It wasn’t clumsy enough.

Michelle Obama gave a speech last night at the Democratic National Convention that was polished, beautifully presented, and seemingly very effective at inspiring the Base of the Democratic Party.  I don’t know who wrote it, but he or she or they did a very good job of painting a picture of a man who was well grounded, humble, hard-working and ‘just like you.’


Thanks to CBS News

What struck me was the contrast to the Ann Romney speech a week earlier.  Ms. Obama was so much more polished and read her lines so well by comparison.  Ann Romney seemed at times to have trouble telling her story, and, reading her script.  Though her talk was very effective in its own way, it was far less of a political campaign speech than Michelle Obama’s.  It was clumsy at times and in being that, it seemed more genuine.  To be believed by other than the Party Faithful, Ms. Obama needed to be less perfect, less the professional speaker.

I couldn’t help but think of an actress like Lucille Ball.  Ball was known on screen as the bubbly, cute, always happy, caring wife.  She played her part/read her lines well.  In real life, as reported by a friend who knew her well, she was mean, petty, egotistical and controlling, none of which showed up on stage.  Lucille Ball was a very good actress.  Last night I had the impression that Michelle Obama is a very good actress.  I know little of what Ms. Obama is like off camera, but have read reports that her skin is not as thick as she claims and that she can be vindictive and controlling.  You would have to ask Oprah about that.  But I couldn’t get away from the feeling that she was doing an Oscar worthy job of playing her role.

The other thing that struck me was when she discussed what really sold her on Barack when they were dating.  “But when Barack started telling me about his family — that’s when I knew I had found a kindred spirit, someone whose values and upbringing were so much like mine.”  Really? “…so much like mine?”  Michelle was raised in a traditional family in Chicago, by her stay-at-home mom and her wage-earner father.  Barack was raised by his single mother in Honolulu, then his mother and step father in Urban Indonesia, then by his grandparents and a mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, in Honolulu.  His mom, who was in and out of his life until he left home for College, was an atheist.  Michelle’s parents were active Methodists.  Was Ms. Obama’s point here to attempt to portray Barack Obama’s upbringing as mainstream?  Not even close.

This reminds me of the disingenuous ad and numerous speeches given during the Obama ’08 campaign about his mother’s death.

“I remember my mother. She was 52 years old when she died of ovarian cancer, and you know what she was thinking about in the last months of her life? She wasn’t thinking about getting well. She wasn’t thinking about coming to terms with her own mortality. She had been diagnosed just as she was transitioning between jobs. And she wasn’t sure whether insurance was going to cover the medical expenses because they might consider this a preexisting condition (emphasis mine).  I remember just being heartbroken, seeing her struggle through the paperwork and the medical bills and the insurance forms. So, I have seen what it’s like when somebody you love is suffering because of a broken health care system. And it’s wrong. It’s not who we are as a people.”

In fact, she was employed by the same company throughout her illness and had health care coverage.  Maybe the fact that she was first diagnosed in Indonesia with ‘indigestion’ and was not seen by an American Doctor for months had more to do with her death than her health care coverage.   Finding a motivation for political action in your own life experience may be an effective tool, but it works so much better when there is a glimmer of truth in the story.

Michelle Obama also told of how she and Barack struggled ‘just like you’ when they were first married.  “And believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage.”  Did she forget to mention that at that time she and Mr. Obama were both employed as attorneys at one of the largest law firms in the world, Sidley Austin, and together made well into 6 figures – quite a bit more than the average family and very far from struggling.  By 1993 (just five years out of law school) they owned in a two story condo worth over $250,000 and by the time Mr. Obama was a state senator, they lived in a house worth well over 1.5 million dollars.  People in their early 40s living in million dollar homes are hard to classify as ‘struggling.’

“Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are — it reveals who you are.”  Based on his performance to date, I think it reveals a man who was ill prepared for the job and who has failed to accomplish but a few of his promised goals for his ‘first term’ in office.  But Ms. Obama’s telling of the story put a shiny bow on it, much like campaigning on hope and change – long on flattering rhetoric and short on facts.

“I love that for Barack, there is no such thing as “us” and “them” — he doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or none of the above (emphasis mine). … He knows that we all love our country, … and he’s always ready to listen to good ideas. … He’s always looking for the very best in everyone he meets.”  This she said with a straight face about the man who demonizes Republicans at every turn and regularly pits the “middle class” against “the rich.”

Yes, it was a polished speech.  It was well delivered.  To me it seemed anything but genuine and it stretched facts to the breaking point.  Where are the famous liberal and mainstream media fact checkers when you need them?