September 5, 2012
First Lady Michelle Obama knows how to work a crowd. After a video preamble worthy of the Academy Awards she jived onto the stage in a shimmering cocktail frock, her beautiful skin glowing, her teeth and hair gleaming, her body toned by push ups and organic broccoli (kale?) to deliver an impassioned cliche-studded monologue about hard work, towing the line, family values, the American dream, her "girls" (gender-specific, instead of her "children" ) and her husband. Her purpose: Energize the base. Convince the women. This morning, commentators were gaga over the lady. I kept thinking how Bess Truman or Mamie Eisenhower might have risen to the occasion. The content of Michelle's address -- growing up in modest circumstances, student loans, rusty car, Dumpster furniture -- seemed to ring truer than the Romney story, where both husband and wife came from means despite the basement apartment and tuna sandwiches. Not that either better-qualifies a candidate to perform what the country desperately needs. The First Lady's voice trembled as she played the Mom card. This had to be genuine, if purposeful; some things you can't fake. Both wives performed admirably. One is a cancer survivor living with MS. The other, a Princeton/Harvard educated attorney. Either would represent the United States with dignity, intelligence and grace. But I find it problematic that circumstances require that a wife must step in to "humanize" a candidate or energize his base. Or that voters might be influenced by spousal commendation. The first hours of the carefully orchestrated DNC were a like a revival meeting; you could see it on the faces of delegates, transported on the wings of rhetoric, to a better America. In a few days, when the euphoria fades, we'll be able to evaluate the platforms and candidates more clearly. In the meantime, as Ed Sullivan might have said, this opening night was, by Broadway or Hollywood standards "....a really good sheeew." Hang tight until the glamour fades.