Michelle’s back, and she’s madder than ever. She was already pretty angry, seemingly unhappy with just about everything. As her husband wrapped up the Democratic nomination in 2008, she let fly her real feelings: “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” A few months into her job as first lady, her French counterpart asked how she liked the gig: “Don’t ask!” she reportedly spat. “It’s hell. I can’t stand it!”
She even seems to be mad at her silver-tongued husband. When the two were to set off on a luxurious 10-day vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, she left early - four hours early - and flew up alone. And those private vacations. She’s traveled to some of the world’s most plush resorts, taking 42 days off in the past year - that’d be eight weeks of vacay time if she held down a normal job.
Now, she is ready to spew her bilious disgust with America on the campaign trail. A dignified, transcendent first lady? No chance. Michelle is going to break with a hundred years of tradition and play the role of attack dog, heaping derision on her husband’s political opponents like no other first lady before her.
And it’s already begun. Mad Michelle this week popped down to Davis Island, Fla., to hobnob with the very people her husband despises - the 1 percent. At a massive mansion on the bay, filled with the wealthiest of the wealthy, America’s first lady launched into a tirade about “them” - the Republicans.
“Let’s not forget about what it meant when my husband appointed two brilliant Supreme Court justices, and for the first time in history, our daughters - and our sons - watched three women take their seats on our nation’s highest court. But more importantly, let’s not forget the impact their decisions will have on our lives for decades to come - on our privacy and our security, on whether we can speak freely, worship openly and love whomever we choose. That is what’s at stake here,” she said to applause.
Yes, Republicans hope to regain the White House so they can install Supreme Court justices who will trample Americans’ privacy, ignore the nation’s security, crush free speech and persecute the religious.
Oh, and they’re rich and racist to boot. “Will we be a country where opportunity is limited to just the few at the top? Who are we? Or will we give every child a chance to succeed no matter where they’re from, or what they look like or how much money their parents have. Who are we?”
That’s right, rich people (white, of course) certainly don’t want black people to succeed. They want to squelch success based on what people look like, how much money they have. “Are we going to let them succeed?” the first lady yelled. “Nooo!” the rich white people screamed.
Just as her husband’s re-election strategy is inanely simplistic - blame the Republicans for thwarting his brilliant, economy-saving policies - so too is the first lady’s. She will go to the opulent homes of rich people across the country to tell them how rich people are to blame for America’s woes and guilt them into giving millions for her husband’s campaign.
And the Princeton graduate will tell supporters they simply can’t comprehend the significance of what’s occurring today in America.
“It can be hard to see clearly what’s at stake - because these issues are so complicated, and quite frankly, folks are busy and they’re tired. We’re raising families and working full-time jobs, and many helping out in their own communities on top of all that. So many of us just don’t have the time to follow the news and to sort through all the back-and-forth, and to figure out how all of this stuff connects to our daily lives.”
Yes, only Michelle and her husband can truly understand, although she often tells those uninformed people that when the president returns from one of his campaign trips, “He says, ‘You won’t believe what folks are going through.’ ” So maybe she is the only person in America who understands.
So, America’s first lady will travel the country this election season to tell her fellow Americans just how bad it is out there (between lavish vacations, of course). Unlike President Ronald Reagan, who saw morning in America - that great shining city on a hill - Michelle will tell all who will listen that Republicans want to poison the air and water, stifle free speech, oppress the religious. She will offer not an uplifting vision of what her husband’s America could be but only a vapid view of what Republicans’ America would be.
That is the America she lives in, and by campaign’s end, it will be clear that she’s no longer “proud of my country.” Maybe she never really was.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.