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Michelle Obama's Sad Transformation

The transformation of Michelle Obama from a bracingly proud contemporary woman -- mother, wife, career woman -- into a prime time Betty Crocker was sad to see. This is not to say that she was not up to the task assigned her Monday night. She spoke well and looked swell. But her speech was like one of those buildings where the interior structure can be seen. You could watch her hit all her marks, answering, point by point, the uninformed criticism: angry, although mighty privileged, black woman. Never mind that that was a canard. Just as much a canard was the woman who spoke almost entirely of motherhood and wifehood and the incredible greatness of America -- a land once of searing racism, which, if mentioned, is seen as proof of irrational rage and for which whites now have three words: get over it.

The transparent purpose of the speech, its kitchy effort to reassure, gave Michelle Obama a glaze of insincerity. In the post-speech commentary, many of the TV types, schooled now in empathy and not objectivity, gave her high marks for what she did. But what she had really done, she had done earlier in her life. Last night, she gave the standard “Log Cabin” speech expected of nearly all American public figures -- born poor, raised in faith, etc. -- with nary a mention of race. It was a speech designed to reassure, but it did not do that at all. Politics can sometimes be ugly. In this case, we witnessed how a dynamic woman with a razor-sharp intellect had -- for the moment -- been lobotomized. If it happens also to her husband, John McCain will have one more house come January.

By Richard Cohen  | August 26, 2008; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  Cohen  | Tags:  Richard Cohen  
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Comments

Cohen spot on!!Betty Crocker REDUX!!

Posted by: BARON | August 26, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I like this article., Dude!! LOL. I thought it was an Ok speech, It didnt move me or anything. But I thought It was a postive speech that wouldnt hurt Obama's Chances. New Poll numbers came out in Ohio today that show McCain and Obama Tied. So what can McCain do to change these Poll numbers to his favor?. Probably the right VP. If I am not wrong Huckabee got 26% of the vote here in Ohio., A strong second. Even though he wasnt running any longer. Wonder If McCain remembers that little fact.
http://www.mccanes.com/newparty.html
I guess McCain does have alot in common with Bush, it seems he might have an old DUI too. You can see bushes Dui record and a possible McCane Dui at the following website. http://www.duihelpguide.com

Posted by: Peter | August 26, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

This stale leftover has lost all semblance of appeal.

Compost him now - Please!

Posted by: Gstark123 | August 26, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I like this article. I dont think people really know who Obama is. I go out of my way to learn who he is., Becuase I know who McCain is and I am not very excited at all about him. Obama has been saying good things latley. But His past is a little shady to me. If he had a more straight forward past I would vote for him in a second. But He has the issue of the school he went to when he was a child, his paper work says he was a muslim. I want to believe that he is a christian I just want to be sure. Then their is a trip he took to pakistan when he was in college? These are things I just cant over look. His best friends were pakistani. These are strange circumstances. I will vote for Obama if he can put my mind at ease on these issues? I dont know how he can do this. But I want to believe in the change he offers. Just my logic wont let me embrace him till these questions are answered. http://www.theobamaplan.com

Posted by: KANYE | August 26, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Posted by: Robin Alexander | August 26, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding? Have you ever thought that this may actually be part of her life? I guess it is too much of a stretch to assume she is a caring mother and wife. A woman talks of loving her children and is called sad. Just unbelievable.

Posted by: Eric | August 26, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Bring on the dick weeds, there will be plenty of them. Nothing she could have done would satisfy the right nut wings in this country as shown with Cohen diatribe.

Posted by: hmmmmmer | August 26, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

What a dork...talk about lobotomy!!!

Posted by: Mike | August 26, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Bring on the dick weeds, there will be plenty of them. Nothing she could have done would satisfy the right nut wings in this country as shown with Cohen diatribe.

Posted by: hmmmmmer | August 26, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

More partisan-hackery from Cohen. What else is new.

Posted by: postpartisan | August 26, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Richard - Your being a jerk!

Posted by: Washington | August 26, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Oh, puh-leeze. No white woman, including Cindy McCain, would EVER have had to give a speech like that. The problem isn't that Michelle Obama demeaned herself by giving the speech, it's that she was forced to give it at all. Yes, there are still people who find a smart, articulate, tall African-American woman "intimidating" who would never be intimidated by the same characteristics in a Caucasian woman. This is, of course, racism. But, to borrow a quote, racism is like bad breath or body odor: it's the person who calls someone out on it who's the jerk. So Michelle Obama's just trying to deal with it, which makes her a better person than any of us who put up with it and say nothing.

Posted by: Elaine | August 26, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

So what about Cindy? If she gives a "corporate executive" speech then she's too pushy and domineering? If she gives an "I'm a wife and mother" speech then she's being insincere? If she doesn't give a speech at all then what is she hiding?

I hope we hear the same questions raised. Regardless, McCain isn't going to have another house in January.

Posted by: thebob.bob | August 26, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree more. The whole purpose of this speech was to reassure voters that the Obamas share the same middle-class family values as mainstream Americans.

Speeches by spouses and other family members are always to be taken with a grain of salt. What are they going to say, that their husband/son/brother drinks too much or has a terrible temper? Of course, it's going to be a valentine, designed to convince the audience that their relative is really a great guy.

Note, however, that the parts of the speech that got the biggest applause lines were policy matters. Every time she criticized the Bushes or mentioned a policy proposal, the crowd cheered.

Posted by: Dave R | August 26, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I am not related to, nor have I ever met Mr. Cohen, but he was "right on" regarding Mrs. Obama's speech last night. I have been criticized for not being impressed, so I appreciate what Mr. Cohen wrote

Posted by: Harold Cohen | August 26, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

so let's see--she can't express political opinion, because then she's "angry." she can't love her family, because then she's "betty crocker."
it's not hard to see michelle obama could please cohen best by shutting up and going away--which, i must confess, is how mr. cohen could best please me. another of the wapo's stable of unimpressive, unthinking old white men, he should be an embarassment to any contemporary newspaper.

Posted by: kathleen | August 26, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Elaine said, "Yes, there are still people who find a smart, articulate, tall African-American woman "intimidating" who would never be intimidated by the same characteristics in a Caucasian woman. "

Are you serious? Do you really think that the 50% of America who show up in polls as disliking Hillary Clinton aren't "intimidated" by the fact that she's an intelligent woman?

Race has nothing to do with this. For some reason, our country likes to "dumb down" the people running for office. Rather than use Obama's Ivy school background, they'll probably try dumbing that down as well.

Intelligence doesn't work in America. After all, voters reelected Bush didn't they?

Posted by: Gary | August 26, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

BINGO!!!!

You NAILED it!!!

Posted by: MJ | August 26, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

After reading these comments, there is no
wonder we (United States of America)is in the circumstances that we are in. The
ignorance is overwhelming!

Posted by: zgirl | August 26, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

------
Last night, she gave the standard “Log Cabin” speech expected of nearly all American public figures -- born poor, raised in faith, etc. -- with nary a mention of race.
-------

I tend to enjoy it when people don't mention race.


--------
Politics can sometimes be ugly. In this case, we witnessed how a dynamic woman with a razor-sharp intellect had -- for the moment -- been lobotomized. If it happens also to her husband, John McCain will have one more house come January.
--------

Of course she as (somewhat) lobotomized. You yourself noted that she did her job of giving 'the standard “Log Cabin” speech.' I certainly don't suspect the same will happen to her husband on Thursday, as I expect his speech to take a different approach and have a different and sharper tone.

Posted by: hey | August 26, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Richard Cohen, neo-con, is in the tank for John McCain of "Bomb, bomb, bomb. Bomb, bomb Iran" fame. He has been critical of the Obamas on almost everything. As such, he is not to be taken seriously. If Michelle came out castigating the US for its race relations, Obama would be through, and Cohen would be delighted.

Posted by: Dan | August 26, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Better Betty Crocker than Cindy "Bette Davis a la Baby Jane" McCain!

Cohen, you lost me when you got about how Stephen Colbert made you guys look like fools. Wahhhhh, cry some more you little crybaby.

Posted by: Frank | August 26, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen represent all the worst of the Democratic party. Michelle Obama took the typical wife speech and added a huge amount of substance to it.

In fact she made someone like myself, a cynical independent, realize that she was not what the media has been portraying her as, a black woman who is angry at America.

This is a person who has a huge heart as well as a strong head. Sure she didn't do 20 minutes on campaign issues. But guess what, we aren't voting for Michelle Obama to be president.

Michelle Obama showed that she and her husband didn't start out with money, she showed us that she got were she is because her family instilled values and a work ethic in her, she showed that she cares about folks who aren't rich and powerful. And she showed that she is a great mother.

Michelle Obama did some amazing things in a short speech. And the fact that Mr Cohen can't see that says more about his own blinders that about her.

Posted by: TimT | August 26, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

A beautifully written speech. Perfectly delivered. But...I remain unconvinced.

Between the "mean" country remarks and the questionable associates of the Obamas I was hoping for a little less fluff and a little more meat.

The polls today have Obama and McCain both at 45%. Hopefully tomorrow Obama will be able to more clearly define himself to those undecideds that continue to elude him.

Posted by: Diane Sephalon | August 26, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Cohen, you are a doofus. Next time be sure to write about how sincere Hillary is when she speaks of supporting Obama - don't neglect to describe all the little rhetorical signals, like raised eybrows, and strategic pauses that signal to her estrogen-crazed disciples that she does not really mean what she says.

Posted by: Yuri Lipitzmeov | August 26, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Cohen: get over it. According to your conservative media mogul money masters, it's just show business. Right ?
Michelle's was a 5-star performance, delivered with genuine feeling and veracity. And her superior intellect shone through ! That bothers you ? Paucity of speech and poverty of the intellect are now the Cohen standards for the American presidency ? Tsk-tsk-tsk. Do I detect envy ?

Posted by: mihalovitch | August 26, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Judas Priest on a Pony, Cohen! There are two ways Obama can lose this, and they dovetail. One is to be seen as radical, an alienated outsider far outside the mainstream. The other is to be seen as unfit for command, manifestly unqualified to be CINC. If the GOP succeeds in the first, they succeed in the second. Michelle Obama's humanizing speech does much to counter GOP efforts to define Obama as radical. The anecdote about his over-cautious nature driving the wife and child home from the hosital was pitch-perfect in establishing this man does not have a radical bent.

They are trying to win. And a Lorraine Hobbs rant out of Network was not going to get the job done. In fact, such an approach does the GOP's dirty work for them.

Think, Cohen.

Posted by: pinhick | August 26, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Richard, you're making me laugh almost as much as Dana Milbank does. Keep it up, please!

Posted by: ch | August 26, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Cohen? Who the hell is Cohen?

Posted by: jteague | August 26, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I've met Michelle, and her husband several times prior to the caucus. I supported Biden, but always liked the Obama family. The Michelle Obama I saw on TV, is the exact same Michelle Obama I saw several times in person in Iowa, as well as on interviews, and on C-span.

I'm a mom, and I practice law full time I find your reference to Michelle being transformed into a Betty Crocker not only offensive, but baffling. First off I don't recall anything being mentioned about cooking/food. If your reference is her outfit and hair style, I'd buy that except, she hasn't changed her hair style, and the outfit she wore, is similar in cut/style to the type she always wears, hence no transformation.

Apparently her failure to mention race is what draws you to your conclusion. That's crazy, although I heard pundits say they were surprised she didn't mention growing up black in America. Excuse me, this wasn't a radio interview of an unknown person on PBS about her accomplishments. Michelle's black, she is not so light skinned that she can "pass", she is a beautiful, intelligent strong, multi-faceted black American women, anyone looking at her can see she is a black women, she doesn't need to add that to her speech, it's redundant. Nor do many, if any, people need to be told that her accomplishments required more hard work due to her race. Furthermore, if she had mentioned the additional struggles due to race, there would be those that would claim (without any supporting facts)that her race actually helped her, that a white male wouldn't have got into Princeton on a scholarship, she was a quota. Why go there? And maybe it's only because Chicago is only hours away, but where I'm from when you say you're from the south side of Chicago, you're already saying you are from the working class, or working poor, or even from the non-working poor.

I loved Michelle's speech, and loved her brother!

Posted by: iowan | August 26, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Obama hit a grand slam last night and every fair-minded American knows it. Mr. Cohen, unless you can prove that Michelle's speech evoked "a glaze of insincerity" and that of a woman who had "been lobotomized," I think you should listen again to her speech and rewrite your opinion. The tears streaming down the faces of some of the delegates in the convention hall and from the face of my wife seating at home were real. They were real tears because Michelle Obama expressed her real feelings. Do you doubt that she loves her country? Do you doubt that she loves her husband and her children? Do you doubt that she loves her mother and father? Do you doubt that these are all common American sentiments? Please make the case if you think she was lying. Furthermore, she powerfully rebuked the idiocy of racism by simply standing before all American last night as the beautiful, intelligent, highly educated, and gifted African American woman she is. America got that, Mr. Cohen.

Posted by: BLeon | August 26, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, get ready to embrace your next President.... Barack Obama.

Posted by: Anissa | August 26, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

More schlock from the schlock-meister. Pure garbage....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse


What can one expect from Cohen, what with his "issues" with women? After all, the reason he's stationed in NYC is he groped so many women at the Post's HQ in DC. He's a Great Satan and upskirter.

As to Mrs. Obam's speech, it was aces.

Posted by: Parakeeta Byrd | August 26, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

You, sir, are a self-absorbed ass.

Posted by: jmsbh | August 26, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Betty Crocker? Lobotomized? Huh? Please someone check Cohen's ears, eyes and mind to see if he heard the same speech so many of us did last night. If he heard the same speech, then check his pulse! Cohen probably thinks King's "I have a dream" speech was too lofty and sappy! Because his assessment has more than just a glaze of insincerity in it, I suspect Cohen somehow needed to give Michelle Obama a bad review no matter what she said. And that deserves a three word response: get over it!

Posted by: Jay | August 26, 2008 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Poor Michelle, can't win. If she gave the kind of speech Cohen claims she should have given, she would have taken heat from people who think she's too domineering (I'm looking at you Maureen Dowd).

Posted by: Gus | August 26, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

It's called humanity, Mr. Cohen. And there are a few (million) of us outside the beltway who think it's just what was needed.

Posted by: Peter | August 26, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

A nice speech, well-delivered, but no one in their right mind thinks that this wasn't focus-grouped, written by someone else, and completely phony.

Political theater is ridiculous. There's all this talk about how great a speech this was, when everyone knows that there's nothing authentic about it. If you like Obama you loved it, if you don't like Obama you didn't care for it, and if you're undecided you don't give a crap.

Posted by: AK | August 26, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

I think the observations in this article are presented in a strange context. Her presentation las night was generally consistent to every other time I've seen her (twice in person and 20-30 times on TV), so I don't understand why the story is presented as if Michelle Obama had a 'transformation'. I feel like R. Cohen is comparing the Michelle of last night to a non-existent media image of her that had no basis in reality in the first place.

Posted by: DFG | August 26, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

This article is idiocy.

No white woman would EVER have had to give a speech like that. The hateful right-wing nuts brought this upon her...and they're undoubtedly proud of themselves for it.

They can't win on the issues so they devolve into personal attacks that require a personal response.

It (and this article) sickens me.

Posted by: kirkcx | August 26, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

We are going down hill fast!!! keep voting for another 4 more years of GWB thinking, people like Cohen, who never had to work hard for a living and owns a couple of homes, well he's the type of person that I want talking for me....what a moron!!!

Posted by: uglywart | August 26, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

She didn't sound authentic. She didn't sound like Michelle. I DO understand however the reason she had to tone it down and dial it back. I sincerely hope that once Barack wins the Presidency the real, vibrant, strong and authentic Michelle will emerge once more. In her authenticity she is a powerful role model for women. We don't need anymore caricatures ... bright, shiny, new people poured into the same old molds of Washington. Michelle needs to be ... and demonstrate ... the CHANGE message too.

