Michelle Obama’s Convention Speech

Posted by Katherine | August 28, 2008 – 9:52 am
Michelle Obama speaking at convention
[rklau / Flickr]

If Twitter and swing states are anything to go by, Michelle Obama pretty much rocked her audience on Monday night with her convention speech. The blogosphere echoed with praise, too, but also with pointed analysis and critiques. Here’s a taste of it all.

John Klomp is a gay artist who splits his time between Delaware and Florida. Michelle’s speech (and Ted Kennedy’s) made him proud that the Democrats are reclaiming certain values from the GOP:

The Republican Party stole family values and true Christian practice from us, altered and damaged them! It’s good to see the party reclaiming true/actual family values and Christian practices as its own (and that includes separation of church and state).

Papamoka from Worcester, Massachusetts, is the father of five girls. He has never been as inspired by a political speech as he was by Michelle’s. And he was a sucker for Malia and Sasha’s tour de force at the end:

Hearing his babies interact with their Daddy touched my heart. I loved the little ham act and the love that they showed to their Daddy. I could picture my baby girls doing the same thing on a world stage. Tens of thousands of people behind Obama’s daughters applauding didn’t mean a single thing because Daddy was on the video prompter behind the podium and interacting with them as Daddy’s will do.

Michelle Obama scored a solid ten on this speech. She is not just a well educated woman married to Barack Obama but she is a Mom, a wife, and an American citizen that has worked hard for the people with the least audible voices in America. God bless her!

“In a Blue State in a Red State of mind” Mary (we just featured her here on Biden’s Springfield speech) felt Michelle’s speech was manipulative. She also didn’t understand what Michelle meant by “the world as it is” vs “the world as it should be”:

“America should be a place where you can make it if you try.”

Note to Michelle and Barack: America IS already a place where you can make it if you try.

They are living proof of that.

Guest blogger Olivia Taylor-Young believes the speech set feminism back several decades:

Michelle Obama is an accomplished, professional woman. Her life experience stretches far beyond home and family. She has reaped educational and occupational benefits made possible by the struggles of women in previous generations. Yet, on opening night of the Democratic convention, I watched this brilliant, articulate Harvard Law graduate present herself to the world as a modern day June Cleaver. The only thing missing was her string of pearls.

[…] [A]t a time when the first serious woman presidential candidate was subjected to unrestrained misogyny, the women who now hopes to be our next First Lady is coyly presenting a façade of traditionalism.

Group blogger Dhalgren lives in New York and is going to marry the sexiest doctor in town. He heard the speech completely differently and thinks Michelle Obama nailed it as a third-wave feminist:

She misses being an official member of Generation X by one year, but Michelle Obama is just like Generation X feminists. Simply put, she equates her family with her own ambitions, she equates women with men, she is fearless, and she never plays the victim card.

That’s my girl. That’s millions of Gen-X women. And that’s Michelle Obama. A ’21st Century Woman.’ Not a perfect speaker. Not a slick CEO. Not a trophy wife either. She’s for real. She was herself last night, and addressed the nation as a jury.

Chaunceydevega from wearerespectablenegroes.blogspot.com praises her grace onstage:

[S]he has swallowed a sour and bitter pill in order to help her husband become the next president of the United States.

Consider: Michelle Obama has been smeared and cast as a traitor, as unAmerican, as disloyal, as Angela Davis and Elaine Brown rolled up into one person. She has had her personhood and demeanor micromanaged and analyzed and critiqued by all manner of pundits and fools. Yes, this is obligatory in politics–especially as one runs for president elect and first lady–but, the particularly potent cocktail of race and gender has made this vetting especially upsetting and cloying to watch.

Michelle, as you go through this experience, as you are critiqued by people, […] you are demonstrating a superhuman level of self-control, discipline, and humility. You are a far better person than most of us are, and in this grace you are in fact demonstrating precisely why you would make a wonderful first lady and adviser to Barack Obama.

Chancey is happy and proud, but he’s also angry that the race gap in America, though narrowing, still means “this accomplished person has to justify herself as sufficiently ‘American,’ ‘middle of the road,’ ‘wholesome.’” Check out the whole post.


  1. One Response to “Michelle Obama’s Convention Speech”

  2. Thank you for the link. Appreciate it!

    By Papamoka on Aug 30, 2008

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