Politico Warns of “Queen Michelle”

If she plants a garden, someone complains. If she wears expensive shoes, someone complains. If she speaks at a college commencement, someone complains. And when she wasn’t doing anything policy-wise I heard COUNTLESS complaints (many from Bonnie Erbe) about the First Lady not being more active in policy making.

Well, now Michelle Obama is sticking her toe in the policy waters and guess what? Folks are complaining.

More after the jump.

Michelle Obama wants a bigger role in her husband’s administration, according to The Washington Post. Unlike Laura Bush, who focused on a few peripheral issues, Obama wants a seat at the table when key policies are made.

Obama’s new chief of staff, Susan Sher, is part of the crucial 8:15 a.m. White House staff meeting. The first lady’s team of more than 20 has been told to think “strategically” about how to make her a player on policies she cares about.

This could be a very bad idea.

Washington insiders haven’t seen a first lady this ambitious since Hillary Clinton, without question the most powerful holder of that unofficial office.

Clinton put herself in charge of her husband’s plans to radically reform health care, and the nation is still paying the price for her mistakes.

While the failure of the Clinton administration’s health care agenda had many causes, she made some missteps that a more experienced Washington policymaker would not have made. And because she was the spouse of the president, it was very tough for anyone to tell her husband that things were going badly.

Oh no! Hillary was active and it was so terrible that OF COURSE it can only be terrible for Michelle too! Of course! Because all First Ladies are THE SAME. Either Michelle is Laura Bush or Michelle is Hillary! She can’t be both or, worse, her OWN PERSON! Heaven’s to Betsy! Doesn’t she KNOW that?

Clinton was a Yale-educated lawyer and, without a doubt, a brilliant woman (and she has learned a lot since then). And much the same could be said about the double-Ivy League-degreed Obama.

But if you throw a pebble up in the air at rush hour in Metro Center, you would very likely hit someone with an Ivy League degree. Succeeding at policy development and advocacy at the highest levels of government takes a lot more than that.

Marrying a top policymaker doesn’t magically grant you the rare skills necessary for your spouse’s profession, any more than marrying Serena would enable you to win Wimbledon.

I know few music fans who believe Yoko and Linda improved the music of John and Paul with their contributions.

Yet even if Obama is a natural and immediately grasps how Washington works, there is something troubling about the whole concept of a presidential spouse with a multimillion-dollar staff.

One. Can we wait for her to eff up before we start the hysterics? Two. Really? This is concerning to people? What do they think Michelle Obama is doing up there? Prancing around the White House wielding a saber knighting people while reciting lines from MacBeth? I know that some like to paint her as a dragon lady super villain, but as that has yet to materialize, all we can do is mull over her, and the rest of meritocracy, carving out their policy pieces in the Obama Administration.

Let’s see how it goes first, shall we?

11 thoughts on “Politico Warns of “Queen Michelle”

  1. Special skills required for her husbands job???????? Since when do you need special skills to be a policy maker? SHIT, the dude who used to be the #2 in the House, Tom DeLay, was a damn exterminator before he was in Congress. I don’t even know if he went to college, but somehow a double Ivy League grad is at a different level? All you have to do is get elected, and in some states the folks they throw up to the Congress and the Senate are sorry, canny but not intelligent or intellectual and not well educated. Of course many are but still. They need to STFU, as you said everything the woman does someone has to complain. I’m sure if she walked on water and turned water into wine someone would complain then. Between the treatment of the Obama’s those bloviators on the McNews channels, esp Faux, and their foolishness and now the crap they are trying to pull with MJ (his death is the death knell for Iranian freedom, really) I am about done with the establishment, white corporate media structure. MAKES ME SICK!!!!!!!!!!!On a sep note, I keep trying to go to vote for you on the blog nomination but whether I try at my work or home computer when I get to the page, it doesn’t let me click into any of the boxes. I voted for Field Negro for some stuff, after the first time I tried to vote for you, and it worked then but never for you, Snob. Is anyone else having problems? Is it the link?

  2. Is this IDIOT comparing Michelle Obama with Yoko Ono and/or Linda McCartney? Denigrating the double Ivy League degrees as if to say everyone has one (two)? Michelle wanting to sit in on a policy conversation or two does not equal her wanting Barack’s job. In the words of our dear departed MJJ, it makes me wanna scream. I am so over so-called journalists and news personalities spouting their opinions and reporting it as truth. I wonder if anyone can pinpoint the moment that "real news" folks realized that made up/opinion news fills pages and airtime too. Do they really believe Michelle hasn’t been sharing her opinions with Barack privately? If she’s decided to go public, I’m sure there’s a well-thought out plan and reason behind it. These are not folks that jump in the deep end without researching the hell out of the wave output. These stories raise my blood pressure…

  3. Obama Mama is gutsy. Her poll numbers right now are as high as Laura Bush. Since Michelle wants a bigger role, I guess she’s not seeking to be Miss Popular.

  4. She just wants to contribute…what’s wrong with that? Eleanor Roosevelt did it, Jackie Kennedy did, that drunk lady – Betty Ford did, EVERYONE knows what kind power Nancy Reagan had and still has… people please.Could we lay off Mrs. Obama for at least a year, maybe 2….all I’m asking.

  5. 1. "Can we wait for her to eff up before we start the hysterics?"No. I personally would prefer that she didn’t eff up. I would like for her to make informed, reasoned decisions. (Actually, I think she’s more than capable of doing this.)2. The Politico piece wasn’t as hysterical as it was wary. You might find that there’s an opposite point of view on another site that champions the idea of Michelle being involved in policy. There will always be contrarians, but this article wasn’t nearly as annoying as it could’ve been.3. Ok I’ll admit, that Yoko Ono business was unnecessary. 🙂

  6. Im pretty sure Michelle already has influence over policy b/c she has influence over her husband therefore she doesnt need to take an up front role as a member of his cabinet, they obviously worked as a team to get him where he is today why would they stop now?

  7. It must be miserable to deal with this much envy in your everyday life. These people are the types that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I feel certain that Mrs. Obama dismisses them all, as she should. Why they have this need to tell the first lady what she should or should not be doing is just so tired. They have never been First Lady, but they certainly act as if they have. Poor fools.

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