Behind every great man...

Is a great woman with the potential to hurt his presidential shot?


Tracy Clark-Flory
May 19, 2007 1:02AM (UTC)

Maybe today's New York Times profile of Michelle Obama is an attempt to make up for Maureen Dowd's hysterical (meaning both unhinged and ha-ha, she-can't-be-serious) take on the "princess of South Chicago's" emasculating ways. Thankfully, this story moves us beyond the shock that Michelle isn't serving as a sycophantic sidekick to Barack, her hubby-turned-presidential hopeful.

The profile takes care to portray her "propensity for bluntness" and "fierce competitive drive" -- both of which seem total attributes. I actually found myself somewhat charmed by her brother's description of her distaste for defeat -- "even now [she] pouts when a board game does not go her way," says the Times. She's a Princeton and Harvard grad who made over $200K as a hospital executive (before taking a hefty pay cut to help out with her husband's campaign). She volunteers. She plays mom to two kids. And, she's rumored to work as a costumed crime-fighter in her spare time! (Kidding.) The Times paints Michelle Obama as your average, down-to-earth mother attempting the work-life balance, just ... more intimidating. ("Everyone in the family is afraid of her," her brother jokes.)

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I'm won over by her brassy, brainy style, but is the rest of America ready for her? Assuming for a minute that the media's focus on Michelle shifts from oh-no-she-didn't critiques to "gosh, she's impressive" odes and public perception follows suit, will it strengthen Barack's presidential shot? Or, is a strong man seen as a lesser leader -- and lesser man -- by standing next to an equally strong woman?


Tracy Clark-Flory

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