Posted by: ACB | August 26, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, I agree with this article and the opening lines are hilarious! I am an Obama supporter, though. I just wish they'd leave that jive population they are after alone and stop pursuing their vote - when they wouldn't vote for them if he were THE ONLY OPTION period! It doesn't matter that he won the primary fair and square after all candidates started at zero delegates! It doesn't matter that he is highly qualified, capable, and committed to improving the conditions of all people in the U.S. - and our position/relations abroad just as equally as the other candidates - NONE of which has served as POTUS in any prior life! It doesn't matter that he comes from a quintessential 'melting pot' family tree and has a strong family unit of his own with everyday values and dreams for their kids! To that jive population it *only* matters that he's a Black Man - who can't be trusted to run the country, because of the guilt/shame/condemnation that racist white america (and before anybody goes off, I'm speaking only to racists here) has brought on itself - for fear he's going to single- handedly bring wrath down on them through some radical policy-making, that will ultimately cause all whites to be broke, busted, destitute, enslaved for the next 400 years, raped, sold off - WHATEVER. They don't even see Betty Crocker when they look at Michelle - they see Aunt Jemima. Who gives a #&%CK? Onward and Upward, Obamas! Let's get to the White House and fix this mess we are in now. You know, the one created by the guy and his lackeys that jive population put in office!!!

Posted by: LOL | August 26, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

SHE LOOKED ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!!STUNNINGLY AND ENCHANTINGLY, BEAUTIFUL!

AND, SHE DELIEVRED A FANTASTIC SPEECH, FOR THE OCCASION AND FOR THE TIME!

CONG. JACKSON DELIVERED A FANTASTIC SPEECH, AS WELL!!!!!!

Posted by: TURNERWREDD1234 | August 26, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I guess if you think Hawaii is in the continental U.S.A you would think she gave an intelligent speech. For someone supposedly educated, she had moments where I can see that our educational system is failing. Maybe she was nervous, wait, she is a lawyer isn't she.

Posted by: sven | August 26, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

God bless Michelle. She deserves an oscar. Unfortunately, we tall, smart, assertive women have to do this so we don't intimidate the sissies. Sorry, it's a fact of life. And tall, confident guys are up against the same thing if they ever get interviewed by a short man. What was that Randy Neuman song?

Posted by: LAR | August 26, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Given the legacy of George Bush/John McCain this race is so close because of "race". The 95% of blacks who vote for one of their own is countered by a large percentage of non-blacks who fall into the "influenced by race" category. Some are nutso, others are good people who happen to be prejudiced, probably subconsciously. This last category is sick, much in the same way an alcoholic is sick.

It is to that last category that Michelle's speech was directed. It was an attempt to connect on basic human levels family to family and mother to mother. If she had displayed the full range of her talents, latent racism, and probably sexism, would have been triggered.

My dad, God rest his soul, worked in a steel mill for 47 years. I heard him make bigoted comments on occasion. But I also know that when he dealt with hard working black co-workers on a one to one basis, he did so without hatred. He knew them personally and that made all the difference. I remember telling my husband 30 years ago that my dad was a general, but not a specific, bigot.

Obama is hoping to get past the inclination to racism by appealing to common values and experiences. The in your face approach might be more satisfying and righteous, but it triggers in your face backlash too.

Posted by: Ceee | August 26, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

You write drivel like this and you still have a job? Cripes if she said anything about being black, she would have been jumped for using the race card, and now that she is who she is ( a nice, accomplished, polished, statesque, mother and wife, who apparently for all to see is black) all of a sudden she's dumbed herself down to be Betty Crocker. Ok, so when Cindy does her little speech lets hear you dump on her for being a vapid, blonde, skinny, Stepford wife/heiress. Get a job, get a life, get some critical thinking skills you mindless progeny of a canus familiarus.

Posted by: jhopewell | August 26, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

jmsbh, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Posted by: MC55 | August 26, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I predict this will go down as one of the most memorable speeches in political history, irreversibly altering the American and even the global political map. "Get out of the new road if you can't lend a hand, for the times they are a-changing."

Posted by: I Quinn | August 26, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

The sad truth is that, if Obama loses, race will have played a HUGE role. The "get over it" mentality of whites in this country is their justification for the continued ignorance and bias that exists at every level.

Mrs. Obama was articulate and sincere yet even that isn't good enough for some. Whites are constantly telling minorities to "get over it" when it comes to race yet things such as this thinly-veiled racist article are why race is still a huge problem. If Obama's name had been Adams and he was white, McCain wouldn't stand a chance. NO ONE would be attacking Obama's supposed lack of credentials, he would be a "breath of fresh air" and a "fresh face" on the political scene. Then "change" wouldn't seem so scary.

But, as with many things, change is only acceptable when it comes in a white package. Bill Clinton faced many of the same criticisms as Obama, yet was elected and became the most successful president of the modern era (though conservatives have done a great hatchet job on his legacy). To some, it will not matter WHAT Obama does... there minds are already made up and they've turned to clowns like Cohen and Fox News to give them their bogus talking points.

The sad thing is that Michelle Obama has EVERY reason to be disappointed with her country, as does ANYONE, regardless of race, who is intelligent and compassionate and wants a better life for their children. "Conservatives" have gutted this country of its wealth, standing and moral center. We live in a nation controlled by cowards and hypocrites, people who would themselves avoid war but send other people's children to die. People who think that people without jobs or low-paying jobs should shoulder the majority of the tax burden. People who think that you want "entitlements" when, after working your entire life, all you get is a measly check that barely feeds or clothes you or allows you to get medical assistance. And people that will rob you blind in a jury-rigged financial system and then tell you that "that's capitalism."

I'm sick of these cowards. I don't know if Obama will change any of this but I KNOW McCain won't.

Posted by: James King | August 26, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Please, can you honestly see Cindy McCain doing a speech like that? Noooooo. Because she's taken on the role of the traditional politician's wife. So THERE is your Betty Crocker. And apparently her husband agrees since he recommended that she be entered in a beauty contest. Antiquated ideals and standards? Just follow the white hair of Mr. Cohen and Mr. McCain.

Posted by: Kelley | August 26, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I think this article says more about its author than Michelle Obama

Posted by: zou | August 26, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Cohen:

When your subject is a woman, nothing she does is ever enough for you. I suggest you get some help and deal with your unfinished feelings for the woman/women in your life from whom you feel abandoned. Until you do, why not leave them alone in your column (except you might consider leveling the score by playing Cindy McCain's privilege card; you'll have to work hard though to write something that isn't self-evident).

Posted by: Joe T | August 26, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure Richard Cohen should be writing anything entitled "Sad Transformation".

Posted by: Bryce | August 26, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Lobotomized? Mr. Cohen, you are deluded.

As a tall black woman with an even more affecting "Log Cabin" story -- and a law degree -- I was deeply impressed with the speech. It is precisely because of this country's past (and continuing) racial sins that Michelle Obama, from a highly exalted stage, can call America great. She's not ignoring the fact that many black people have not achieved what we have achieved; but she can't ignore that she's not the sole example of a successful black person in this country. As disappointing as it is, this IS a great county.

As for her supposed failure to mention race, get over it. Michelle chose to celebrate her role models and her triumphs; good for her. If she wants to rehearse all of the silly questions Princeton coeds asked about her hair, or all of the times people may have assumed she wasn't as capable as she had to prove herself to be, or all of the roadblocks her skin color has placed in her and her family's path, she can write a book. In this speech, she carried herself beautifully, and your failure to recognize the sincerity with which she spoke says more about you than her.

Why isn't she allowed more than one genuine public persona? Does highlighting her roles of mother, daughter, and wife make her seem less intelligent? Less insightful? A duller intellectual blade? As proud as I am of my education and my professional accomplishments, they don't hold a candle to the pride I take in my family. And I'm not running for public office.

I am thoroughly impressed that she presented an honest and uplifting portrait without ever referring to her race. I strongly believe that black people in this country would be better understood if, on occasion, we would speak to our commonalities with other and let our faces silently speak to our race. Unless our audience is blind, our faces help tell the story. Once the relationship has been established, words on race go down a lot easier.

Posted by: ausa_esq | August 26, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I guess Obama had to sue Harvard to get his magna cum laude degree.

Oh the creationists are out in force today. Got that pet dinosaur in your backyard? Right? Dinosaurs frolicked with the humans in your little make believe world.

Posted by: Ben | August 26, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

What a divergent commentary compared to Mr. Robinson's. His constant racist rants and biases towards Obama is pathetic. Michelle's appearance was trying to portray her as little lamb. Unfortunately, she's just a wolf in sheep's clothing. I feel sorry for those who claimed they wept when she spoke... All about dreams and hopes... Maybe she should tell everyone about how she and her husband are living the American dream on the backs of those who had to step aside for them due to affirmative action.. How they're living in house acquired with terrorist funding... how Obama blackmailed and threatened Harvard University with a discrimination lawsuit.... Maybe then they can explain their associations with William Ayers, Reverend Wright, Father Pghlager and others....

Posted by: LAMM01 | August 26, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

What else could she do. In this hyper critical society, everything she says will be parced to the nth degree. The slightest mispoken phrase will be repeated and magnified.

It isn't her, it's us and our society.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Get off the weed, Cohen. WTF?

What's next from your pen, "they're black, you know"???

Re-tire now.

Posted by: tony the pitiful copywriter | August 26, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

LAMM01 - This is the type of ignorant, cowardly comment that I would expect from a McCain supporter.

Posted by: James King | August 26, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Say what you will. Michell's intellect. charm, and ESPECIALLY her devotion to family, the sanctity of Marriage, etc. place both her and Obama on a pedestal far above that of divorcee McCain and the money he married.

Posted by: Lu Franklin | August 26, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

She's damned if she does. She's damned if she don't. You go girl.

Posted by: jt | August 26, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

I've thought she was great from the first time I heard her speak last winter, during the campaign.
Unfortunately, Americans have clearly shown that they don't like a First Lady with a sharp intellect and strong opinions. They want a Stepford Wife like Laura Bush or Pat Nixon. Yes, that was Michelle Lite last night and strategically it was probably the right call.
And what a loss for all of us.

Posted by: Carson | August 26, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Dammed if you do and dammed if you don't,why can't Cohen give her credit for being versatile. Here is a smart women who is intellectual and down to earth and Cohen says's simply because she a college graduate and a lawyer she can't form a common bond with regular hard working people. Look from whence she came, a hard working regular family that stressed education and it proved to be profitable for their daughter. I find it incredulous that he thinks it has to be one or the other. She's a living example that you do not necessarily have to born with a silver spoon in your mouth to be successful.

Posted by: Mike Gibbons | August 26, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

The truth is we don't REALLY care who the president is and we don't need to be introduced to them. We don't want to have a beer with them nor invite them over for dinner. What we want is someone who is competent. What we want is someone with more than a hammer in his tool bag. What we want is someone who will represent us.
Obama fits that mold.
Mrs Obama is not up for election. If we elected presidents based on their wives then GW1 would never have been elected.
And as many have said before, race will play a huge role in this election.
The Obama's represent the browning of America.
And when elected even the Congress will get its chance at some of that cathartism that is going around up in Denver. They will get in line and work together just so that "uppity-elitest" won't get the credit for what they do.
Obama does not need to be introduced or reintroduced.
The question that fails to be asked is why is John McCain not running away with this race? Surely he does not need to be introduced. He is a known quantity.
Why does McCain get free airing of commercials on news programs from anchors acting as if the mere thought of such commercial is breaking news.
Why does McCain not have a double-digit lead in the polls?
The Obamas are America's story just as many who read here are America's story. We are all America's story - the good and the bad. It is not owned by one group.
What we need is some reintroduction to what we need in a president - the ability to lead without bluster and govern for all who are represented.
Reintorduce that.

Posted by: Malcohm | August 26, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Where are the feminists who cried foul over the media's treatment of Hillary Clinton during the primaries? You have a strong, educated and outspoken (to be read "uppity" by the MSM) woman who it seems patterns her role as potential first lady after Hillary Clinton. I thought that would have been painfully obvious by now. Like Clinton she is being attacked for having the audacity to be more than a trophy wife. The funny thing is, Michelle Obama is forced to tell her story while after almost 8 years, we still know very little about what Laura Bush really thinks in her heart of hearts. Laura is the real Betty Crocker.

What is really sad--America only pays lip service to the idea of equality when it comes to gender and race. The real message being sent to our daughters--stand by your man but keep your mouth shut and if you're not white, how dare you have an opinion.

Posted by: gwt301 | August 26, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

What a stupid article........no wonder we, Americans and the United States of America, are in such bad shape! We should break down the barriers that divide us like racism! You sir, are an ignorant racist! I am sure Cindy McCain is more appealing to you even when she just stand there like a mommy behind her husband.

Posted by: Al | August 26, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

cohen's critique might have more credibility if he'd written anything over the last few months that had confronted the mccain campaign and its surrogates on the lies and distortions they have spread about michelle.
so she gets criticized for answering, as she has to, the scurrilous charges, while mccain gets a free pass for making it necessary that she even address those false and defamatory charges.
typical cohen.
what a joke.
does he even think about the contradictions in the things that he writes?

Posted by: frankie d | August 26, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

is dick is fraidy agin? he must have nightmares about O reaching the oval office. wonder what his skeletons are? we know Dicky is a repug shill but there must be more at stake or he would not be such a Relentless Shill. Mrs. O did a wonderful job and when D's do well, R's get scared. hilarious.

Posted by: preAmerikkkan | August 26, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Cohen, you shill. On message, doing your job of minimizing anything good and effective done by the Democratic opposition.

Michelle's speech was beautiful, strong, and effective. I was watching on three channels, and on each, the audience cuts showed (different) black and white men and women in joyful tears of affirmation.

Nobody is a caricature. Michelle Obama can be angry sometimes, warm sometimes, incisive often, wrong occasionally. Like all of us. She's a smart, capable, COMPLETE human being who happens to be black, happens to be a woman, and finally had the good judgement to marry Barack Obama.

Posted by: Martimr1 | August 26, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

This post is pathetic for a number of reasons. First, Michelle gave a good speech about being a mom, a sister, a daughter, a wife -- a woman. She knows how to play all of these roles very well and she knows that most of the rest of the public has been very critical of her as a woman, so discussing these topics likely improved her standing.

Second, as for not commenting on race, consider what would have happened if she did talk about it. What would have happened if Michelle went up there and talked concretely about race -- about being far more likely to be stopped while driving; about being far more likely to be asked for "help" in a high-end department store; about being far more likely to be excluded from country clubs, social groups and the like.

Finally, perhaps Michelle just wanted to go up there and be an American woman -- with concerns about her children, her husband, her country -- without mentioned the fact that she is a black American woman. Is there no room for that?

Posted by: teo | August 26, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, that's what stupid americans demand of first ladies. Hillary had to do it too.

Posted by: kurt | August 26, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I was moved by her speech. It was excellent in message and delivery, a refreshing change from the speeches of the current cast of characters we have running the country.

Of course her speech is going to respond to some of the critics. A man in the same position would use the opportunity to respond to critics i.e. use the same approach - but he would not be dismissed/ marginalized/put down/trivialized for his actions.

Labeling Michelle Obama a Betty Crocker is a total insult! She thinks, articulates and performs better than most male politicians we've seen in action over the past 30-40 years while mothering 2 children.

Posted by: EL Esparza | August 26, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

To James King: Sorry, but I'm not a McCain supporter. Perhaps you should have your facts straight instead of presuming. What am not is a blind follower of Senator Obama like you and so many others... If Barack and Michelle Obama cannot answer simple questions nor own up to their "privledged" existences, maybe they should stop whining about every imagined slight....

Posted by: LAMM01 | August 26, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

And to posters who say "no white woman would ever have to give a speech like that," I have to ask: What did you think when John McCain was offering Cindy up for the Miss Buffalo Chip hot and nasty beauty contest, and she just stood there silent and smiling? That was ACTUAL degradition of a woman. It is never degrading to any woman to give a speech that says good, true things about her life and her family. But it is ALWAYS degrading to ANY woman to be held out by her own man as an object of desire to other men, as if she were an expensive sports car that he owned.

Posted by: Martimr1 | August 26, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I'll second for Cohen's lobotomy, he really needs it. Sad? I did not perceive any sadness, if anything it was love for her dad and family. But I guess love is not something that the concervative nuts understand, they always use hate and fear to manipulate the public opinion...

