Last night, Michelle Obama took the stage and delivered a speech meant to rally the Democratic faithful and to humanize her husband. After nearly four years of his presidency, it does seem odd that she still has to humanize him. That’s usually something that more unknown challengers must do. But the perception of Obama as an aloof, distant, egotistical narcissist has been growing, so Michelle was dispatched to paint a warmer picture of him. If Team Obama is worried about THAT at this late hour—as well as worrying about their base—they know they’re in trouble.
For what it was, Michelle’s speech was solid, and she certainly knows how to deliver. It was a home run, the same way Ann Romney’s speech was a home run last week. But one short paragraph has become the definitive theme of the speech, because it rings so outrageously false. She said, “I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as ‘us’ and ‘them’ — he doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above. He knows that we all love our country. And he’s always ready to listen to good ideas. He’s always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.”
Team Obama may actually see things that way, but it’s extremely detached from reality.
The ONLY thing Obama has done since taking office is divide on the basis of “us” vs. “them.” He and his team have divided Americans by class (by incessantly slamming the “1%,” “millionaires and billionaires,” commanding them to do their “fair share,” etc).
He has divided by race (see Joe Biden’s recent comment, “They’re gonna put y’all back in chains”).
He has divided by age (attempting to scare seniors by falsely and dishonestly suggesting that the Republicans’ Medicare reforms would toss grandma off the cliff, and by giving away the store to college kids on student loans).
And he has divided by gender (ginning up a completely bogus GOP “war on women.”)
As far as Michelle’s comment that Obama “doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above,” and “he’s always ready to listen to good ideas…,” Obama hasn’t met with the GOP in over a year, scolded them on Day One of his presidency with “I won,” told a Democrat who had voted against the stimulus, “Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother,” and once referred to “punishing our enemies.” Not exactly the warm n’ fuzzy Barack Michelle was desperately trying to paint.
And as far as “listening to good ideas,” he blew off his own deficit reduction commission, Simpson-Bowles, as well as Paul Ryan’s budget reform ideas and disregarded moderate Democrats’ ideas to carry out health reform more slowly and with GOP buy-in (see: defeated Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln and her pleas to Obama, which fell on deaf ears).
So: Michelle can try all she wants to resurrect Obama’s 2004 image of a guy who said “there’s not a red America or a blue America,” and she and other Democrats can try to invoke his 2008 image of the transcendent guy sitting above petty politicking and business-as-usual. But after nearly four years of division, distraction, and destruction, not many people are buying that sales pitch anymore. It’s old, it’s tired, and like his radical redistributionism, it’s done.