Jonathan Chait

Michelle Obama In Spain

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Maureen Dowd has a column on Michelle Obama's Spain vacation:

In politics and pop culture, optics are all. And Michelle’s optics sent a message that likely made some in the White House and the Democratic Party wince.

John Sides replies:

By that she means, “In politics and pop culture, optics are all that matters to me.”

You could not ask for a better distillation of why so much political commentary is so completely and utterly detached from what actually affects political outcomes. War and peace, economic prosperity and hard times, real scandals — these things pale beside the fact that the Obamas once went to New York City on a date!

Obama's media image does matter around the margins, and generally speaking the media has produced positive fluff about the Obamas' personal life.

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