Posted by: Impartial | August 26, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Cohen has shown again he is a waste of space....WASH POST - want to increase circulation - ditch irrelevant writers like Richard Cohen.

Posted by: Dave | August 26, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Cohen, and pundits like him, are the reason the American newspaper is dying. Rest in Peace!

Posted by: tom | August 26, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Lets face it, the only people who claim they aren't sure about -- or won't vote for -- Obama are simply being racist.

That's right, I said it but no one wants to admit it.

There has been more written and said about Obama that give true indications about his background (that he is NOT a muslim, that he IS patriotic, that his wife DOES love this country, etc.) that it is hard to see the logic in people who say they still don't "know" him.

America is in a sad, sorry state.

I pray that Obama wins despite peple like Cohen and others who try to hold Obama to a different standard because of who he is.

Jealousy. That's all it is, period.

Go Obama!!!

Posted by: Bill in DC | August 26, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Obama is a hottie, from her beautiful brain to her bountiful bootie.

Posted by: Hillman | August 26, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Richard:

It's time for you to retire. This is just an abysmal piece. If this was a rarity, then you would qualify for a pass. But it isn't. Sadly, we all get old, the mind clouds and we lose our mojo.

Hang it up. You are embarassing.

Posted by: T. Scheisskopf | August 26, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

It's more a reflection of the country...not her!

Posted by: Sam | August 26, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I totally loved Michelle Obama's speech.

As a wife and mother myself, I appreciated her sense of purpose, her gratitude to her parents for the struggles they endured to ensure that both her and her brother received a good education.

She is an inspiring, hard working, confident, intelligent American woman who will be an excellent role model for our young women.

Posted by: Mariannette | August 26, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I was totally awed by Michelle Obama's speech. I felt it was wonderful and I was very proud of Michelle, her brother (who introduced her) and her mother (in the audience). The Seattle Times headlines declared "THE AMERICAN DREAM ENDURES".

Michelle correctly recalled the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. For an accomplished woman to make a speech on the national stage of the Democratic Convention is very inspiring.

Anyone with ears to hear, and a heart to understand will know this speech was inspiring to all women throughout the world. I say BRAVO!

Posted by: Richard | August 26, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Damned if she did, damned if she didn't. The MSM is picking over Michelle Obama like a bunch of vultures yet her GOP rival gets no scrutiny at all. Michelle never stole drugs from her charity, never stole an older husband away from a disfigured wife and kids, never stole a $100 million inheritance away from her "ghost" half-siblings, cutting off their credit cards for good measure. Unbelievable ... but if you'd like a laugh check out this hilarious Cindy McCain parody ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT4tbdoZMmc

Posted by: Did you hear I'm a POW??? | August 26, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Sorry folks. Cohen was right on. It was almost like she was auditioning for a role on a soap opera. Where's the mature staright forward campaign I found so refreshing back in Feb and March? Where's the couple that looked the country in the eye and said what they fully believed to be the truth without this pathetic pandering to people who wouldn't vote for him no matter what he or his wife say. I don't see the same conviction. and this is coming from someone with a picture of this man framed in my house! I love what they are doing but people like me are getting turned off. People like me who actually go to Angela Davis lectures and support public radio. I feel like we're being traded in for "working class" americans which is code for racist white folks with no education who never vote their interests anyway. I'm a lot less inspired now unfortunately. But I'm not dumb anough to vote for Mccain. I'm still under 41 and that guys got "draft" in his eyes...

Posted by: gobama | August 26, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Does the washington Post actually have Editors that read the stories they print? Or do they print any and all ravings of the various columnists on their payroll? Is there any regard for reality? Really, what the hell is this article all about?
I only hope we can expect the same degree of criticism when it comes to one (or all) of John McCain's speeches.

Posted by: jcd1946 | August 26, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

The truth is that the only reason for a possible McCain's win is that a huge portion of America is racist and can't see voting a black family in the white house. There I said it

Posted by: color blind | August 26, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

This from a woman who was "ashamed" of her country? or some such? The hypocrisy boiling over in Denver is worthy of an Oscar. I'm watching the U.S. Open.

Posted by: Isabel Soto | August 26, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Well, the problem is, the "sincere" Michelle often came across as bitter and vindictive.

So what's better? An insincere, but nice, Michelle? Or a sincerely angry Michelle?

Posted by: Tom | August 26, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Isabel Soto, you are a idiot. Michelle is an American success story, how could she possibly be ashame of her country when she was able to elevate herself to be a Harward graduate? What are you a Jones university graduate?

Posted by: this is too much | August 26, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm an old white guy. Michelle Obama gave a terrific, memorable speech.

I used to like Richard Cohen's slant on things, but after this column I think that he must have forgotten to take his meds.

Michelle Obama had a difficult task to perform with her speech, and she did her job superbly.

Posted by: oldhonky | August 26, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

You sure have chip on your shoulder. So much so that you could not even hide your hatred. People like you with their personal agenda got us into the mess we are today. Just as women are trying to get over with the way Hillary Clinton was treated, then you came with your Betty Crocker silly characterization. Save that I did not like the way the Clintons campaigned against Obama, I really believe that the sooner women take over Washington, the better. The good old boys need Sabbatical.

JCI

Posted by: JCI | August 26, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow! With the gentle wanking style we've come to expect, Hiatt's token-liberal Cohen knocks another one through the u-tube!

Kudos!

Posted by: ibc | August 26, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

LAMM01 - Wow, the Obamas are "privileged"? I guess they would have been more acceptable as criminals?

Some people are never satisfied. Lift yourself up, get a great education, live the American dream and your are "privilieged." Or just coast through life getting by on your family connections, like MCCAIN, and you are somehow qualified for leadership.

You don't make any sense, LAMM01. Guess that just makes you a McCain shill.

Posted by: James King | August 26, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Cohen, the world will be a better place when all of the racist bigots like you dissipate. African-Americans have endured segregation and degradation without any reparation ever since slavery; therefore, I can not fathom why you feel Michelle would not be rankled with America; as an AA, she has had to fight for everything she has had to achieve in this country! You would not know her struggles because you are not one! Furthermore, African-Americans have had to also suffer economically, educationally, and politically, etc. because of some Mainstream Americans, and they even created the Jim Crow laws to further oppress us. The Civil Right Act was not pasted until the 1960’s.

Nevertheless,most African-Americans and other minorities have painstakingly made great strides in order to live productive lifestyles regardless of the aforementioned subtle acts of racism which still exist in America in the 21st century.

Be that as it may, the dismal state of the American economy has nothing to do with Barrack Obama. The asinine idiot who is in the White House now had the “experience”, and look at the debacle he has caused. In addition, love the Obamas or hate them, they have revolutionized the political arena and Barrack is like a rock star and he is know all over the world for his brillance, panache, and looks! People of all walks of life are excited about the upcoming election. No one has seen it since John F. Kennedy's election!

Suffice it to say, Michelle has had to transform herself into “Betty Crocker” because some Mainstream Americans abhor supercilious, erudite AA’s; her speech was profound and heartfelt, and her husbands will be even better! I can not wait to read your article about old wrinkled face George B. Mc Cain’s speech because the only way he will see the White House if he buys one!

Posted by: Barbara | August 26, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Richard Cohen just wants to be reassured, by a McCain presidency, that there's something for crazy old white men besides the rest home. Unfortunately for him, the caretakers are likely going through the halls as we speak, looking for him, because he obviously has lost touch with reality.

If Cohen is a "token liberal", who'd be far enough to the right to be a real conservative; Nero?

Posted by: Mark | August 26, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

What rational need could have compelled Mr. Cohen to focus on the few; painfully obvious moments of calculation in Michelle Obama’s speech? Moments undoubtedly calculated for a specific audience, an audience Mr. Cohen apparently believes would have been better served by a good scolding. And what leads Mr. Cohen to think we needed him to point out Michelle Obama’s transgression (not transformation) into the world of common politics? Perhaps the post speech commentators he derides as “schooled in empathy” were like me, seeing the forest. While making copious notes for describing the trees, Mr. Cohen missed an historic transformation taking place in America. And that really is sad.



Posted by: Kelly L. Scott | August 26, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Gobama, I'm with YOU!

Also to the others' remark: if you are going to be Damned if you do and damned if you don't....I say DON'T (bother)!

Posted by: LOL | August 26, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

What is all this nonsense about not knowing who Obama is?? Let you in on a little secret; we know who McCain is!
-Adulterer
-Flip flopper
-Experienced (in being wrong on the Iraq war and a 95% pro Bush voting record
-Raging nut when he's angry (called his current wife a runt with a c (in place of the r) and in front of people)
-Oh yeah, either he's a serial mis-speaker, or he's approaching senility..

Posted by: robsmarq | August 26, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

cohen, you're a tool...

Posted by: me | August 26, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

“If you Don’t Know me by Now…”


I must confess to being interested in hearing what potential American First Lady Michelle Obama had to say last night, during a National Democratic Convention speech that was broadly termed to be her: “introduction of self and husband to the American people.” Then my common sense got the better of my curiosity, and I decided to do a spot of reading instead.

Why? Well, for some reason another famous speech, by another famous ‘National Outsider’ kept resurfacing in my memory. I am talking about the speech given by the hated Jew Shylock, in William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. A cry made similarly from the heart of his racially, and therefore nationally discounted self, as addressed (or so he hoped!) to the hearts of a seemingly heartless fellow- Venetian citizenry. A nationhood who were pleased and long-accustomed to viewing the Jewish merchant as a mere commercial vessel; one which - when its valuable services were no longer required by them, could be both regarded and discarded as human waste material.

And so Michelle Obama, to all intents and purposes, earnestly but essentially set about last night, to present herself and husband as “just as Human as the rest of you Americans.”

And so - like Shakespeare’s Shylock, my pride as a sister black woman was “pricked” to the core at the very thought of her attempting the undertaking. I consequently refused to allow my heart to “bleed” by actually viewing the appallingly monstrous sight of a naturally intelligent, well educated woman like Michelle Obama, standing there before a determinedly doubtful racist bunch of her “fellow Americans,” passionately pouring out her own heart albeit to the self-mocking beat of a knowing Bard’s sardonic theme: “Look! Me and Mine are Just the Same American Human Beings as You and Yours!”

A theme as futile in today’s determinedly racist America, as it was in that fictionalized period cited by its author. A seer whose still-brilliant reflections upon universal humanity remain as insightfully relevant and unerringly illuminating now, as then. It becomes therefore more sad fact than laughable irony, that - as is the case with most of Shakespeare’s literary themes, we see such clear evidence of blindly-ignored racism shown to be alive in today’s Land of the Free, and well-established within that incomparable Home of The Brave.

Carmen Mills

Posted by: Carmen | August 26, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

James, James, James. How disheartened and bitter you sound, but then again all Obama supporters sound like you. I have lifted myself up, I have a great education and I didn't get by on any affirmative action or special priviledges. I didn't get it by cozying up to crooked politicians, radicals or threats... So, take off your blinders.... Once again, I'm not a McCain supporter nor shill. I am happen to be a realist who recognizes that Obama is not the man to run this country this time nor any time in the future.... I'm so sorry if you cannot accept that, but that's your problem not mine.

Posted by: LAMM01 | August 26, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I vote for presidents, not president's spouses, but I thought the speech was fine. Cohen is just mad because if she had approached it differently he could have gotten to call her some code word for uppity.

Posted by: Sara B. | August 26, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

What channel were you watching, the cooking network? Michelle could not have made a better speech. She had millions of woman, many of whom I suspect were Hillary supporters, in tears. I'm afraid you've lost touch with reality. How many houses do you own?

Posted by: Lauren | August 26, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

"Nothing she could have done would satisfy the right nut wings in this country as shown with Cohen diatribe."

That is exactly right.

Posted by: JG | August 26, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I think Michelle Obama did wonderfully last night. She's always been at her best when she speaks of the struggle women face between making ends meet and raising their children. She is a mother first; that has always come across and will shape her role as First Lady.

I will admit she's no longer as indignant but remarkably she retained her identity. I wonder if you understand just how many women identify with that struggle.

Posted by: dcmuse | August 26, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The snearing, supercilious, barely-concealed contempt you Americans have to put up with from fatuous courtiers like Cohen here really makes the rest of us feel your plight much more keenly.

Now, roll up your sleeves, take back your media in the name of a healthy democracy and get rid of this garbage.

Posted by: The Rest of World | August 26, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Other people here have called you a jerk, Mr. Cohen. I call you a bully.

While you may think you're taking a stand for all of the strong career women out there who shouldn't have to compromise themselves, what your pseudo-feminist posturing really says is that you're one more middle-class white male who wants to define the parameters of women's lives.

You want them to be strong on your terms, but you haven't a clue what real strength is.

Here is a woman who stood before an audience of millions a gave a heartfelt speech about her family because, at this point in the election scenario, voters don't know enough about Obama, his wife, and their children.

Could you do this? Of course not.

Michelle Obama could do it because she's strong, confident, and accomplished as well as loving, compassionate, and kind.

Your dismissal of her performance as "prime time Betty Crocker" is jaw-dropping. And your reference to "Log Cabin" speeches -- Abe Lincoln aside -- has a nastily racist taint to it.

You owe Michelle Obama an apology -- in print and prominently displayed in the Washington Post.

Posted by: magpie | August 26, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of baloney this piece is! I cannot believe anyone would not have been blown away by this elegant, intelligent, and well-spoken woman. Richard, you have been in Washington too long. Out here "in Peoria"
this looks like our next first lady, and I predict that she will be one of the most effective we have ever had.

Posted by: Kelly | August 26, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Psst! I heard Cohen thinks she has a tattoo, and that's the real reason he disdains her.

There. Now I've been as catty as Cohen. Look what you made me do, Dickie!

Posted by: Fake-Name-Guy | August 26, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Let me try to get this by the censors one more time. As 60-year old white male, Cohen is more than just a little embarrassing.

The old white guy is getting more and more bizarre with each writing. Got a real problem with them black folk, don't you Mr. Cohen? Such a typical, white, pseudo liberal.

Posted by: Daniel | August 26, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand what Richard is talking about. It was a fine Speech, poetic, smart, themes. Cindy McCain doesn't have that much sincerity, nor is she that bright a bulb. I'm ashamed of this country and the fact that McCain even has a chance at becoming president. They should ship him back to Vietnam.

Posted by: Anthony Atamanuik | August 26, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen,
There was a time when reason and hope informed your criticism.

It's is sad to see how cynical you've become. Is it not possible that genuine family love is a good thing to show the world, especially when so many malicious falsehoods have been propagated by the anti-Obama crowd?

Why the forced negativity? Because you blew the Iraq decision? Get over it. Return to a sense of hope and possibility. God knows the world needs it.

Posted by: Neil | August 26, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Michelle's handlers had to work long and hard to transform her from the bitter, angry, scathing, self-righteous and low class shrew she has presented herself as in the past into the plastic Stepford wife we saw last night.

If Michelle "can't win" it's because she started off on the wrong foot and no amount of window dressing can change that. It would be nice to see the proud, accomplished and dignified woman the Obamabots keep making her out to be, but, eh, she's just. . .not.

Posted by: Lynn | August 26, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

no body want to read this stupid article, save to you and hating family

Posted by: dennis | August 26, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Dear Colonel Sanders, I'd like a three piece meal and two fish snackers, please.

Posted by: Wang Bang | August 26, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Cohen, you need to get writing lessons. Your writing style is terrible. Who do you think you are, Proust?

You don't need a forum for your drivel. You need someone to pick you up and take you back to the old folks home. If you hurry you might be in time for jello.

Posted by: Tom Shefchik | August 26, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

What an insipid piece of drivel, Mr. Cohen. You are criticizing Michele for not denouncing racism? Did you want her to mention you by name?

She gave a great speech - very moving and effective. I cried at parts. She is woman who loves her kids and her husband. She is also very intelligent and successful. She did not pander. She is no Betty Crocker!

You seem to think that she must be a scary readical, because she is black and well educated. Are you on medication, Mr. Cohen. For god's sake what is your problem?

