The Hardest Job In Politics: Being Michelle Obama

The Obamas Walk The Family Dog

The wife of the former Prime Minister of Japan swears her soul was once beamed up by a triangular- shaped UFO and shipped to Venus. Miyuku Hatoyama reported Venus to be “a very beautiful place” and “really green”. Perhaps not surprisingly, her husband lasted eight months as Japan’s Prime Minister.

Panama’s former First Lady Ana Mae Endara told country protesters they could stick their vote “you know where.” Panama’s voters did not oblige, however, giving her husband a mere 2.3 % in the next election.

And the First Lady of France looks like this:

Results may vary with First Ladies, but we are fortunate Michelle Obama is ours. In the face of arguably the most polarized Washington ever, Michelle Obama has stayed above the fray, shrugging off controversy with a quiet regality and steely repose. Michelle became the youngest First Lady (43) since Jacqueline Kennedy. She is the first minority First Lady in our nation’s history. Her great-great-great grandmother was a slave. She’s a fresh face after decades of the Bush-Clinton dynasties. In January 2009, glossy New York City magazines breathlessly gushed how Michelle would be the 21st Century’s Jackie and usher in an age of Bamelot in Washington.

20 months later and 40 days before midterm elections, however, these same tabloids smear Michelle as the 21st Century’s Marie Antoinette.


FOX News once dubbed her a “terrorist fist jabber”. Secret Service code-named her Renaissance. But all Michelle really wants to be called is Mom. “My first priority will always be to make sure that our girls are healthy and grounded,” Michelle said. No easy feat when Sasha and Malia are the youngest First Kids since John F. Kennedy Jr. was crawling under JFK’s desk.

JFK and Son Under White House Desk

And the Kennedys didn’t have Twitter or TMZ to worry about. Or Glenn Beck. After Malia famously asked Daddy Obama this summer, “Daddy, did you plug the [BP] hole yet?”, Glenn Beck mocked the 8-year-old daughter on public radio. The man who likens himself to be our generation’s Martin Luther King pretended he was Malia and asked, “[Daddy] Why do you hate black people so much?”

All Michelle wants is normal. The first instructions she gave her White House staff were: ““Don’t make their beds. Make mine. Skip the kids. They have to learn these things.” Bedtime is 8 PM. Always. And, no, she doesn’t let her daughters watch the Jersey Shore.

Michelle checked off her top campaign issue on a chilly day in March 2009. The girls came home from school, bounded up the White House steps, and declared, “This feels like home.” And Michelle could finally breathe a sigh of relief. For a minute anyway.

You see, Michelle chose to become Barack Obama’s wife. She did not, however, choose to become First Lady of the United States of America. She wanted to raise her two daughters in Chicago and watch her beloved Sex & The City reruns in peace. Not that this will elicit sympathy. Not when you trade in a minivan for Air Force One.

But the ever self-aware Michelle is ever fearful of the White House bubble. It’s why Barack Obama tries to read ten raw, uncensored letters from regular Americans every night before going to sleep. It’s why Michelle constantly asks friends, “Do I still feel like Michelle?”


Michelle always reminds herself where she came from. A stuffy, one-bedroom apartment on the Southside of Chicago. A single hanging blanket in the living room divided her bedroom from her brother’s. From her humble origins, Michelle soared up the pantheon of academia—Princeton University, Harvard Law School—but was always astonished by the lifestyle of her wealthier peers. Every day, she saw college students cruising in BMWs. “I didn’t even know parents who drove BMWs.”

Michelle graduated cum laude and landed at the prestigious Sidley Austin law firm as a summer associate. She remembers scratching her head at the name of some new hire she was supposed to mentor. His name was Barack Obama.
Barack asked her out within a month, but Michelle refused, “I thought no way. This is completely tacky.” Obama persisted, impressed her with his community organizing fervor and asked again a few weeks later. He took her to see Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” on the first date. Michelle vetted Barack with a pick-up basketball game with her brother Craig Robinson (now head coach of the Oregon State men’s basketball team). Barack swooshed it. Robinson reported back to his sister, “He was certainly a team player – he wasn’t a pig, he passed when he was supposed to pass, and he cut when he was supposed to cut.”

Barack and Michelle Obama Wedding Photograph

So how did the 44th President of the United States propose? After Barack passed the bar, he took Michelle to an exquisite Chicago restaurant. “Then the waiter came over with the dessert and a tray. And there was the ring,” Michelle recalls. “And I was completely shocked.” The couple married in October 1992. The notorious Reverend Jeremiah Wright presided over their wedding. 18 years and 2 daughters later, the two are still hopelessly in love. White House interns learned early on to be careful rounding West Wing corners, lest they find Barack and Michelle kanoodling.


