Countries:
Kenya, Israel, South Africa, Turkey
Candidates:
Barack Obama
Issues:
Gender, Government & Politics
 

Before yesterday, here’s a list of things most of us knew about Michelle Obama.

She is a Chicago-born, Harvard-educated lawyer.
Her first real date with Barack Obama was to see Spike Lee’s movie “Do the Right Thing.”
The magazine Vanity Fair recently rated her one of the best dressed women in the world, joining “French first lady Carla Bruni, Kate Middleton, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tilda Swinton, Daniel Craig and Angelina Jolie.”
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she said, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.”

That’s about it. On the first night of Democratic Convention, Michelle Obama spoke to a packed Pepsi Center and helped fill us in on her world and her thinking.

One may ask: Why should we focus so much on a candidate’s wife? The answer to that question, in some minds, is easy.

First, spouses are important. They say a lot about how a person perceives him or herself and what characteristics they look for. It was Joe Klein, a columnist for Time Magazine, who told BBC reporters before Michelle Obama's speech that choosing a wife is likely a person’s most important decision, and we can actually rate Barack Obama’s decision by watching how Michelle handles herself. Viewing spouses on the big stage is so important that earlier this summer, the blog Turkey Talk proposed that prospective first ladies should also debate just so we get a better feel of their traits.

Secondly, instead of focusing solely on policy briefs and platforms, election watchers should be investigating the little things that candidates do, for these are the windows that shed more light on their prospective presidency. Don’t just look at the issues surrounding Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, but also observe Obama’s reasons (and methods) for choosing the Delaware Senator.

Which brings us to the question: What did Michelle Obama tell us about the prospect of having an Obama White House?

In his blog, Ray Hartley, the editor of The Times in Johannesburg, South Africa, believes that Michelle Obama’s speech “signals an inward-looking Obama presidency.”

Michelle Obama’s opening speech at the Democratic Convention was a masterpiece of rhetoric aimed at rousing Americans into believing that Barack Obama would rescue them from debt better than John McCain. It was very much a speech in the “family values” tradition - which is to be expected from a spouse - which suggests to me that foreign policy on Iraq will not be as big an issue as the economy.

However, there is one problem with this.


Which, in turn, means that Africa will fall off the radar in an Obama presidency.

From Kenya, the Godfather atAbantu EFX was more than moved by the family references in Michelle Obama’s speech.

Mentioning Hillary Clinton's sacrifices on the American people, Michelle tickled emotions and a thunderous acclaim which maybe did its magic at pacifying perceived ‘bad blood' between her husband Barrack and the Clinton's.

And when Powerful Barrack joined in via satellite from Kansas city, to congratulate his wife, the convention hall seemed to be overtaken by familial emotions when the Obama's and their children played put a loving family setup in front of millions of people around the world.
While watching the whole show though the night, far, far away from the United States, I have never been so taken over by such political grandeur like the Democrats did of me last night. This is going to be a contest to watch.

However, an anonymous commenter argues that no matter how moving the speech, it was politically irrelevant to most Americans.

no amount of rehearsed speeches from the otherwise politically irrelevant wife will move the americans. entertainment yes, votes no!!! even comedians and music stars attract bigger crowds so nothing to move any american.

just continue dreaming like all kenyans…we do not elect blacks to white house..not yet!!!

Not so fast, argues Jewish blogger (and social entrepreneur) Daniel Lubetzky. The speech should provide Americans a different view of Michelle and her commitment to her country.

Her speech should shatter any sown doubts about her patriotism, & her commitment to what is great about America & the American dream. More important, seeing the family interact with such natural warmth should highlight their commonality with all Americans and hopefully uproot vestiges of race-based suspicion.

For VivirLatino, it was Ted Kennedy — and not Michelle Obama — who stole the night.

…Ted has lived a live of accomplishments that can not be compared to any other politician (though Nancy Pelosi likes to think she can). He has revolutionized the power the Senate holds and he has flourished into the best politician in the Kennedy family tree. No matter what obstacle is thrown his way (George Bush) he can tackle it face on and recently that was seen with his cancer. When I watched the beautiful video tribute before his speech I began to cry. The fact that he came to Denver when it was advised of him not to because of his health really states what kind of man he is. His speech was eloquent and passionate with the right amount of force. He stole the night away…yes that include you Michelle Obama.

As members of the mainstream press pointed out that Michelle tried to “ground Sen. Barack Obama in the working class,” at least one blogger said that’s the whole problem with his candidacy. The root of the issue lies with the democratic party, which is too rooted in anti-establishment, blue-collar roots, says the wocha, from Kenya, notes:

i shake my head in disaapointment as i watch the democratic party muddle their presidential asspirations. i often say they are too democratic for their own good. it doesn't help that the democratic party's presumptive nominee is thumbing his nose at corporate america. big business is a staple in the white house and for this reason, 44 will be none other than john mccain.

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