Posted by: TJI | August 26, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

If the Post Editor is reading this, what is it with you? I write on this space because its free. What kind of fool would trash the wife of a candidate, and the mother of his kids? In fact, I expect Cohen to trash the two kids before this is over.

What a JERK!

Posted by: LeftGuy | August 26, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

So, Carmen, did you or did you not see/hear the speech?

If you did, how can you characterize it as you have?

If you didn't, same question.

Interestingly, Obama's problem is the opposite of Shylock's, and so Ms. Obama's job last night wasn't to prove "we're as good as the rest of you"; her job was to demonstrate that "we not better than you, and we don't think we are."

You see, the Obamas have been cast by the opposition as elitist people who don't understand -- and can't make themselves understood to -- average Americans.

How this parallels Shylock's position is inconceivable. I think I can answer my own question now. You didn't see or hear or read the speech. You just indulged in the somewhat elitist pasttime of making literary analogy where none can exist.

Posted by: Get real, Carmen | August 26, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Do I see another Hillary (wanna-be) in the making in Michelle. Mother and wife taking front stage!

Posted by: Yup | August 26, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Are you high?

Posted by: CallMeSkeptical | August 26, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

So, Carmen, did you or did you not see/hear the speech?

If you did, how can you characterize it as you have?

If you didn't, same question.

Interestingly, Obama's problem is the opposite of Shylock's, and so Ms. Obama's job last night wasn't to prove "we're as good as the rest of you"; her job was to demonstrate that "we not better than you, and we don't think we are."

You see, the Obamas have been cast by the opposition as elitist people who don't understand -- and can't make themselves understood to -- average Americans.

How this parallels Shylock's position is inconceivable. I think I can answer my own question now. You didn't see or hear or read the speech. You just indulged in the somewhat elitist pasttime of making literary analogy where none can exist.

Posted by: Get real, Carmen | August 26, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

As I watched Michelle Obama's speech last night I searched my heart for a glimmer of how anyone could possibly still criticize or misunderstand this amazing woman.

It is devastating to see that the Washington Post - after being such a top-notch newspaper for so long - has now sold out for corporate profits.

Joe

Posted by: Corporate Profits | August 26, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

This old, pushing 70, white, right handed, male thought that Michelle's speech was on target and well delivered.

Richard: I retired on April 30th. It appears its time you follow my lead. The sooner the better.

Posted by: mwcscc | August 26, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Another oped from a guy who faces the mirror every morning and admits "I am irrelevant".

Posted by: 1Country | August 26, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

i love the way michelle obama delivered her speech last night. some people can't just accept the fact that an educated african-american woman can stand tall amidst all the negativities that other people throw at her. mr. cohen, you are something ! you should be terrified with how you described your future first lady. can you even pull a speech in front of 10 people ? just wondering........

Posted by: girlindc | August 26, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

How does Cohen keep his job? It's as if he is writing for the Onion.

Posted by: Minor | August 26, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

What a ridiculous column. Which is about par for the course from Cohen.

The point of last night's speech was to de-fang the (ridiculous) attacks on Obama from the GOP (and certain compliant mouthpieces in the MSM) that he is elitist and/or a scary black radical. And Michelle Obama accomplished that with ease.

Undoubtedly, had she come out spitting venom and fury, Cohen would've found that just as objectionable.

Posted by: Dave | August 26, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

37 y.o. white guy here. I thought the speech was fine. What _should_ be the expectations for a convention warm-up speech by a candidate's wife? 12-point policy plans? Divisive racial rhetoric? Mr. Cohen neatly avoids telling us what he expected to hear instead, or backing up his colorful assertions ("canard", "lobotomized", "Betty Crocker") with anything of real substance.

This piece inspires me to offer a similar assessment of the political media: shrill monkeys on all-too-frequent display whose main mode of expression is to hurl the same pre-packaged excrement regardless of events.

Somehow the porridge is always too hot or too cold, too bland or too spicy; the bowls too big or too small... and the sole duty of the writer is to alternate between vaguely-sourced disparagement and heavily qualified faint praise, with no obligation to take an accountable stand rooted in objective fact or clearly stated personal bias.

It's amazing how often the "liberal" Richard Cohen just happens to be dismayed and disappointed by whatever Democrats do or say. He has seemed equally chagrined by unforgivably intemperate liberal opposition to the Iraq War (which he blithely supported) and carefully calibrated performances like the convention speech he's now maligning.

Indeed, one begins to wonder what message--IF ANY--Mr. Richard Cohen would consider legitimate and appropriate for a Democratic campaign.

Posted by: Adam | August 26, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

We can only hope that Michelle Obama becomes first lady. She is superb intellectually and a compassionate American.

Vote for Obama and we gain a great American family for our country.

Posted by: kate | August 26, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I have always believed that the core of the feminist movement allowed a woman to choose: career, mother and homemaker, all of the above. "Bring home the bacon, cook it up in a pan", so to speak.

Does anyone think 'Betty Crocker' can stand up before millions of people with poise and passion and defend her choices? Richard, I have to feel you've stooped to the Lieberman level on this one.

Posted by: Ron | August 26, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Kanye says: "I like this article. I dont think people really know who Obama is. I go out of my way to learn who he is., Becuase I know who McCain is and I am not very excited at all about him. Obama has been saying good things latley. But His past is a little shady to me. If he had a more straight forward past I would vote for him in a second. But He has the issue of the school he went to when he was a child, his paper work says he was a muslim. I want to believe that he is a christian I just want to be sure. Then their is a trip he took to pakistan when he was in college? These are things I just cant over look. His best friends were pakistani. These are strange circumstances. I will vote for Obama if he can put my mind at ease on these issues? I dont know how he can do this. But I want to believe in the change he offers. Just my logic wont let me embrace him till these questions are answered."

I agree with Kanye and the need for everyone to find out who these candidates are. However, I must add that it is the Republican spin machine that has turned this background of Baracks and Barack's "circumstance" into a "strange" one. I have looked at Barack and find him to be enlightened. His is the background I hope for my daughter and son as adults. I hope their circumstances provide opportunities to meet people unlike themselves, and to experience the lives of others who are different or have different points of view. Only Rove and "rovians" could make that experience a negative. I think our president ought to be enlightened. It would be a wonderful change.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse


Michelle did great. What a symbol for the American family...and with substance to back it up, too!
As for this Cohen guy...his stuff is good for a bird cage. Way too wordy, besides.
I note, though, that Cindy McCain is shaping up to be one great symbol of care and compassion.
Here she is in Georgia doing photo opps in one of her Vogue outfits, making campaign fodder out of that country's grief.
I note the McCains get a bit testy when someone points out they have a choice of seven kitchen tables to sit at and "worry" about making ends meet. Fortunately, they have a team of red-blooded and patriotic bankers, financial advisors, trust and estate attorneys and business associates at the table with them.
They also share our pain about transportation costs. Sometimes Captain America cannot even get to work because Cindy has taken the jet to go shopping. public transportation is not an option for this war hero.
I also note that Cindy chooses to model for Vogue magazine right when the Americn family is wondering whhat it can afford at Wal-Mart. Thanks for the fashion inspiration, you sexy, slightly naughty little Republican, you. Great morale booster,I guess.

Posted by: JMFulton, Jr. | August 26, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

LAMM01 - I'm by no means disheartened. I've dealt with people of your ilk plenty of times... you are like roaches, scurrying around in darkness and running when the light hits.

You are only regurgitating the same nonsense that has already been discredited. You harp about "affirmative action," as if a minority can't succeed without it, which shows that either you are a racist or, if a minority, self-hating. The fact is, once you get into a college, REGARDLESS of how that occurs, you can't pass if you don't do the work. Last time I checked, both Obamas had degrees from prestigious institutions. To somehow insinuate that the Obamas jobbed the system is ridiculous and worthy of a small mind such as yours.

LAMM01, it doesn't take a genius to see that you are ignorant. People like you are beyond reason, so I won't even try to alter your small-minded thinking. You are just a talking head spewing falsehoods but being "pseudo-intellectual" doesn't make you intelligent.

Posted by: James King | August 26, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Be honest, Richard. You're really upset because she didn't mention the Holocaust.

Posted by: mlincoln | August 26, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

It's so ridiculous how in one breath the press caricatures Michelle Obama as too domineering, driven and dare we say, intellectual. Then the moment she has quieted her own spirit, she is diminutive and unimpressive. Get over it!

Being an African-American woman myself, I saw a nuanced quiet confidence that only someone else caught within these interlocking systems of oppression can understand. I saw a woman who knew who she was fully and told her story--albeit not the most fascinating parts--but her story nonetheless. It is clear the Obamas are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

I can say that I was proud to see such a bold, self-assured and self-actualized woman tell her story and tell it well. Kudos Michelle!

Obama '08

Posted by: DinahS | August 26, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Ach Cohen, you bore me to tears. You really do.

Posted by: Berliner2 | August 26, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"Betty Crocker"? what, you were too embarrassed to admit you actually were going to write "Aunt Jemima"? because it sure reads like you were doing everything you could to belittle and invalidate her. just as at least one poster here *still* believes the racist polemic disguised as concern (Muslim?? Pakistan?? cannot you people read legitimate sources?), so you have continued to undermine the fact that a woman can be intelligent, successful, black/brown/white/red/yellow and *also* identify as a wife and mother. spare us your pseudo-feminist cr@p - we can see right through it.

Posted by: bajacalla | August 26, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Cohen is another reason I am no longer a paid subscriber to the WP. Where do they find these fools with no connection to the rest of us. Oh yes, I forgot. They are fools who think they are intellectuals.

Posted by: Yawn | August 26, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Some of you seem to have no idea what working women have to deal with. Look right around you at the women who work with you. You will see there are a lot of Michelle Obamas in there. Women who have had to scuffle from nothing and make something of their lives, work, raise a family, and be wives. Talk to them, you would be surprised at what they are dealing with!

Posted by: Fran | August 26, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I'd sure be proud if my wife said such things of me. She IS a mother, wife, with two kids. It is clear that she and Barack are attentive and loving to these children. Those who may have been abused in dysfunctional families may not understand the depth of character of a good parent but it likely transcends that of being a good leader.
When my McCain-leaning wife found out that he ditched his first wife (not an act of passion-but he planned it) for Cindy my wife came to a screeching halt and then reversal precisely because the character needed to be faithful to the Constitution is almost as solemn as a marriage vow.
Michelle could not have given a better endorsement in my view.

Posted by: Rich Rosenthal | August 26, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, Michelle Obama did a fantastic job last night and really she would be criticized no matter WHAT she said. She can't win with the idiot racist mouth-breathers out there who are hell-bent on seeing her as an "angry unpatriotic black woman" and if she tries to talk sincerely about her family, vapid pundits like you label her as a fake "Betty Crocker". Give it a rest because you are sounding like you are way too eager to be negative. Michelle Obama gives tons of speeches on the trail about the problems with our country and how her husband intends to work to fix them. Last night was not the occasion for that.

Now I am waiting for Cindy McCain to talk about how she met her old cruster of a husband at a cocktail party while he was a MARRIED man. She is REALLY going to have to fake it.

Posted by: maria | August 26, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I am voting for McCain but I thought Michelle's speech showed America a lot and what I saw I liked. It was not the standard wifey remarks that mattered but the way they were delivered...she showed poise, intellect and physical attractiveness and could do America proud. However, I'm afraid she shares with her husband the slights and hurts of their heritage and also a fundamentally socialistic way of redress. It scares me.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

So, in other words, Mrs. Obama can't win - no matter what she does.

If she's her natural self, she's a scary black woman. If she "tones it down", she's insincere and artificial.

Ideal: Let Michele be Michelle and tell the haters to go "condition" themselves.

Oh, wait. They want to win so that we all can be "conditioned".

Posted by: Michele | August 26, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Those of you zapping Cohen obviously miss his point, which is spot on. He's pointing out how sad it is that she had to give some homogenized opus to show that she is not the devil incarnate. The speech was great but why do black people have to always prove their patriotism? You can love your country and be a proud American without always being proud of America. And you should be able to say that without your patriotism being questioned.

Posted by: Upper Marlboro Man | August 26, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

LAMM01 - Maybe she should tell everyone about how she and her husband are living the American dream on the backs of those who had to step aside for them due to affirmative action

LAMM01 - ... Perhaps you should have your facts straight instead of presuming....

LAMM01 - ... James, James, James. How disheartened and bitter you sound, but then again all Obama supporters sound like you ...

Read what you have written and give it some thought. A bit of introspection would do you some good.

While you are at it, a couple more questions:

- does affirmative action also explain how he won the primaries?

- Would you be willing to take an IQ test against him/her to reclaim what was justly yours?

Posted by: maddening | August 26, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Cohen would find sadness in the Resurrection.

Oh, wait. . .

Posted by: Hoodwinked | August 26, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

37 y.o. white guy here. I thought the speech was fine. What _should_ be the expectations for a convention warm-up speech by a candidate's wife? 12-point policy plans? Divisive racial rhetoric? Mr. Cohen neatly avoids telling us what he expected to hear instead, or backing up his colorful assertions ("canard", "lobotomized", "Betty Crocker") with anything of real substance.

This piece inspires me to offer a similar assessment of the political media: shrill monkeys on all-too-frequent display whose main mode of expression is to hurl the same pre-packaged excrement regardless of events.

Somehow the porridge is always too hot or too cold, too bland or too spicy; the bowls too big or too small... and the sole duty of the writer is to alternate between vaguely-sourced disparagement and heavily qualified faint praise, with no obligation to take an accountable stand rooted in objective fact or clearly stated personal bias.

It's amazing how often the "liberal" Richard Cohen just happens to be dismayed and disappointed by whatever Democrats do or say. He has seemed equally chagrined by unforgivably intemperate liberal opposition to the Iraq War (which he blithely supported) and carefully calibrated performances like the convention speech he's now maligning.

Indeed, one begins to wonder what message--IF ANY--Mr. Richard Cohen would consider legitimate and appropriate for a Democratic campaign.

Posted by: Adam | August 26, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

what a terrible piece of writing!
What is with the Post lately? First Dana whateverhislastnameis attacking Obama and now this geriatric pseudo writer attacking his wife.

Posted by: a reader | August 26, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Don't agree-- I thought that the speech was done well and presented Michelle Obama well.

That said, you could see that certain aspects of Mrs. Obama's background (Princeton, Harvard, Sidley & Austin, $200K salary) were de-emphasized, and certain aspects (childhood,family life, community work, South Side roots) emphasized. I think, though, that the portrait that emerged gave Michlle Obama more depth, not less.

I do think that it was necessary to make Michelle Obama seem more approachable to the American public, and that her convention speech did so.

Posted by: ANetliner | August 26, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

37 y.o. white guy here. I thought the speech was fine. What _should_ be the expectations for a convention warm-up speech by a candidate's wife? 12-point policy plans? Divisive racial rhetoric? Mr. Cohen neatly avoids telling us what he expected to hear instead, or backing up his colorful assertions ("canard", "lobotomized", "Betty Crocker") with anything of real substance.

This piece inspires me to offer a similar assessment of the political media: shrill monkeys on all-too-frequent display whose main mode of expression is to hurl the same pre-packaged excrement regardless of events.

Somehow the porridge is always too hot or too cold, too bland or too spicy; the bowls too big or too small... and the sole duty of the writer is to alternate between vaguely-sourced disparagement and heavily qualified faint praise, with no obligation to take an accountable stand rooted in objective fact or clearly stated personal bias.

It's amazing how often the "liberal" Richard Cohen just happens to be dismayed and disappointed by whatever Democrats do or say. He has seemed equally chagrined by unforgivably intemperate liberal opposition to the Iraq War (which he blithely supported) and carefully calibrated performances like the convention speech he's now maligning.

Indeed, one begins to wonder what message--IF ANY--Mr. Richard Cohen would consider legitimate and appropriate for a Democratic campaign.

Posted by: Adam | August 26, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Cohen,

You fall in a bed of roses and come up smelling like horse manure.

What dimension are you living in?

Posted by: Dave in A2 | August 26, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

The original plan had Michelle stride out to the podium in full dominatrix mode holding a riding crop in one hand and a leash in the other. At the end of that leash is Joe Biden on all fours with a gag ball in his mouth.