Nancy Reagan never met a red gown she didn’t like. Hillary Clinton rocked the ubiquitous headband, then the pantsuit. Michelle does J-Crew. She briefly sparked an ArmsGate media frenzy with her right to bare arms.

Michelle Obama on Vogue Cover Picture

“Michelle Obama connects to the modern woman,” observed Vanity Fair correspondent Amy Fine Collins. “She has a sleek style that’s not overdone.” Totally. It’s why Michelle cracked Vanity Fair’s International Best-Dressed List for the second straight year. France’s Carla Bruni-Sarkozy also made the list.

Alas, Michelle and Carla share another less fashionable distinction. According to an unauthorized book entitled “Carla and the Ambitious”, Michelle Obama ranted to the French First Lady that life in the White House is “hell” and she “can’t stand it.” Michelle and Carla vehemently denied the conversation. The book’s co-author stands by the quote but has not divulged his source. Yet this has not stopped pundits from blasting Michelle as ungrateful.

Michelle’s other summer imbroglio has more teeth. Michelle and 40 of her girlfriends chartered a glamorous summer fling in Spain this August. They unwound at a five-star hotel on the lavish Costa del Sol. The White House was quick to point out the Obamas’ paid for the $2,500 a night villas personally. However, the Press Secretary was strangely silent over the fact that the U.S. taxpayer fronted the bill on transportation, the 70 Secret Service agents and other expenses. The New York Daily News blasted Michelle as a “modern day Marie Antoinette.”.

Michelle, you are First Lady of the United States. Yes, if anyone deserved a break from the media spotlight, you would. But with near 10% national unemployment, can’t you have a long week in with the girls at Camp David? In the history of the United States of America, extravagant vacations by the Presidential family have never come across as favorably. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced fierce public outcry for going on a cruise one Winter in the midst of the Great Depression. The Clintons’ reluctantly shacked up in the mountains the summer of Bill’s 1996 re-election campaign. Then there’s George W. Bush. W. read all 110 pages of Albert Camus’ The Stranger one summer, and generally tried to stay away from the White House as much as possible. Bush spent nearly 3 years of his 8 year Presidency at his Crawford ranch or Camp David. His interests included mountain biking and clearing brush.

George Bush Clears Brush On Vacation

Michelle still polled at 68% in a recent AP poll—25% above her husband. But her support amongst women is slipping. Northwestern Professor Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, cautioned, “To soccer moms, your Wal-Mart moms that probably don’t have a passport, this is something that nudges them over.”Laura Bush’s former Chief of Staff Anita McBride acknowledged pictures of Michelle frolicking on Spanish cobblestones “struck a chord across party lines.” Michelle could not have picked a worse time for her opulent Me-Time. The 2010 Midterm Elections are 40 days away, and Democrats will lose seats. The question is how many.

“You probably want Michelle,” Barack quipped to besieged incumbents at a recent White House luncheon. They do. Desperately. So starting next month, the woman who loathes campaigning will be on the trail again. And this time she’ll be on her own, as embattled Democrats are already giving her husband the Bush Treatment. So Michelle will fly solo on a sweeping six state campaign swing—spanning Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, New York, Washington, and California. In an unfortunate nod to her husband’s deflated approval ratings, Michelle will stump as First Mom, not First Lady. Parenting, not partisanship will be the theme. Michele will campaign for child nutrition, not the Stimulus package.

She won’t like it. She’ll miss her daughters dearly. But maybe, just maybe, Michelle will inspire a daughter in a dingy one-bedroom apartment to wonder: what if?

Obamas Visit A Gulf Coast Restaurant


Please check back Friday for Volume 2: Midterm Predictions.

[tags]michelle obama, hardest job in politics, first lady, first lady responsibilities, family life, white house, barack obama, politics, political agenda, vogue cover, first ladies, jackie o, jfk, presidential legacy[/tags]


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  1. par4 says:

    Who FUCKING cares? We voted for CHANGE and got Bush’s third term instead. Send them ALL back to Chicago.,

  2. Anne says:

    Beautifully written and very unbiased.

  3. I can’t help but second par4.

    Banks get bailed out, we can’t see the doctor in this pro life police state plutocracy hypocrisy, endless wars, plants send you to the profit driven prison piggy banks with a view, telecom companies are immune to spy and copy all your information at will but the cia can’t seem to recall where they placed a few dozen torture tapes (my apologies, enhanced interrogation sessions).

    But yes, let’s write about the emporer’s wife.
    It is wonderful that she a black woman.

    The most powerful one to date.
    It’s rather clear that this little piggy wont be going to the master any time soon.
    He’ll either get another four year run or another corporate clone will take his place.
    What is clear is that any laughable notion of him being taken out is gone.
    Way too much money to be made with him around.

    She’s a beautiful liar.
    That’s the change.

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