(Salon) – From the moment Michelle Obama burst on to the national scene back in 2008, she inspired a level of right wing loathing only slightly less intense than that visited on her husband. Indeed, there have been times it has seemed as though they hated her even more. Recall that in the 2008 campaign, she was excoriated for saying,”for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” Conservative commentators such as the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol tut-tutted her comments and offered sage advice:
“You have to be careful not to let that slide into a kind of indictment of America. Because I don’t think the American people think on the whole that the last 25 years of American history is a narrative of despair and nothing to be proud of.”
What a difference seven years makes. The current GOP front runner, Donald Trump’s, entire campaign is based upon a “narrative of despair” in which America has become a dystopian hellscape led by fools and idiots. He says, “they’re up here, we’re down there. Our leaders are babies…our country is falling apart,” and it’s all good. But then he isn’t Michelle Obama.
Obama has been an exemplary first lady and is extremely popular with the public, having shown good humor and style throughout her tenure; so it’s been very difficult for the right to find anything to criticize.That hasn’t stopped them, of course. There is nothing even remotely controversial about her work with military families, a constituency they feel belongs to them, so anything they might pounce on there is an unlikely target for GOP ire. But this mother of two daughters having the temerity to initiate a program to encourage kids to eat healthy foods and exercise has sent them into fits of hysteria.