Posted by: Howard Dean | August 26, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

What a hatchet job. Only in wingnutland are two men, McCain and Bush, born into privledge and wealth, considered down-to-earth everymen, while a man who worked his way up from nothing, and his working class wife are considered elitists.

It's truly sad that Michelle Obama had to make this speech, but it was a sincere and great speech. Those who whine about not really knowing Obama really mean, there's not enough dirt on Obama. There is nothing, nothing the Obama's could do that would earn anything other than criticism from the right.

Posted by: Adrasteia | August 26, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

37 y.o. white guy here. I thought the speech was fine. What _should_ be the expectations for a convention warm-up speech by a candidate's wife? 12-point policy plans? Divisive racial rhetoric? Mr. Cohen neatly avoids telling us what he expected to hear instead, or backing up his colorful assertions ("canard", "lobotomized", "Betty Crocker") with anything of real substance.

This piece inspires me to offer a similar assessment of the political media: shrill monkeys on all-too-frequent display whose main mode of expression is to hurl the same pre-packaged excrement regardless of events.

Somehow the porridge is always too hot or too cold, too bland or too spicy; the bowls too big or too small... and the sole duty of the writer is to alternate between vaguely-sourced disparagement and heavily qualified faint praise, with no obligation to take an accountable stand rooted in objective fact or clearly stated personal bias.

It's amazing how often the "liberal" Richard Cohen just happens to be dismayed and disappointed by whatever Democrats do or say. He has seemed equally chagrined by unforgivably intemperate liberal opposition to the Iraq War (which he blithely supported) and carefully calibrated performances like the convention speech he's now maligning.

Indeed, one begins to wonder what message--IF ANY--Mr. Richard Cohen would consider legitimate and appropriate for a Democratic campaign.

Posted by: Adam | August 26, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Cohen's analysis is so far off the mark as to be laughable. He needs to look internally at his own misconceptions, distorted thinking and reasoning, and try and find some truth.......Michelle Obama gave her truth last night, and anyone who tries to twist it into anything else needs to go back and remember a basic rule of honesty which many people, Republican AND Democrat seem to have discarded. Shame on you, Mr. Cohen. Your attempts at jokes and slander of Michelle Obama are pathetic.

Posted by: Leigh | August 26, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Blacks cannot win in this racist, white supremacist hypocritical country. If Michelle Obama speaks her mind, then she's an angry black woman, radical, chip on her shoulder, etc...and stupid racist whites are threatened, by a woman who is black and better educated with more brains than them. If she is supportive of her husband and loving about her kids, and family, and cares for her brother, misses her father, honors her mother and expresses her great values,: better and more wholesome than alot of white supremacists, then she's Betty Crocker. What a load of double talking, double standard crud.

Posted by: mcastillo | August 26, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Her delivery was over-acted and overly dramatic to the point of insincerity. It seemed like she was lecturing (talking down) to everyone...again.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Cohen's analysis is so far off the mark as to be laughable. He needs to look internally at his own misconceptions, distorted thinking and reasoning, and try and find some truth.......Michelle Obama gave her truth last night, and anyone who tries to twist it into anything else needs to go back and remember a basic rule of honesty which many people, Republican AND Democrat seem to have discarded. Shame on you, Mr. Cohen. Your attempts at jokes and slander of Michelle Obama are pathetic.

Posted by: Leigh | August 26, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Ugh... Many apologies for my multiple posts. I kept getting a "Movable Type" error page and browser lock-up when I tried to submit.

Posted by: Adam | August 26, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

So she should live up to the canards?

Posted by: scientist1 | August 26, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Upper Marlboro Man -- Those of you zapping Cohen obviously miss his point,...

Is it a point worth making? You actually make it better than him in just a couple of sentences? Could he have provided more substantive thoughts about why that is, how realistic it is to ignore those charges?

The democrats and the Obamas have an election to win. The Obamas are taking people criticism on face value and trying to answer them?

They are not stupid; most people understand that some people are not willing to be reassured and have less than honorable objections to the Obamas.

Dissecting who those people, and what their motivations might be, and what arguments might win them over .... Those are interesting subjects for Mr. Cohen. Unfortunately, judging from his recent pieces, they seem beyond his reach

Posted by: anonymous | August 26, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Cohen wouldn"t know the truth or sincerity if it bit him on the butt. Just more attacks for the GOP shills. ho hum.

Posted by: lculbertson | August 26, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what speech you were watching! Be honest you have NEVER liked Obama and have not written a single positive piece about his candidacy. And now you take out your obvious bias by criticizing Michelle Obamas's speech. I used to have a great deal of respect for you and your columns, but it is clear something has changed with your world view. Have you become such cynic or perhaps more to the point a Hilary devotee that you can't get over that someone else got the nomination? And do you even read these responses? I doubt it.

Posted by: jennifer | August 26, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"she gave the standard speech expected with nary a mention of race ... America -- a land once of searing racism, which, if mentioned, is seen as proof of irrational rage and for which whites now have three words: get over it"

Let me see if I get your point, Mr. Cohen: Ms. Obama didn't mention race, but if she had, then "whites" would be justified in telling her to shut up. Is that it?

Posted by: ignatov | August 26, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"Those of you zapping Cohen obviously miss his point, which is spot on."

No, Marlboro Man, you miss his point.

If he wanted to comment on what a travesty it is that black people have to prove their patriotism, he could have come out and said so. Instead, he lambasted a woman for compromising herself because she didn't match his blueprint for "strong career woman."

Furthermore, she wasn't combatting the "devil incarnate" image, as that's not the problem the Obamas have. She was countering the McCain rhetoric about the Obamas' elitism. Totally different objective.

So, you're really off the mark here, on a couple of counts.

Posted by: magpie | August 26, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

"The transformation of Michelle Obama from a bracingly proud contemporary woman -- mother, wife, career woman -- into a prime time Betty Crocker was sad to see."

I don't know Richard, she sounded pretty damned proud to me.

Posted by: synykyl | August 26, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

You're what other writers call a SLOTH, Mr. Cohen. All vagueries, and no support.

Posted by: David | August 26, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

This is a breathtakingly stupid piece of nonsense. Where to begin? No mention of race? a) For those that have eyes, or the thinnest wedge of information about the election and the candidates, none is needed; b) actually there was, in the mention of Michelle Obama being at the cross currents of the anniversary of women getting the right to vote and the anniversary of MLK's "I have a dream" speech.

The Washington Post should be ashamed -- I assume this web channel is where you slide dreck you'd never dream of publishing in hard copy.

Posted by: bdbd | August 26, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

"The transformation of Michelle Obama from a bracingly proud contemporary woman -- mother, wife, career woman -- into a prime time Betty Crocker was sad to see."

I don't know Richard, she sounded pretty damned proud to me.

Posted by: synykyl | August 26, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

booooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Posted by: susie | August 26, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

WOW. Astute commentary. And aptly objective. Interestingly, Obama fans (as well as the DNC) wrongly thought that pushing Senator Clinton out to make way for the Obama fad would be long lasting and would raise him far above McCain in the process towards the general election. For those Hillary supporters who were expected to be charmed (and quite frankly, I believe the numbers reported by the DNC and media are FAR above the actuals of those Hillary Clinton supporters who would support Obama just to get a Democrat in the White House. The problem with this is, the man can't do the job, so who the hell cares if he's a Democrat? Obama's flat-lined and currently faltering poll ratings are showing a chink in the armor that the DNC didn't watch for. Clinton has been thoroughly vetted over the years. We know everything about her, warts and all. We DON'T, however, know everything about Obama. What we have is a man who makes unusually poor personal intanglements and tells us that if we notice and oppose them, that we're racist; he's been screaming the word CHANGE ad nauseum -- except he has fully embraced Ted Kennedy (who has a poor personal past), has tried to channel John Kennedy - who has been martyred so that must have made him a good President, however, he had so many more dalliances in the White House than Clinton, but no matter, and he has effectively hired Joe Biden as the attack dog to mouth off and offend and snarl -- he is the Cheney -- Obama will get to keep his hands full and unleash Biden at his critics. Like Bush, Obama, with all of his charm and erudition is just an inexperienced suit. And we'll reap the severe cost of another failed man in the White House because a few party members panicked, and a few men in charge said they didn't want to be bossed around by a lady.

Posted by: Julia | August 26, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Obama was superb. She was poised, had great delivery and connected. It is strange for Americans to lambaste the wife of a candidate, this woman was giving a speech for her husband, period. Couldn't you be more civilized and polite and not say crude comments? What has Michelle Obama done that merits such uncouth remarks? Michelle Obama has not cheated, killed anyone, harmed anyone stolen from anyone. Michelle worked hard, studied hard and raised herself through her own merits. She came from modest means, like like Cindy McCain who despite her wealth stole drugs from her own Charity! How about focusing on the millionairess, husband grabbing Cindy?

Posted by: M. Stratas | August 26, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Cohen: senile, grouchy bonehead.

Posted by: npr | August 26, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Cohen - relax, man - we're talking about his WIFE, not the presidential candidate himself. If I had your wife write this column, would that have any bearing on your qualifications ?

Give me a break...

Posted by: chop1 | August 26, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, I saw NOTHING sad about Michelle Obama. I saw a woman who took advantage of a historical opportunity and made our country proud. Great job, Michelle!

Posted by: danwatson | August 26, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Republicans ran the last independent thinkers out of their party six years ago, as a result they a boringly predictable.
I could have told you Cohen was going to pan Mrs Obamas speech ten seconds after they announced she was going to make it.
He isn't going to like Obamas acceptance speech either.
Neither is Krauthammer, Rev Mike or the Washington Post editorial board.
Shortly after the speech the RNC will announce why it was a poor effort, and then we'll know what all the republicans thought of it.

Posted by: dijetlo | August 26, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, I saw NOTHING sad about Michelle Obama. I saw a woman who took advantage of a historical opportunity and made our country proud. Great job, Michelle!

Posted by: danwatson | August 26, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm looking forward to Cindy McCain's speach. What role does she want to portray . . .? Business woman? Loyal wife? American success story? This will be informative.

Posted by: gjhinnova | August 26, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Right-With Nuttery at it again. You're a divisive columnist and the country is over it. 80% say the country is on the wrong track, but you're hypocritical bush-loving self is too fearful to turn the table on your own ilk and do some actual reporting. instead, you're satisfied conjuring-up phony problems without looking at your own party under the same lens.

Posted by: impeach cheney | August 26, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm looking forward to Cindy McCain's speach. What role does she want to portray? Business woman? Loyal wife? American success story? This will be informative.

Posted by: gjhinnova | August 26, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Sorry I ruined your Black Panther party.

Posted by: F. Gump | August 26, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Sorry I ruined your Black Panther party.

Posted by: F. Gump | August 26, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I didn't think about it before but it reminded me about the uproar surrounding Hillary in the 1992 election, i.e. she wasn't suzy homemaker.

Its sad that in 2008 nothing has changed and Michelle Obama is up there pretending to be Betty Crocker. I guess America is definitely not ready for a female president.

Posted by: DCDave | August 26, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, this 24-year-old white woman thought the speech was great. Michelle Obama is a highly intelligent, classy woman who is deeply committed to her family and has thrown herself into a battle to make this country a better place. And she's stood tall as no small number of people turned her into a stereotyped caricature. Michelle Obama is a woman that other women (and men) ought to be looking up to rather than tearing down, and she will make an outstanding first lady.

On another note, I used to respect Richard Cohen's opinions. But it's been a few years now since I've heartily agreed with one of his columns. And this one is just atrocious.

Posted by: ASinMoCo | August 26, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Take note of the names of their children! Yet they try to sell themselves as middle class AMERICANS!!

Posted by: pat | August 26, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

bdbd: Don't jump to too many conclusions before reading his regular in-print columns, which feature the same mix of navel-gazing, hand-wringing and offended sensibilities directed at liberal figures--alternating with credulous sycophantic treatment of the usual authority figures, who receive the benefit of the doubt and then some.

Apropos another earlier comment: I wouldn't hold my breath for
any harsh dissections of Cindy McCain's homewrecking roots from this columnist. After all, Mr. Cohen did the same thing to Peter & Kati Jennings that Cindy did to John & Carol McCain.

Should Cindy appear forced and uncomfortable and stilted in her own convention appearance, I rather expect we'll be treated to an outpouring of heartfelt empathy and a narrative in which she is the victim, gamely staying on-message while tiptoeing around an all-too-human chapter of her distant past that "vituperative liberal bloggers" want to dredge up and exploit...for shame!

Posted by: Adam | August 26, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

So Mr. Cohen, are you trying to say that you did not both to watch the speech?

Posted by: Tim from Grass Valley CA | August 26, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Republicans will automatically classify her speech as a failure. However, democrats are likely to consider it a success before she even steps on stage. As an independent, I think she spoke well but nothing new or forward-thinking (like the Obama campaign portrays itself to be) came out of her mouth. If Obama wins, then liberals investing so much emotional energy in this thing are going to disappointed when they realize that Obama is not going to improve their lives.

Posted by: Jon | August 26, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Gary, your post at 1:57 pm was right on target and, sadly, reflects a summation of why we are an empire in deep decline. I see little hope of this changing any time soon.

Posted by: cann | August 26, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Gary, your post at 1:57 pm was right on target and, sadly, reflects a summation of why we are an empire in deep decline. I see little hope of this changing any time soon.

Posted by: cann | August 26, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

You're an idiot! I love people like you who tell blacks to get over years of slavery,oppression, racism and bigotry but allow the Jews the remembrance of the holocaust!

We all know that is this great country of ours, even in the 21st Century a black person has to be twice as qualified as a white person to be employed in any position -- yes, even president. The irony is that America resents it when blacks meet that challenge, exceed that challenge and do so without complaining... then these successful blacks who played the racist game as America set it out and succeeded in spite of it are deemed "uppity", "arrogant", "elitist". Yet the same white candidate who got into the naval academy because of his father, born into a wealthy family, married into a wealthy family as educated as Obama is not deemed elitist. There has always been a double standard in America for minorities. We know that and except it, but the resentment and hatred that white America exhibits for those blacks who persevered and succeeded is so evident in this campaign. I say to white America: get over it! As my grandmother said: Mountains are meant to be climbed and if you are powerful enough and get tired of climbing a mountain, go through it if you have a sharp enough mind and a powerful will. They have overcome mountains and yet America just doesn't understand or is pretending not to! Grow up: This is the UNITED States of America.... I want to see it be that ... UNITED, for a change.

Posted by: CAROL ARMSTRONG | August 26, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

The only black women we like is Aunt Jemima.

Posted by: candide | August 26, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

And didn't Cohen think Bush was a wonderful presidential candidate? So much for his judgment.

Posted by: Jeff | August 26, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

And didn't Cohen think Bush was a wonderful presidential candidate? So much for his judgment.

Posted by: Jeff | August 26, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen and his Israel firsters can't bear the thought of Sen. Obama in the White House and he and the others for Israel will do anything and everything in their power to prevent this from happening.

Hey, they want a warrior such as McCain who is ready like Hillary to "annihilate Iran" if they so much as even think about striking poor little defenseless Israel.

Trouble with Obama is that he is still not willing to sign on to any such fool's policy and so he is suspect in the eyes of the Jewish community in the U.S. Who knows Obama's willingness to show some restraint and thoughtfulness might result in the U.S. avoiding a nuclear exchange with Russia in the next four years. That doesn't seem such a bad thing if one has any interest in "staying alive"
"just stayin' alive."

As for Michelle O. this viewer was mightily impressed with the lady with the only worry being that she has that same fire and cock certainty about her that Hillary displayed early on in the presidency of Slick. This cost him (and now her) dearly indeed.

I hope aspiring wives of politicians (and their husbands) have learned something from that fiasco.

As a footnote one felt great pleasure at finally working out whom Ms. Obama reminds one. In a word, Jane Fonda with a gorgeous tan and even more brains.

Posted by: Dr. Feel Good | August 26, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

As far as the Post's biased coverage, it fits right in with the overall media bias.
As a competent and interesting columnist, Frank Rich of the NYT wrote last weekend:
[A]s George Mason University’s Center for Media and Public Affairs documented in its study of six weeks of TV news reports this summer, Obama’s coverage was 28 percent positive, 72 percent negative. (For McCain, the split was 43/57.)

