Barack Obama has warned Republicans not to pick on his wife. As far as the Republican party is concerned, that’s probably good advice at two levels. First, Obama really should be judged on his merits, not those of his wife (it’s worth noting, though, that Obama defended his wife’s most objectionable statement to date — that, as an adult, she’s never been proud of America). Second, as a political strategy attacking a candidate’s wife might well backfire.
But for bloggers and other commentators, the calculus is different. We criticize all sorts of public figures for objectionable public comments, including comments that show the author to be demanding, whining, self-absorbed, self-pitying, and infantile. There’s no reason why the wife of a presidential candidate should be exempt, particularly one who is campaigning as aggressively as Michele Obama is.
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