The Other Obama

Posted: May 08, 2008 4:10 PM
The Other Obama

Here we go again. After being subjected to eight years of the collegial presidency of Bill and Hillary, when we were told that when we got Bill we got Hillary as a bonus, it looks as if we are facing another twofer: Barack and Michelle.

Effete liberal Democrats are all but canonizing Barack Obama, who they see as one of their own -- cool, detached, impressively intellectual -- all in all what Pat Buchanan described as something fresh out of the faculty lounge, where lofty thoughts abound and contempt for the great unwashed is hardly concealed.

That may be an apt description, implying that the Barack Obama who scorned ordinary folks in small towns who, he sneered, cling to such lower-class crutches as religion and guns, is above the distractions of the madding crowd.

It does not, however, fit the other half of the new twofer, Michelle Obama, who far from being above it all is down there in the trenches acting like the flame-throwing liberal activist she is. To know her is to know what her husband really believes.

As I have told my listeners of my radio show, if you want to understand how Barack Obama uncomplainingly sat through all those fire-breathing sermons without so much as stirring uncomfortably you need to understand the way husbands and wives practice their religion these days.

The men in the pews for the most part are passive, while the wives tend to be passionate. In most cases husbands are there because their wives have dragged them there. Chances are that while the women sit in rapt attention to the words of their pastor, the husbands are snoozing, blissfully unaware of what the reverend is preaching.

From what we’ve heard from Mrs. Obama she was paying close attention to the Reverend Mr. Wright, eating up his fiery words and probably enthusiastically nodding agreement as he blamed whitey for inventing AIDS to kill blacks as Barack dozed beside her, wondering when the Reverend Wright was going to shut up.

Barack is now wide awake, and for the next seven months he’s going to continue to be faced with explaining why he remained silent while his pastor ranted in the pulpit. And insisting that during his presence in the pews the Reverend Wright never once acted like Reverend Wright just won’t wash. Poor Barack, how can he admit that he didn’t hear any of that rabble-rousing rhetoric because he slept through all 20 years of it?

If you want to find the culprit here, turn to Michelle. I’m willing to bet she heard every word of the Reverend Wright’s inflammatory sermons, swallowed them whole, and seethed in anger over White America’s wretched mistreatment of her fellow black Americans as described by her pastor.

Nowadays she’s playing the role of dutiful wife and doting mother, but every once in a while her anger surfaces as it did most famously when she told a group in Milwaukee, “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is making a comeback.”

Just what is hope in Michelle Obama’s lexicon?

Why it’s nobody other than the man she shared a pew with for 20 years, her husband, who she brags “is one of the smartest people you will ever encounter who will deign [i.e. “lower himself”] to enter this messy thing called politics.”

“We have lost the understanding that in a democracy, we have a mutual obligation to one another -- that we cannot measure the greatness of our society by the strongest and richest of us, but we have to measure our greatness by the least of these,” she says.

“That we have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done. That is why I am here, because Barack Obama is the only person in this who understands that. That before we can work on the problems, we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation.”

Barack Obama, our sole hope -- the cobbler who’ll mend our poor broken souls. With, of course, the help of his wife Michelle.

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