The ‘Mom in Chief’ sets the bar high

Updated
 

Let’s just say the president isn’t the only one in the Obama family who knows how to bring the house down with an exceptional speech.

First Lady Michelle Obama’s remarks at the Democratic National Convention was, on the surface, a celebration of her husband, and an appeal for support. No doubt mindful of public frustration and a fear that some Obama supporters may stay on the sidelines this year, letting progress slip away, she stressed a bigger picture.

“I love that even in the toughest moments, when we’re all sweating it – when we’re worried that the bill won’t pass, and it seems like all is lost – Barack never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise,” Michelle Obama said. “Just like his grandmother, he just keeps getting up and moving forward…with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace. And he reminds me that we are playing a long game here, and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once. But eventually we get there, we always do.”

But what amazed me about the speech was its ability to be deeply political entirely through implication. As E.J. Dionne Jr. noted, “The most devastating attack on Mitt Romney at Tuesday’s Democratic Convention came from Michelle Obama, who did not mention Romney’s name and said not a single cross thing about him…. If Romney was the son of privilege, she and her husband were anything but. What she said directly is that Barack Obama understands people who are struggling. What she didn’t have to say is Mitt Romney doesn’t.”

The president, she explained, understands and fights for working people precisely because of his background – they and their families struggled; they faced crushing debt; they “turned down high paying jobs … because for Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

Left unsaid: “unlike a certain vulture capitalist you may know who intends to cut student aid while giving billionaires another tax cut.”

There were several other worthwhile speeches delivered last night – unlike in Tampa, Democrats aren’t afraid to talk about their nominee – but it was the First Lady who stole the show.

“If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire … if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores … if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote … if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time … if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream … and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love … then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream.”

Top that, Mr. President.

Democratic National Convention

The 'Mom in Chief' sets the bar high

Updated