Thursday, August 28, 2008

All About Expectations

Well, life moves along briskly. Organizing three events simultaneously has been a challenge for me - partly because of the newness factor and partly from the sheer quantity of things to think about. It's been a good challenge though since I have a minor adrenaline beast living inside me at times...and moments like these feed that beast.

Between work and the political theater, it's been a full week. Michelle Obama's impassioned Tuesday address made me wonder what Cindy McCain's going to say next week and will it be any different? I certainly don't want a 2-for-the-price-of-1 President so it makes sense to me that spouses' speeches, if they have to be given at all, stick to more neutral topics.

But in a year when a woman came closer to the Presidency than ever before, it's sad that wives are not only relegated but expected to address topics of hearth and home and standing by their man. To address the spin campaign in place to alienate the Obamas from voters, the yardstick of success for Michelle Obama was in how much she could humanize her family and show that they, too, had lived an authentically American life. Despite any number of opinions about more controversial issues, there was no way she could have given any other kind of speech - even if she'd wanted to.

My objection isn't to how her success was measured. After all, she had a goal and she hit her mark admirably.

My point is that the role of humanizer was always going to fall to her. As smart, talented and remarkable as she might be in her own right, her role was always going to be that of supportive wife. High profile, non-political male spouses are still relatively rare, but you and I both know that no husband would be expected to give a speech like the one Michelle Obama gave on Tuesday night.

Other Democratic Convention thoughts: I liked the fire in Kerry's address. Wish he'd given that speech a few more times four years ago. I'd like to note that CNN compared the two conventions' scheduling strategies to Spinal Tap, i.e. "you got two Clintons? Oh yeah? Well, we got two Bushes." Yup. And then Wolf Blitzer just confessed to lurving The Barenaked Ladies. Me, I always look forward to John King and his maps.

I'm glad I'm in DC this fall. 'Nuff said.

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