.)

Check this out:

From these bleak generalities, Obama moves into specific complaints. Used to be, she will say, that you could count on a decent education in the neighborhood. But now there are all these charter schools and magnet schools that you have to “finagle” to get into. (Obama herself attended a magnet school, but never mind.) Health care is out of reach (“Let me tell you, don’t get sick in America”), pensions are disappearing, college is too expensive, and even if you can figure out a way to go to college you won’t be able to recoup the cost of the degree in many of the professions for which you needed it in the first place. “You’re looking at a young couple that’s just a few years out of debt,” Obama said. “See, because, we went to those good schools, and we didn’t have trust funds. I’m still waiting for Barack’s trust fund. Especially after I heard that Dick Cheney was s’posed to be a relative or something. Give us something here!”

In Cheraw, Obama belittled the idea that the Clinton years were ones of opportunity and prosperity: “The life that I’m talking about that most people are living has gotten progressively worse since I was a little girl. . . . So if you want to pretend like there was some point over the last couple of decades when your lives were easy, I want to meet you!”

Pardon me, lady, but why would Cheney – or anyone, for that matter – owe you anything? Why do you need someone to give you something? Seems to me that you’re doing okay. You know, if you’re debt-free and making more than a million a year. Even on half of that, even in Chicago, I think you’d be doing okay. I don’t think you “have to” work, either.

Listening to her speeches, with their longing for a lost, spit-shine world, one could sometimes mistake her, were it not for the emphasis on social justice, for a law-and-order Republican. “It’s not just about politics; it’s TV,” she says, of our collective decay. And, wistfully: “The life I had growing up seems so much more simple.” She is a successful working mother, but an ambivalent one: “My mother stayed at home. She didn’t have to work.”

I’m having a hard time feeling sorry for the Obamas, though. Seriously.

The Obamas’ financial standing has risen sharply in the past three years, largely as a result of the money Barack earned from writing “The Audacity of Hope.” In 2005, their income was $1.67 million, which was more than they had earned in the previous seven years combined. “Our lives are so close to normal, if there is such a thing when you’re running for President,” Michelle has said. “When I’m off the road, I’m going to Target to get the toilet paper, I’m standing on soccer fields, and I think there’s just a level of connection that gets lost the further you get into being a candidate.”

Just after Barack was elected to the United States Senate, Michelle received a large pay increase—from $121,910 in 2004 to $316,962 in 2005.

Yeah, I can see how they struggle on income like that. It must be tough, clipping all the coupons, watching your menu and shopping on a strict budget, and all that. If only I knew what that was like…

[Note: All emphasis in quotes were added by me. -ed.]

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