Conservative criticism of Michelle Obama has no merit whatsoever and serves only as an outlet of right-wing hatred. That's the impression that Los Angeles Times reporter Robin Abcarian leaves readers with his June 11 story, "The GOP takes aim at Michelle Obama.":
They loved to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton. They loved to hate Teresa Heinz Kerry. And now, it appears, conservative voices are energetically taking on Michelle Obama.
"Mrs. Grievance" bellowed the cover of a recent National Review, which featured a photo of a fierce-looking Obama. The magazine's online edition titled an essay about her stump speech "America's Unhappiest Millionaire."
Michelle Malkin, the popular conservative blogger, called her "Obama's bitter half."
It was an unscripted remark as she spoke in February about the enthusiastic response to his message of hope that set off conservatives: "And let me tell you something," she told a Wisconsin crowd. "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."
The Obama campaign clarified her remarks right away: "What she meant is that she's really proud at this moment because for the first time in a long time, thousands of Americans who've never participated in politics before are coming out in record numbers to build a grass-roots movement for change."
But conservatives pressed the attack. John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, wrote that she had inadvertently revealed "the pseudo-messianic nature of the Obama candidacy."
The issue has shown no signs of going away.
Old story. Nothing to see here, let's move along, Abcarian seems to be saying. To that end the Times staffer coughed up a Republican pollster to decry the conservative attack as emblematic of what's wrong with political discourse:
"It's exactly why I hate politics," said Republican pollster Frank Luntz. "It's wrong. It's attempting to demonize someone who is very smart, very accomplished, but not totally tuned to the dangers of political discourse."
Abcarian did also turn to Malkin to justify conservative scrutiny of Mrs. Obama, but prefaced them by characterizing conservative attacks as "brutal":
In the current climate -- where sound bites are recycled endlessly and context is ignored in favor of impact -- her more dour pronouncements have paved the way for brutal critiques.
"This is a huge debate among Republicans," said Malkin, who noted that until Obama's "proud" remark, "she was the new, glamorous Jackie O, and most stories focused on her pearls and wardrobe." But, Malkin added, "from what I've seen, despite her husband's admonition to lay off of her, she's not stopping what she's doing, and I don't think the rest of us should ignore her and treat her with kid gloves."