Now we know why, in her adult life, Michelle Obama has never been proud of America until now. As Byron York reports, her life here is such a struggle. And not because of the demands of the political campaign. As she puts it, “I don’t know what I would do, even if we weren’t running; I don’t know what I would do as a professional without having that kind of support system [provided by her mother who lives nearby].” It is that support system, she confesses, that “keeps me sane.”
It’s easy to see her point. The Obamas, according to Michelle, spend roughly $10,000 a year just on programs for their kids — “piano and dance and sports supplements” and “summer programs and so on and so forth.” And, having had the audacity to quit “corporate America” the Obamas must do so on Barack’s salary and book money, Michelle’s salary of $317,000 (up from the $122,000 she made before Barack was elected to the Senate), and whatever she can scrape together from serving on corporate boards (her abandonment of corporate America apparently has not been complete).
But even with everything the Obamas are providing for their kids, there’s “a constant sense of guilt.” “It’s guilt,” Michelle emphasizes, “feeling guilty all the time.” The guilt, as far as I can tell, stems from having to pass her kids back and forth with Barack: “We do split that day, okay, you’ve got [the kids], I’ve got them.”
Back at Princeton, apparently, no one told her life would be such a struggle, although she did sense (incorrectly) that after college she might only be allowed “on the periphery of society.” Still, someone should have told her that her student loans would leave her trapped inside corporate American, or at least on some of its boards.
Michelle is a tough cookie, though. She’s not looking for our sympathy. “Don’t cry for me,” she tells the strangers in her lower middle class audience in Zanesville, Ohio after explaining just how difficult it is for her to “keep it all together.”
It would be unfair, of course, to blame Barack Obama for the views and outlook of his wife (except to the extent he endorses or defends them). I’ve seen no evidence that Barack is a complainer. And, nothwithstanding his lack of the experience normally associated with a run at the presidency, Obama’s sense of entitlement does not seem significantly to exceed that of your average presidential candidate.
But Michelle Obama is still instructive. She’s a depressing speciman of a post-modern class of victim — demanding, whining, self-absorbed, self-pitying, and infantile.
UPDATE: Given recent developments in the Obama campaign, though, it’s possible that Michelle Obama is enormously satisfied with her life and has absolutely no trouble “keeping it all together.” At this moment, a white male campaign adviser may be telling a men’s club that Michelle’s whining is just rhetoric intended to make Barack competitive among Hillary Clinton’s female supporters.
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