Posted by: scientist1 | August 26, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

And didn't Cohen think Bush was a wonderful presidential candidate? So much for his judgment.

Posted by: Jeff | August 26, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

KANYE sez:
"His past is a little shady to me. If he had a more straight forward past I would vote for him in a second. But He has the issue of the school he went to when he was a child, his paper work says he was a muslim. I want to believe that he is a christian I just want to be sure."

Nothing Mr. or Mrs. Obama could ever say or do will ease your mind. You don't want your mind eased. You want to be excused for maintaining your willful ignorance. That is why you read and admire the hackery of Mr. Cohen.

Posted by: Rick G. | August 26, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

candide, Aunt Jemina you say? Well, that is what Cohen meant to say. The Republicans would use more name calling if they thought they could get away with it, thus the "celebrity" play.

Posted by: Jim | August 26, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

With the Republican spin machine, the Obamas are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Cohen is merely echoing one side of this spin. If he isn't confusing Michelle with Betty Crocker, he's confusing her husband with Reverend Wright.

Cohen's one of these types (and brother, is he ever a type) who will pick every last little nit in order to rationalize an above the fray attitude, but then the minute the Republicans get elected, AND DO EXACTLY WHAT THEY PROMISE THEY WILL DO, he'll act all injured and deceived.

But what part of the Republican platform does Richard Cohen not understand? Will he be shocked at McCain's Supreme Court appointments? Will he be surprised when McCain keeps trying to de-regulate every fraudulent business in sight? But then, the clear and present danger is so obviously "Betty Crocker."

Posted by: Andy | August 26, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Mr Cohen, I can tell nothing Michelle does will please you. You old white guys prefer dumb barbie dolls like Cindy McCain, sorry Michelle is an intelligent, articulate smart woman and nothing you say will shut her up. Get use to it.

Posted by: Dottie | August 26, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey Richard I guess Cindy can tell everyone about how she carried on that adulteress affair with John Boy while his wife was recovering from a horrible accident, you really should move over to FAUX news there Richard, I'm sure they have an opening for another pin head blow bag such as yourself, First you know nothing about Betty Crocker, being a woman or a mother and wife, please make the move now they really need you over there, they are ginning up for the coronation of the guy who cannot remember anything except he was a POW and his over medicated wealthy wife flying around in her private jet, yea just typical Americans. Your a Putz

Posted by: Sue F | August 26, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Well, Rick G., the New Testament clearly teaches us that salvation is purely hereditary; that anyone with the wrong parentage, or who attended a 'suspicious' school at age 7 is permanently barred from communion with Christ.

Unless we're talking about Christian preachers like Rev. Wright who've made some inflammatory statements, of course.

See, Rick, Barack is *just Christian enough* to be fused at the hip to anything Rev. Jeremiah Wright has ever said, but just tainted enough by some school he went to as a kid to be forever suspect among REAL AMERICAN Christians, whose faith severely cautions them against trust, forgiveness, and welcoming outsiders.

It all makes such perfect sense to 'KANYE', Rick, so why can't you understand it?

Posted by: Adam | August 26, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Note to Michelle:

Get over it.

Posted by: David | August 26, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

She could have stood on that stage and said "I love my husband, but Richard Cohen is a sex God, so I'm leaving Barack. McCain '08" and you'd still complain :-p

Posted by: kat | August 26, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

"After all, Mr. Cohen did the same thing to Peter & Kati Jennings that Cindy did to John & Carol McCain."

Huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Time for Dick to retire.

Posted by: Buck Thrust | August 26, 2008 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I suspected you were losing it when you backed the Iraq war, now I know you have lost it. That was the perfect speech and settled all the slime from the right. Lets see McBush's wife match it.

Posted by: firenze841 | August 26, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

So when have you ever been anything but "sad" about anything remotely connected to Democratic party issues? Why not retire and be happy? YOu are clearly clueless about women in general (we all care about our children---first and last, which men hate to acknowledge--and our pasts DO weigh heavily. She's too classy to launch into a racist screed, but I'm pretty sure she could have. Go away

Posted by: mbinKS | August 26, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I like Michelle Obama!!! Her job entails keeping tax breaks for the elitist hospital she works for at the expense of providing care to the surrounding "urban" community. If her husband only knew..

Posted by: A. Republican | August 26, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Anon: 'Huh?'

Ah, if only there were someplace on the web--some resource we might dub a "search engine"--where we could research the intersecting histories of personalities like Peter Jennings and Richard Cohen, and thereby flesh out references we don't comprehend!

Posted by: Adam | August 26, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

It is kinda rough. No matter what she does, she is or will remain too insecure about her or her husbanc standing. What would people say is constantly on her mind. I think she should just accept it and moves on and don't be too insecure. Get over it and talk as if you are white or colorless.

Posted by: pat | August 26, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Richard!

Michelle will make a great First Lady!

Posted by: Cliff | August 26, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Anon: 'Huh?'

Ah, if only there were someplace on the web--some resource we might dub a "search engine"--where we could research the intersecting histories of personalities like Peter Jennings and Richard Cohen, and thereby flesh out references we don't comprehend!

Posted by: Adam | August 26, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

"Mr. Cohen your applesauce is getting warm. Time to finish your snack and move to the day room for dominos with your friends. You like to spend time with your friends here at the adult day-care center, don't you Mr. Cohen? Alright then. Here's your lap-blanket..."

Retire Mr. Cohen.

Posted by: JBE | August 26, 2008 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ, Cohen - you and Broder need to just shut up and die already.

The fact that Michelle Obama even had to make that speech is down to specious little hacks like you who gleefully spread every little rumor about her.

...and the horse you rode in on, you little prick.

Posted by: Tom65 | August 26, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

Any day, another odious column by Richard Cohen. Please quit masquerading as a liberal, sir. To be a liberal, you must have some ability to think outside of yourself. You obviously do not.

Nothing that Obama, his family or campaign does will please you. You've made that perfectly clear. Your schtick is old and tired and you need to go. You have about as much insight into the human condition as a tapeworm.

The editors and publisher of the Washington Post should forever be embarassed for paying you to pen such ignorant swill.

Posted by: Danno | August 26, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Michelle does not need to be presidential. She needs to follow the model of past first ladies. Brash is not acceptable and if it reapears McCain will have another house after November.

Posted by: Cousin | August 26, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Notice that the right(wrong)-wingers can only spout the same discredited nonsense to support their points. They have no facts, just racism and fear.

The Republicans have failed. The economy proves it. Enough said. It happened during Reagan and Bush I as well. Their policies have consistently failed to provide progress for ALL Americans, just the top 1%. But they can count on the hillbilly racist element to consistently vote against their own interests due to their fear. Must be good to have an ignorant mob to unquestioningly do your bidding.

The Republicans have been exploiting uneducated, lower middle-class whites for years. Has ANY of them ever actually prospered under a Republican administration? Hell no. But if you play on their fear of gays, abortion, and, obviously, reading, you can get them to vote for anything.

The sad thing is that WHITES don't realize how ridiculously they are being exploited and by their own kind. So much for the "master" race.

Posted by: James King | August 26, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Give it a rest Cohen, you are a disgusting man. Give it a rest. This column is insulting in more ways than I care to even bother with.

Posted by: debrazza | August 26, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

You, sir, are an ass.

Posted by: yellowdoggie | August 26, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

A small, cold man wrote this column. He may not have a wife or child, but I think I can assume he had a mother!

Posted by: Lois Fitzgerald | August 26, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the this honest article. You are dead on!

Posted by: Daniel Young/ San Francisco | August 26, 2008 7:36 PM | Report abuse

It is hard to see how R. Cohen came to the conclusions that he did. I saw and listened intently to Michelle's speech. Her speech was the best I have ever heard a potential firt lady deliver. To try to psychoanalyze her speech, give me someone qualitifed to make such an assessment. I am no aware that Cohen has such credentials.

Posted by: Earl C | August 26, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse


Richard: what has gotten into you. Don't you remember that WaPo staffers are only supposed to praise Obama -- and Michelle?

Have you checked the Washington Monument? It could be cracking. A WaPo staffer actually trying to do an honest job of reporting or commenting just might cause it to crack and fall.

Are you trying to restore journalistic standards at the WaPo? Obama is more likely to be living in the Whitehouse next year, and that is not going to happen.

Posted by: William | August 26, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Professional woman checking in.

I thought Michelle Obama's (MO's) speech was tremendously effective-- it rounded her character and allowed many Americans to relate to her more fully. The previous information (Princeton, Harvard, Sidley & Austin, University of Chicago Medical Center)gave MO's impressive resume. Last night's speech provided a gentler dimension-- highly selective, sure-- but equally valid.

Nothing in the convention speech diminishes MO's many achievements. I suspect that the sum of both portraits capture MO's many dimensions.

Posted by: Ruth | August 26, 2008 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Logs in the cabin alright. Careful not to step on one.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Logs in the cabin alright. Careful not to step on one.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

The difference between Richard Cohen and Michelle Obama is that she is a mother, and he is just a man with a small appendage. She spoke to every woman and sensible man in America with her speech. Cohen, you are a small man, and if by chance you do make your mother proud, well, she must wear army boots for sure.

Posted by: Dave | August 26, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The Betty Crocker approach is sad, but differently than Mr. Cohen intends.

What's sad is the Betty Crocker image had to be done to appeal to those on the right side of the spectrum who hold that a woman's place is in the home.

Michele's act last night was a sop to the family values crowd who think that all women should be Better Crocker.

The family values crowd is a crock, but the dummies do vote.

Posted by: 809212876 | August 26, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

You know, after hearing this lovely, bright shining star that is Michelle Obama speak, I wondered whether anyone could dare try to twist her beautiful sentiments, one-hundred percent pure Americana, into something grotesque. I didn't think it could be done.

So, my hat's off to the author.

Having now seen this with my own two eyes, I can now only wonder as to motive.

Could it be that Ms. Obama has set the bar so high for Republican women next week?

Like Cindy McCain, the geriatric Paris Hilton who buys houses like most women buy shoes, is gonna connect with the average family out there that's suffering under the policies her husband would only make worse? Not very likely.

Oh, Lordy, I can't wait to read the critique of that speech from Mr. Cohen. There'll be no attempt at bipartisan cutesie metaphor, not even a hint of Tammy Wynette standing by her man in spite of his close friendship with Paxon lobbyist Vicky Iseman. No mention of that special term of endearment Senator McCain reserves for his snuggums, either. No, just some slobbering meaningless drivel about her poise, her charm, and her outfit.

Perhaps there's a more serious reason for lashing out so sophomorically. Could it be that M. Obama's oratory dealt a devastating blow to Carly Fiorina's plan to siphon off disgruntled Clinton supporters by fomenting divisiveness within the party? Could it be that the squad of belligerent baboons scratching desperately at the glass behind which the untouchable bananas of electoral victory are kept are now having to devise a new nefarious plot to keep Americans from deciding based on the candidates' respective positions on genuine issues? My heart bleeds.

I really could care less either way. The question I'd really like answered is: is winning really that important to you that you'd trade in your humanity for it? Because that was the essence of Ms. Obama's speech: humanity. Not the cold, ruthless, cut-throat economic Darwinism, on which you and your ilk hang your hats, but a place where Americans care about each other again in spite of your desperate attempts to divide us.

The Peace Train is about to leave the station, Mr. Cohen. Won't you climb on board with us? Or would you rather wait for the Rapture once McCain fulfills Biblical prophecy by starting a world conflagration?

Oh, didn't they tell you over at Rev. Hagee's? You'll be converting, you know.

Posted by: vile | August 26, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

The Betty Crocker approach is sad, but differently than Mr. Cohen intends.

What's sad is the Betty Crocker image had to be done to appeal to those on the right side of the spectrum who hold that a woman's place is in the home.

Michele's act last night was a sop to the family values crowd who think that all women should be Better Crocker.

The family values crowd is a crock, sad that they vote.

Posted by: 809212876 | August 26, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Clearly Cohen should go and work for Fox News.

Posted by: Jerry | August 26, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Clearly Cohen should go and work for Fox News.

Posted by: Jerry | August 26, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I prefer to love Michelle and her family.

A message to all Jew-Americans: stop hating Obama and don't give credit to the neocons' ideology. There is only one world.

Posted by: stearm | August 26, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

The only real moment and real people were the kids. Everything else is phony.

BO is running for president but we get his wife's family, upbringing and background. So, because his own family was so dysfunctional and broken, her family and upbringing is supposed to help us get a better picture of him? The holes are still unfilled ... MO didn't succeed in givin us a fuller "picture" of MO. Watching the excerpts this morning (I won't be watching until tonight and tomorrow night), I kept thinking ... who is running? Did we replace Hillary with MO?

Posted by: JDinCA | August 26, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I prefer to love Michelle and her family.

A message to all Jew-Americans: stop hating Obama and don't give credit to the neocons' ideology. There is only one world.

Posted by: stearm | August 26, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

The only real moment and real people were the kids. Everything else is phony.

BO is running for president but we get his wife's family, upbringing and background. So, because his own family was so dysfunctional and broken, her family and upbringing is supposed to help us get a better picture of him? The holes are still unfilled ... MO didn't succeed in givin us a fuller "picture" of MO. Watching the excerpts this morning (I won't be watching until tonight and tomorrow night), I kept thinking ... who is running? Did we replace Hillary with MO?

Posted by: JDinCA | August 26, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

The only real moment and real people were the kids. Everything else is phony.

BO is running for president but we get his wife's family, upbringing and background. So, because his own family was so dysfunctional and broken, her family and upbringing is supposed to help us get a better picture of him? The holes are still unfilled ... MO didn't succeed in givin us a fuller "picture" of MO. Watching the excerpts this morning (I won't be watching until tonight and tomorrow night), I kept thinking ... who is running? Did we replace Hillary with MO?

Posted by: JDinCA | August 26, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Its Cindy McCain's turn to speak now. Let's see if she is up to it.

Posted by: Jim | August 26, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Its Cindy McCain's turn to speak now. Let's see if she is up to it.

Posted by: Jim | August 26, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

there's a few mins. i'll never be able to get back...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

The only real moment and real people were the kids. Everything else is phony.

BO is running for president but we get his wife's family, upbringing and background. So, because his own family was so dysfunctional and broken, her family and upbringing is supposed to help us get a better picture of him? The holes are still unfilled ... MO didn't succeed in givin us a fuller "picture" of MO. Watching the excerpts this morning (I won't be watching until tonight and tomorrow night), I kept thinking ... who is running? Did we replace Hillary with MO?

Will she still be proud of and loves this country when BO loses? No ... because all those who didn't vote for him are ignorant racists!

Posted by: JDinCA | August 26, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

We all bleed RED in the battlefield, and all our tears are colorless. So, please give RACE a REST! By the way, sorry we failed you, Hillary. We should had worked harder - we should had worked smarter. Now we must accept Obama (the modern JFK) as our Commander-In-Chief, tutored by Biden (his personal Dick Cheney) ... then again, perhaps not ...

Posted by: Louie | August 26, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

We all bleed RED in the battlefield, and all our tears are colorless. So, please give RACE a REST! By the way, sorry we failed you, Hillary. We should had worked harder - we should had worked smarter. Now we must accept Obama (the modern JFK) as our Commander-In-Chief, tutored by Biden (his personal Dick Cheney) ... then again, perhaps not ...

Posted by: Louie | August 26, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

castillo nicely sets up the liberal line.....Obama cannot win because its a racist country.....what a crock!.........he cant win because he and his wife are phonys! Did Michelle mentio her church of 20 years last night?...Why not?...I thought she was a woman of faith?...What a phony!....never mentioned Trinity Church!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

This column was written by a sad little man. Perhaps Mr. Cohen does not have a wife or a child, but surely he had a mother.

Posted by: Lois Fitzgerald | August 26, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

"...he cant win because he and his wife are phonys!"

