Is It OK to Criticize the Obamas?
1 year ago
New book raises questions about First Lady Michelle Obama and tensions with White House staff.
The answer to the headline’s question is, in short, yes. This question draws a different answer from conservatives, who tend to assume that criticism of the first African American First Family will always be met with accusations of racism. No, not always.
The White House and both of its wings are run like a well-oiled machine. That doesn’t mean folks around there don’t occasionally bump heads. First spouses don’t always stay above the fray.
Excerpts of a new book by New York Times writer Jodi Kantor, titled “The Obamas,” details First Lady Michelle Obama’s role and relationship with the West Wing.
Some have interpreted Kantor’s approach as a criticism of Mrs. Obama’s temperament with her husband’s staff and aides. Those in the know, however, can confirm that Mrs. Obama has indeed “expressed herself” on the handling of the president’s agenda and of her own.
To read an excerpt of Kantor’s book, click here.
As the president’s reelection campaign forges ahead, it’s fair to take stock of the folks the Obamas have surrounded themselves with. Questions about cohesiveness are appropriate, especially after a sloppily handled healthcare fight and the revolving door in the chief-of-staff post. Mrs. Obama, like Hillary Clinton and any other outspoken first lady, will be subject to the political microscope.
Having not read the full book, only the above linked excerpt, and knowing of other anecdotal accounts, it’s fair to say examining Mrs. Obama’s role can be done in a way that doesn’t denigrate or disrespect her personally. The book appears to be a good example of that.
As this year’s campaign progresses, it’s important that the Obamas' supporters do not overlook missteps that contradict the reasons why they’ve been supported. Critics on the right are constantly looking for examples of (*sarcasm here) “blind liberalism destroying American values.”
In case you missed it, Mrs. Obama gave brief comments about the book to CBS’s Gayle King:
Kantor, the book’s author, gave an interview on NPR. Listen to it below.