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Michelle Obama, Attack Dog?

Michelle Obama is less popular than most prior First Ladies, presumably because of controversial comments she made before the election, her lavish vacations, and her occasional willingness to wade into political controversies. It now appears that the administration intends to deploy her in a way that is, to my knowledge, unprecedented: as a point person for partisan attacks.

At a fundraiser in Tampa yesterday, Mrs. Obama launched one over-the-top attack after another against Republicans:

[T]he fact is that in little over a year from now, we are going to make a decision between two very different visions for this country. Very different. And I’m here today because when it comes to just about every issue that we face — from our health, to our economic security, to the quality of our schools — the stakes for our families, and for our country, have never been higher. …

That is why, even though there are some trying to stop [Obama's "jobs" bill] from moving forward, my President — and my husband — (laughter) — he is not going give up. (Applause.) He is going to keep fighting — fighting for what are common-sense jobs proposals. Things like whether — tax cuts for working people, tax cuts for businesses that hire unemployed veterans, jobs for our teachers and construction workers, job training for unemployed or low-income folks, rebuilding our crumbling schools, refurbishing vacant or foreclosed homes and businesses.

All of that is what is in the American Jobs Act. That is what we’re fighting for. That is the choice in this election. (Applause.) …

And let’s talk just for a minute about health care. Last year, we made history by finally passing health care reform. (Applause.) Yes, we all did that. But now there are folks who are talking about repealing that reform.

AUDIENCE: Booo –

MRS. OBAMA: And today we have to ask ourselves will we let them succeed? Is that who we are?

AUDIENCE: No!

MRS. OBAMA: Will we let insurance companies deny us coverage because we have preexisting conditions like breast cancer or diabetes?

AUDIENCE: No! …

And let’s not forget about what it meant when my husband appointed those two brilliant Supreme Court justices — (applause) — and for the first time in history, our daughters — and our sons — watched three women take their seats on our nation’s highest court. (Applause.) But more importantly, let’s not forget the impact those decisions will have on our lives for decades to come — on our privacy and security, on whether we can speak freely, worship openly, and love whomever we choose. That is what’s at stake here. (Applause.)

Let’s pause here for a moment. We need to re-elect Obama so that we can speak freely, worship openly, and love whomever we choose? Really? So the Republicans want to appoint Supreme Court justices who will abolish free speech, ban religion, and regulate love? Really? And, of course, as Keith Koffler points out:

President Obama himself claims he opposes gay marriage, so her suggestion that Republican-selected justices would jeopardize the ability to “love whomever we choose” cannot possibly refer to gay marriage.

Mrs. Obama continued:

So make no mistake about it — I mean, whether it’s health care, or the economy, or education, or foreign policy, the choice we make in this election will determine nothing less than who we are as a country — but more importantly, who we want to be. Who are we? Will we be a country that tells folks who’ve done everything right but are struggling to get by, “tough luck, you’re on your own”? Is that who we are?

AUDIENCE: No!

MRS. OBAMA: Or will we honor the fundamental American belief that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper, and if one of us is hurting, then we’re all hurting? Who are we? (Applause.)

Here Mrs. Obama echoes her husband; she apparently shares his ignorance of the Book of Genesis.

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 their money parents are — have. Who are we?

Got that? Republicans want to limit opportunity to “the few at the top,” based on “what [people] look like” and “how much money their parents have.” This is truly repellent stuff. Think for a moment: when is the last time you have heard any Republican–I’m not talking about Laura Bush here, but any Republican politician–make similar accusations against Democrats?

Traditionally, vice-presidential candidates have been the attack dogs in presidential campaigns. No doubt Joe Biden will do his share in that department when the time comes. But, by deploying the First Lady in this fashion, the Obama administration has once again broken new ground in partisanship and divisiveness.

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