Said the anonymous coward. I guess you would rather have an under-achieving ignoramus who has capitalized on his family connections, who pretends to relate to the majority of Americans when he falls squarely in the top 1% as your leader. I guess THAT isn't being a phony? Or how about the so-called "maverick" who has championed Big Oil his entire career?

Stop with the hypocrisy.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I think that she said what she needed to say. Anything else would have given fuel to accusations that she is an angry black woman. She will still be coined as that...because she is a black woman and angry just seems to be attached to us whereever we go. But if any regretfully racist person saw her speech last night, their anxiety may have been allayed. And that, my friend, was exactly what the Obama camp was going for. We call that a strategic tactical move. We call that narrating according to the audience we want to persuade. Yes, we wish the world were different. But if we want Obama in the white house, and we want Michelle as the first lady, it had to be this way. And her speech was perfect for those reasons.

Posted by: Nicole | August 26, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Richard's right. Look, I'm an Obama supporter. However, this speech was to reassure those "down-scale" Democrats that Michelle and Obama, are just like them regular folk! LOL.

In politics, you have to pander to the lowest common denominator and this is what Michelle Obama's speech was all about. She is a supremely intelligent and accomplished woman who has every right to be proud of who she is and what she, and her husband have achieved.

Unfortunately, many Americans find intelligent and accomplished women threatening. That's the sad fact of life here.

Posted by: Chris, Atlanta, GA | August 26, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I think that she said what she needed to say. Anything else would have given fuel to accusations that she is an angry black woman. She will still be coined as that...because she is a black woman and angry just seems to be attached to us whereever we go. But if any regretfully racist person saw her speech last night, their anxiety may have been allayed. And that, my friend, was exactly what the Obama camp was going for. We call that a strategic tactical move. We call that narrating according to the audience we want to persuade. Yes, we wish the world were different. But if we want Obama in the white house, and we want Michelle as the first lady, it had to be this way. And her speech was perfect for those reasons.

Posted by: Nicole | August 26, 2008 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I liked it earlier in the campaign when Michelle Obama was being a little more "real" - poking fun at her husband and speaking openly about racism, etc - the fact of the matter is polls were showing a lot of voters didn't really like that. She had to come out last night and make herself palatable. Personally I think she did a really good job, showing another side of herself without lying. Just because she is a smart, successful woman, doesn't mean she doesn't also sincerely love her family and want what's best for her kids.

And guys - Cohen is a national columnist: its his job to be "self-important partisan hack." Cut the guy some slack.

Posted by: Liz | August 26, 2008 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Middle class? Didn't I read just today that the Obamas made $4.5 million last year? Let me into that middle class please.

Posted by: Elsie | August 26, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse


Well what in the sam hill did you expect? Good god, can the Washington Post's pundits be any stupider?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 26, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

By having Cohen as your surname, I will assume you are Jewish; fine with me. BUT I do take offense to your remarks about the terrific speech Michelle gave last night. My point is this: As a person of the Jewish faith you certainly know the history of atrocities done just because a person was Jewish; so here you go dissing on a beautiful black woman who knows full well that the color of your skin can, and does, affect some people's thinking. Who lobotomized you, sir?

Posted by: Bjsbluemax2 | August 26, 2008 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Cohen your read was a off course.

Posted by: Link | August 26, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

I think this is the most mean spirited piece I have ever read from Richard Cohen. Whooeee!!! Is he ever MAD?! Probably because he is so scared.
Scared the Obamas are going to become the First Family. Scared to have a lobotomized Betty Crocker rambling around the White House taking advantage of all the priveleges this country has given her while she has given nothing in return.
Cohen DOES represent, as these posts show, many people who feel this way. They are, almost to a one, scared and extremely angry and filled with preposterous vitriol. They are Republicans and they have spent everyday since 9/11 cultivating fear.
Well, behold their creation:" the beast who slouches towards Bethleham" is a perverse parody of every good and decent and fairminded and honorable and respectful aspect of the American
character.
In dishonoring Michelle Obama's life story, he dishonors us all.

Posted by: cms@cablespeed.com | August 26, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Elsie - and McCain is worth roughly TEN TIMES that. But I guess he's just "one of the guys," huh?

Obama EARNED his wealth, unlike McCain. But I guess only conservatives ever "earn" their wealth. Yeah, getting kickbacks from major corporations is such hard work.

Silence shill.

Posted by: James King | August 26, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse


Why don't these guys concerned about the candidates wives ever discuss Cindy McCain and her drug abuse?

How politically incorrect for the liberals to do so, while the rabid right creates mockumentary lies about religion, family, and life about the uppity Obamas?

go away

Posted by: Lori Enos | August 26, 2008 8:58 PM | Report abuse

?? Someone wrote that Obama has a shaddy past?? Oh you mean like John M involved in the Keating Five..is that the kind of past you mean??

Posted by: Thomas (LA) | August 26, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

?? Someone wrote that Obama has a shaddy past?? Oh you mean like John M involved in the Keating Five..is that the kind of past you mean??

Posted by: Thomas (LA) | August 26, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

My God, she was delightful!

Posted by: Bill | August 26, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Cohen drank the kool-aid a long time ago.
He was touting on what a 'uniter' Bush would be during thew 2000 Florida fiasco. Even admitting his father would hate him supporting a Republican. The man is an old fool - like the most of the MSM.

Posted by: Jl | August 26, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Very seldom I agree with Mr. Cohen, but this time he was absolutely correct. Can't have an angry Negro in the White House, now can we?

Posted by: nativson | August 26, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Cohen,

What is the matter with you? Did you watch her speech sober? She did a great job!

You are so lost inside the beltway.

Posted by: gwbush2323 | August 26, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I also found Ms. Obama's speech was well written by the speech writers but completely insincere and unconvincing. She came off as more fake and elite than ever.

Posted by: McCain Woman Democrat | August 26, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Only a bias old fool would dare to write such trash. Your mind set opens doors that would lead a sane person to believe that what you saw, scared you! She was beautiful, brilliant, and the brightest of stars on her night. And no dumb ass article by you can change that!

Posted by: The Un-sheepman | August 26, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse


WHAT a ditzy rendition!
Did Cohen phone it in from the shower? What accounts for it.

Cohen meant to speak above our heads...and granted, he attracts among the dumbest readers,heads low.. but this airy fairy little blurb is a take only a supercilious snotty preening little junior high student could manage.

Posted by: airy | August 26, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Your "IGNORANCE" & "WORDS" lack Insight!

Your "IGNORANCE" & "WORDS" lack Insight!

Your "IGNORANCE" & "WORDS" lack Insight!

Your "IGNORANCE" & "WORDS" lack Insight!

Your "IGNORANCE" & "WORDS" lack Insight!

Posted by: Virginia DEM for Obama | August 26, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for voicing the emotions of part of the silent number of the short sighted, cynical, and opinionated. Like most of you, I'll assume your pandering "get over it" remark makes you feel bold enough to rationalize your fear of non-whites. If I ever hear something like that said to me or anyone in my family, I would reply with right hook. Then I would say, "OK, now get over it".
I wonder what Eugene Robinson would think of this garbage...
Your opinion is worthless.

Posted by: Mike | August 26, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for voicing the emotions of part of the silent number of the short sighted, cynical, and opinionated. Like most of you, I'll assume your pandering "get over it" remark makes you feel bold enough to rationalize your fear of non-whites. If I ever hear something like that said to me or anyone in my family, I would reply with right hook. Then I would say, "OK, now get over it".
I wonder what Eugene Robinson would think of this garbage...
Your opinion is worthless.

Posted by: Mike | August 26, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for voicing the emotions of part of the silent number of the short sighted, cynical, and opinionated. Like most of you, I'll assume your pandering "get over it" remark makes you feel bold enough to rationalize your fear of non-whites. If I ever hear something like that said to me or anyone in my family, I would reply with right hook. Then I would say, "OK, now get over it".
I wonder what Eugene Robinson would think of this garbage...
Your opinion is worthless.

Posted by: Mike | August 26, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I really don't undestand who Cohen is blackmailing or who's brother in law at the WaPo that owes Cohen money is letting him hang onto this job. I made the error tonight of my (literally)semi annual "maybe I'll give Cohen a chance and see if he's doing anything more meaningful than perenially enjoying his own utterly subjective and scattered bloiviating". My error. Cohen is a man (you have to see him on MSNBC to REALLY get the full flavor of his unmitigated self congratulatory vibe) who should really. seriously be canned from this paper to make room for someone interested in responsible and reasoned ideas, progressive or conservative. I've met Michelle Obama, and though Barack was only my 3rd perference for Pres., I know that she and Barack have more actual experience, decency. and commitment to improving average folks lives in their respective little toes than Cohen has in his entire body. God keep me, my family, my colleagues, and anyone with a modicum of critical thinking far, far away from this man's "work". Why did I waste my time. I KNEW it!

Posted by: DD | August 26, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Dick,
I agree with other posters here, you need to retire. Once the mind goes, one should think about leaving the stage for younger folks.

Posted by: jaleh | August 26, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Dick,
I agree with the other posters here, you need to retire. Once the mind starts going, one must think about leaving the stage for the younger folks.

Posted by: jalehw | August 26, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen: It is because of people like you -- old white guys -- all over television and the print media, who continue to hold highly accomplished black men and women (like Barack and Michelle Obama) to a different standard than fellow unaccomplished white guys (like John McCain) that we are even having this discussion.

No one cares what you think, about Michelle Obama or anyone else. Just go away. Retire. You're an embarrassment.

Posted by: The Real World | August 26, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Cohen, Krauthammer,Gerson and rest of the greedy vampires who are nothing but Likud stogies are simply angry and bitter because for once the people may end up putting someone in the Oval Office whom they can't control and dictate to via the Israeli lobby.

By the way, you are free to move to the your number of country, Israel.

Posted by: James Neally | August 26, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

It is funny reading these comments while Michelle Obama shoots daggers at Hillary Clinton during her speech at the DNC. Girlfriend is one angry, privileged, elite wife of a first term senator.

Posted by: DonKool | August 26, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow. so a black woman can't win. If she shows she is just a normal, smart, competent, classy woman, she is a phony. If she gave a fiery speech about the oppression people of her race and gender have faced over the centuries, she hate America. Cohen, for a supposed "liberal" has there been any Democratic speech of the past, say, 10 years, that you have thought was good?

Posted by: Dan | August 26, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

You opinion doesn't worth crap. Bitter old stupid looser! Shave!

Posted by: Ann | August 26, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting how white liberals, like Mr. Cohen, keep dragging in the race issue even when Barack Obama has been trying very hard to get beyond it.

Obama got where he is by NOT running a campaign based on past racial grievance. Sure, he could have recited the whole litany every time, from slavery up through Bull Connor and beyond. But if he rubbed America's nose in her past, he would never even have become the Democratic nominee, let alone have a chance at being President.

The race issue may make more progress if Obama is elected President, than another hundred recitations of America's racist past. Maybe it's really time to get obsessing about a past we cannot change, and focus on a future that we can affect.

I think Michelle did the right thing by not mentioning race. By not mentioning it, she was implicitly making a point about it: RACE SHOULD NOT MATTER ANY MORE.

Posted by: SteveL | August 26, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

thank you! her wings were clipped, her mind anesthetized. she was turned into a cookie baking dutiful daughter/mother who collects donations for her children's afterschool by selling christmas cards. the theme of the 1st evening was pity. how sad. no courage and no backbone left in democratic party.

Posted by: aah | August 26, 2008 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Cohen: You are not relevant, your opinions are not relevant. The country has moved on. Thank God!

Posted by: autumnhaiku | August 26, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, can anyone shed light on why Cohen keeps his platform here at the WaPO? I'm not joking or being gratuitously catty, I (and I'm sure others) would value some info on who makes these hiring/contract decisions and in this case, why.. Do Ignatious (sp) and conservative editorial board folks make this call? Please post now and name names, dates, links. If the WaPo is confident it is making the sound choice in letting this self deluded hack foist his angry and in some unclear way frustrated - delusions on readers they won't mind, they'll stand by their decisions. Anyone have info we can share right HERE, right NOW in this forum that might help us develop a case to build and impart to others that could result over time in the WaPo's cutting their p.r. image losses and letting Cohen go? To those with relevant insight please respond. Thanks very much - this
is beyond the pale for this empty, intellectually inconsistent, and ultimately destructive "writer" to be allowed to gratuitously disparage this woman so callously. Cohen, if you're reading, can you print all the links to the pieces in which you proudly explained to the country all Michelle Obama's talents, rich background, and
strong moral character that you bizarrely blame HER for squandering wholesale in one speech? I'm waiting.........

Posted by: DD | August 26, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Bless you Cohen, for a brave and timely piece!!

Cohen didn't say that he doesn't like or respect Michelle Obama. He said that he feels sorry for her. He is absolutely spot on. We should all feel sorry for a quality person like Michele Obama, who has to grovel at the altar of white humility. She is just as qualified as Barack to be president, not to mention McCain and Cindy.

She did what she had to do. It is just a pity that she had to do it.

Posted by: Jamie | August 26, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I've pretty much given up on the comments here on WAPO.com but I have to respond to this opinion piece:

Rich,

You always were the intellectual lightweight of the stable but this is just sad. What did you expect from her at this point? She has been worked over worse than Hillary was during Bill's term. She had an opportunity to reach out via the idiot tube to all the idiots and throw some weight on the other side of the scale. Intelligent people do not get their news from TV. She was not speaking to intelligent people so it is expected that she would dumb things down a few thousand notches so the viewers (who I'm sure are patting themselves on the back about how tuned in they are politically) could be led to the truth. She is not some USA-hating negro harpy. She is an intelligent successful educated woman and she is has the family to go with it. This includes the man she loves, who is far more admirable than his opponent. Not that his opponent is without virtue or achievement, but Obama is just better.

Posted by: croaker69 | August 26, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

She had to bow and kiss up to help the Democrats take back the country. You will have to bow and kiss up to get table scraps once Obama is President.

New sheriff in town dummy, and the sheriff is.................well, he ain't one of yours.

Posted by: rusty 3 | August 26, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

You have outdone yourself, Mr. Cohen. This is the single stupidest thing I have read about Michelle Obama's speech, although I suppose I could have found something similar at National Review or Townhall.

Posted by: ally | August 26, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

You cannot swing a cat in the WaPo newsroom w/out smacking the likes of Richard Cohen -- old white guys who're there only because of affirmative action decades ago for guys just like them.

You're a relic, Cohen. The future belongs to meritocrats like the Obamas who owe their success to dreaming big and working hard and NOT their skin color or family name. Keep sucking up to John McCain. Maybe Cindy will give you a house as a Christmas gift this year.

Posted by: From Florida | August 26, 2008 11:49 PM | Report abuse

What, is this guy kidding? Everyone I talked to was stunningly impressed by the speech. Now to his point about her using the same cliches, supressing her intelligence yada yada yada. Well what did you expect? Hilary was honest back in 1993 when she made a comment about not being one to bake cookies and she was crucified. Is Cohen's memory so short? I have seen Obama do things out of character, such as wearing that stupid flag pin which indicates absolutely nothing about how much you care for the country, But I understand why he did it. He is dealing with the dumbest electorate in the civilized world, an electorate that prefers to have someone in that office that they can have a beer with than with someone who is actually competant to do the job, the NASCAR racer that knows nothing of Shakespeare or Einstein and yet expects Kerry to know who the hell Dale Erhardt is. This is a country of voters who actually vote for the DUMBER of the two candidates. They abhor intelligence and independent thinking, Do, Michele probably still is that independent minded woman that Cohen first admired but God forbid that she shows that. She has to play to the electorate and the ignorant masses that actually put the most incompetant president in US history into the White House TWICE has to be played to. For, you see, we Democrats want to win this time, for ourselves and for the country. When we are honest and act bright we lose. When we play every cliche in the book we win. Even someone as ignorant as Cohne is should understand that. I do.

Posted by: MarkinNY | August 26, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

Michelle O. said all the right things, but only b/c the handlers reigned her in and told what what she'd better do if she wants to redecorate 1600 Pennsylvania. She wasn't very convincing -- obviously not very good at connecting with an audience on a personal level. She can read a speech just fine though.

