Michelle Obama's Pride

by James Kirchick | February 19, 2008

I'm a little late in getting to this, and I'm sorry to spoil the Obamamania tonight, but Michelle Obama said a remarkable thing on Monday:

At a midday event on Monday in Milwaukee, Obama said, "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."

A few hours later in Madison, she made a similar point, although with some adjustments to her language:

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country -- not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment."

Michelle Obama was born in 1964, which would make her 5 years old at the time of moon landing. So I guess that and the Miracle on Ice don't count. How about the fall of the Berlin Wall? American victory in the First Gulf War? Our abatement of ethnic slaughter in the Balkans? What about the daily instances of American goodwill and beneficence, like our taking in refugees from oppressive lands? Has she ever attended a naturalization ceremony? John Podhoretz asks:

How about the merely humanitarian, like this country’s startling generosity to the victims of the tsunami? I’m sure commenters can think of hundreds more landmarks of this sort. Didn’t she even get a twinge from, say, the Olympics?

The level of narcisissm inherent in this remark -- that it is only now, with the windfall victories currently propelling her husband to the Democratic presidential nomination, that she feels "really proud of her country" -- is absolutely breathtaking. Should Barack Obama capture his party's nomination, expect John McCain -- who oozes patriotism -- to make more than a little hay out of this all-too revealing statement, and for it to matter. 

--James Kirchick 

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/michelle-obamas-pride