Posted by: Billy Bob | August 26, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

Cohen has lost all semblance of sanity. I am appealing to the Post to please put him out to pasture. You are a disgrace to your profession.

Posted by: nathan | August 27, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

This, from the dude who thinks math is too hard?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/blog/2006/02/15/BL2006021501989.html

Dick Cohen is a complete, total, innumerate, antiintellectual loser.
Thus, he's perfect for the Washington Post.

Posted by: George Smiley | August 27, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

partisan ignorance knows no boundaries

Posted by: Harold | August 27, 2008 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Cohen, you are soooo wrong on this one; you are pathetic!

Posted by: Black and Bitter Like Coffee | August 27, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm ... Let's see here --

Can anybody imagine a speech like that from Laura Bush?

Can anybody imagine a speech like that from Barbara Bush?

Can anybody imagine a speech like that from Nancy Reagan?

Can anybody imagine a speech like that from Rosalynn Carter?

Can anybody imagine a speech like that from Betty Ford?

Can anybody imagine a speech like that from Pat Nixon?

Can anybody imagine a speech like that from Lady Bird Johnson?

Can anybody imagine a speech like that from Jacqueline Kennedy?

Can anybody imagine a speech like that from Mamie Eisenhower?

Can anybody imagine a speech like that from Bess Truman?

The only two who come close are Eleanor Roosevelt and Hillary Clinton.

Good job, Michelle Obama.

Cohen, you're the sadsack.

Posted by: Hneftafl | August 27, 2008 12:07 AM | Report abuse

And by the way ...

The word is not "kitchy" like what you say "coo" to a baby.

The word is "kitschy."

Posted by: Hneftafl | August 27, 2008 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Asinine column, Cohen. Michelle Obama did exactly what she had to do and she did it beautifully. Attacked as elitist and exotic by both the Clinton and McCain camps, Michelle showed that the Obamas grew up as ordinary people who through hard work and perserverance rose from the bottom to the top, both real Horatio Alger stories. It is a pity she had to do this, but it was necessitated by the character assination that she and her husband have been exposed to for over a year.

And you, Cohen, are part of the problem.

Posted by: Dave | August 27, 2008 12:12 AM | Report abuse

What are you talking about? It was a great speech. She is running for First Lady, not President, you moron. She was incredibly persuasive and made her points with an easy grace. Four stars. She was natural and the family love was there for all of America to see. Cohen, are you just one of these guys determined to be sour about Obama no matter what?

Posted by: Chuck | August 27, 2008 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Asinine column, Cohen. Michelle Obama did exactly what she had to do and she did it beautifully. Attacked as elitist and exotic by both the Clinton and McCain camps, Michelle showed that the Obamas grew up as ordinary people who through hard work and perserverance rose from the bottom to the top, both real Horatio Alger stories. It is a pity she had to do this, but it was necessitated by the character assination that she and her husband have been exposed to for over a year.

And you, Cohen, are part of the problem.

Posted by: Dave | August 27, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, two points:1 we'll stop crying racism if you'll stop ramming the Holocaust down our throats and 2. Mrs. Obama does not fit the caricature depicted on the cover of the New Yorker. To LAMMO1 You are an ass who wouldn't give accolades to the Black Madonna. You speak of privledged existences, have you ever been to the SouthSide of Chicago, if not do so and then speak about being privledged. Additionally,LAMMO1 there are hundreds of blacks attending IVY and Sister Colleges who got there because of their intelligence not affirmative action-stupid!! To Lynn, What a "hater" you are.

Posted by: knowalot | August 27, 2008 12:19 AM | Report abuse

As an Aussie I am absolutely gobsmacked as to why you have to have citizens "prove" corny values.


It seems to be the system and the deeply ingrained racism that makes the values debate even important in the US at this time.

As for the author I would have thought any "intelligent" journalist would have picked up the "lobotomy" is a sad metaphor for the idiocy and shallowness of the "system" not this woman's.

Posted by: jane | August 27, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me you are reacting to all the negative comments you are receiving in response to your opinions, as you have become even more obtuse and strange over time. You sound like a Fox News commentator. Mrs. Obama was speaking to the white, less educated Americans who, as you would expect, are having doubts about a black man becoming president, thanks to the corporate media and lobotomized Stepford pundits like yourself! Mrs. Obama did what she should have done and did it exquisitely! Your wisecracking saracasm is pretentious and unseemly. You used to be better than this!

Posted by: Heidar Nowrouz | August 27, 2008 12:58 AM | Report abuse

A nice Jewish boy like Richard Cohen is obviously smitten with a shiksa goddess like me.

Don't give him such a hard time over something he said about a black woman, okay? Thanks, boys!

Posted by: Cindy McCain | August 27, 2008 12:59 AM | Report abuse

So how about the Real not the Make Over
Michelle Obama here now then? The one who
had to get her US Senator husband Messiah
Barack Hussein Obama to get Michelle Obama
Employer that Chicago hospital a million
dollar taxpayer dollar questionable earmark
so they can get an over $347,000 Salary to
do nothing but find ways to throw sick
poor people under the bus and deny them
medical care now then? After all we do
still have Federal Laws against Defrauding
the Taxpayers,Obstruction of Justice, and
Illegal Conversion of Federal Funds for
Personal Gain and the Obama's Broke Every
Stinking One Of Them! So send Barack nad
Michelle Obama to jail where they belong.
NOBAMA!

Posted by: Sandy 5274 | August 27, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Let's see, Michelle Obama has to spend her valuable time refuting the lies that the GOP has spun about her with the full cooperation of village idiots like Cohen - and now the same village idiots take her to task for responding? That's just precious. You're an embarrassment. Seriously. I know you think you're some sort of master of the universe, but you're just an embarrassment. Retire.

Posted by: Jersey Tomato | August 27, 2008 2:09 AM | Report abuse

This is exactly why Hillary should have gotten the nomination as she deserves. What do you expect from a guy who talks in vague myths? Honesty from his wife? With Hillary, we would have had Bill, a man of substance and intelligence and although the rightwing hates him and makes him controversial by twisting his words, thoughts, and deeds, a man of forthright integrity.
We are getting what we deserve with the unfair treatment of the Clintons: A choice between Bush/MacCain and the vaporous twig boy and his chameleon wife.

Posted by: Tamerina | August 27, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Good Lord, Cohen, you really, really, really want that tax cut, don't you?

Listen, I hear that over in Italy they have lots of sublime villas situated on the banks of stunningly beautiful lakes. Why don't you take your millions and millions of dollars over there and buy one? Leave the sweaty American hoi-polloi behind and enjoy the exclusive company of the graceful and super-wealthy. Get out, shut up, leave, go, go, stop ruining my country with your laughable hogwash and your all-encompassing greed.

Posted by: W. Kiernan | August 27, 2008 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Has Cohen ever once extolled Ms. Obama's virtues (that he's so shocked, shocked are now apparently sullied) prior to this?
If so, maybe we need to give if a break - maybe. If not , this is a
deeply dishonarable piece and represents a columnist with personal vindictiveness who is in some clear if unfortunate sense - literally out of control. I don't know his age, I do know he looks physically bloated and unhealthy when you see him commenting on television. Maybe there's a health issue a la the unfortunate Bob Novak. That may explain some of the loose cannon styled writings that have decayed in coherence over the last several years. Mr. Cohen, I have a firm suspicion that given your undeniable ego, you're reading these comments and fuming over your breakfast coffee this AM, probably ready to say that your critics are Communists, as you did recently in a column. Can you show us where you've really used column space to back Michelle, or if not, and you stand by this disrespectful diatribe - if there is any health or other issue impinging on your writing abilities, can you do the decent thing and retire gracefully? Thank you very much for the work you've done earlier in your life, but it's time now, Mr.Cohen.

Posted by: daved | August 27, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Does Michelle Obama more closely resemble

(a) a poor pitiable object of scorn who's lost her moral compass and entirely sold her soul, having been turned into an empty shell and forfeited all respect she's earned, or

(b)a vivacious, strong, articulate, experienced woman of accomplishment who believes and stands by with firm conviction every syllable she uttered - but played a slight bit of the political
game that we all MUST admit are played by EVERY single successful politician (simply in terms of having been coached and advised in developing a media-friendly manner in which to deliver those powerful ideas of hers).

(a) or (b), Richard?

Posted by: ChicagoMM | August 27, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Cohen has demonstrated his bias once again.

His right wing neocon Republican nonsense has become tiresome.

Cohen has become a boring one trick pony.

Posted by: Continuum | August 27, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I have noticed the post from commenter "Kanye" is all over the internet in comment sections.

Exact same words. Copy and Paste Smear.

And Cohen? Boy, are you an Angry White Male who's afraid his priviliged position, gotten after centuries of affermative action, is not secure anymore.

Posted by: Willem van Oranje | August 27, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

If the tone of Obama supporters here is carried out into the country during the general, I have no doubt that they can lose this thing for him all by themselves.

Posted by: vanderleun | August 27, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

vanderleun:
dream on - we're the type of citizens who play an active role in
this struggling democracy. To be angry gratuitously, without critical thinking skills would be fultile, granted. But the statements Isee of posters here I believe to be those of normal people absolutely exhausted by BS like Cohen's and the role this type of vacuous self serving rhetoric ( that is a carbon copy of the rhetoric that has pulled this great country to the edge of the abyss) plays in public duscussion. We are citizens who register voters, do phone banking, contribute hard earned cash, poll watch, and get out the vote on election day. Dream on
if you think these quatities aren't a manifestation of being deeply energized to work between now and November to make our lives (and yours, btw, unless you're a millionaire with no social concience) and our kids' lives better and our country more robust and safe. Sit back in your bubble bath and criticize while we shape our futures.

Posted by: Stan in Milwaukee | August 27, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

It won't happen to Obama because lobotomies are only required of women, haven't you noticed?

Posted by: colleen | August 27, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Stan:
You Obama supporters are highly organized, no doubt about it. The left-wing blogs like DailyKOS give you your marching orders, and then you swarm the media (like you're doing here or you did to Ron Fournier), to give the impression of a popular groundswell.

The WashingtonPost should require each poster to supply their email address, so that the Internet IP address can be checked. I strongly suspect that a number of "posters" are really just one person posting under several different user names.

Posted by: SteveL | August 27, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

And thus, Cohen's transformation to a GOP hack -- begun with his endorsement of the Iraq war -- is now complete.

Posted by: Politiscribe | August 27, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Richard Cohen, the "Family Circus" of columnists.

Posted by: Politiscribe | August 27, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Cohen enforces the Jackie Robinson rules (be perfect, live up to contradictory expectations, never fight back but don't look humanly weak) while pretending deep concern. Does he have no self-awareness?

Posted by: JRR | August 27, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I saw Michelle Obama on the TV. Did you know that she is black?

Posted by: Dick Whata | August 27, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Cohen has become a boring one trick pony."

Sorry, but it's you 'trons who have become boring one trick ponies. In the course of this campaign you've gone from amusingly entertaining to clownishly tiresome to annoyingly tedious and downright boring.

Any criticism from MSM types and like clockwork, here come the childishly fulminating taunts: you're stupid, you're senile, you're an idiot, you're a jerk, you're a fool, you're a partisan hack, you're a self-absorbed ass, you have issues with women, you need writing lessons, you should shut up and go away, you should be fired; followed by the inevitable and downright laughable accusation: you're a Neocon tool bowing and scraping to your right wing corporate masters. LOL

You are without a doubt the absolute worst ambassadors for your candidate imaginable. You don't persuade, you don't engender support, you only alienate. If the diabolical master Karl Rove had invented you in stroke of opposition campaigning genius, he couldn't have done a better job than you've done with yourselves. At this point, no doubt, your candidate would gladly stuff socks in your mouths for the duration (metaphorically speaking), but he can't. It's he, after all, who is responsible for your original programing and it's he who sicced you on the rest of us. Talk about your unintended consequences. But do by all means keep it up, 'bots. When you're licking your wounds come November, try to remember that a large share of the blame you'll be so eager to parcel out belongs to you.

Posted by: SukieTawdry | August 27, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

SteveL , thanks for the laugh. You sound like someone who doesn't have much experience in the political process but who swallow's Fox's/Rush's childish diatribes wholesale. Try thinking for yourself, it's much more fulfilling.

I was politically active starting in the 60's, when my father marched with King in Selma on my meager couple hundred dollar bank acct given to me as savings bond birthday gifts by grandparents. Now THOSE were marching orders worth taking! I never looked back politically,

Fake groundswell? You ought to talk with people at the grassroots level, see the turnouts relative to past elections, and then tell us all what's fake about it. Judge it fake at your own peril.
That's what we need - people like you who think it's ephemeral and will quickly fade, Put your feet up, Steve, relax, please. be our guest! We are all talk and won't turn out the vote. It's fake,Steve! Don't register any GOP'er's or work on election day, Steve. It's fake, no political threat at all. Go back to sleep, guy.Nothing to see here...

And what's with your DailyKos non sequitur? How old is that guy, 30 something? Born in the 70's, maybe? 1955 here.

Steve, either (a) you don't take part in elections in the ways I mentioned, in which case you have NO business trashing people who do or (b) you DO those things, in which case you should at least have some respect for the effort it takes.
I'll bet on (a).

Lastly, I don't see your email address on your post.
Did I miss it, since you seem to think it's vital? Please add it to your next one, else you will have been proven a hypocrite.
Maybe you are actually Richard Cohen - never thought you'd join us!

I'm done with you, by the way. Feel free to have the last word, as I won't be reading it. Wasting my time with the likes of you and Cohen is an idiotic waste of my time. You've inspired me, though - I'm going to donate to Obama today (he was my 3rd choice by the way, and I've called his office frequently over the last coupe years to rail against many of his stances/policies)..

I'm out of here.

Posted by: Stan in Milwaukee | August 27, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Well, that's a commie for you.
By any means necessary.
Lie, cheat, murder, steal or act like Betty Crocker.

Posted by: LiberalismEquals911 | August 27, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

They took out the most offensive part of cohens note. awesome. no apology or retraction though. what a scumbag.

Posted by: me | August 27, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Why Mrs. Obama had to even make a speech like this is beyond me. All of this should have been common knowledge. To have to explain who and what they are is damage control. He speech would have had better impact if she would have just done a rah, rah speech about change.

Speaking of common, common sense does not seem to be a logical thought process possessed by many liberals. "G..D.. America" How many of us really would tolerate someone like that to be our mentor?

Posted by: Brian | August 27, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Barack Hussein Obama is the Affirmative Action candidate. To late the Democrats realize that they have been sold a bill of goods. Too little, too late. Better luck next time!!

RW

Posted by: Ruth Werre | August 27, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

This note by Cohen is shocking and offensive. Please fire him, or at least do not allow him to post under the Post-Partisan heading. He is so in the tank for McCain.

My God, tell me how any McCain, John, Cindy or his father the Admiral, could give a log cabin speech! Michelle Obama earned this all-American speech by being an all-American story of hard work and perseverance!

What a slimebucket Cohen is.

Posted by: dollared | August 27, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

yeah, people who actually have the biographies of coming up from scratch should just shut up about it so those who were born to privilege can keep thinking they made it on their own!!

Posted by: pojo 68 | August 27, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of sad transformations, when exactly did you become such an enormous cobag, Richard? Was it around the time you were sexually harassing Devon Spurgeon or was it after that?

Posted by: Michael Fallai | August 27, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Colonel, please please tell us the secret recipe!

I like the original best, breast and thighs.


Posted by: Hungry | August 27, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen is absolutely correct. The Michelle we were allow to see this summer would much rather talk down her country and the horrible conservatives in it. Bill Clinton was right, it is a fairy tale. These folks have promised us everything we could ever hope for, for the rest of our days. The problem is 95% of it is unattainable fluff. I really feel for you folks who could care less about substance as long as you get your tingly feeling about how good your man looks and how well he can read.I think I see another house for McCain too.

Posted by: J. Greene | August 27, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Dear Leftoid Cohen haters:

Cohen is about as much of a "Right Wing Republican" as Tom Daschle is.

If you slime Mr. Cohen with personal attacks, do you think it wil cow him or change his mind? Or do you think it is more likely to honk him off even more and make him more turned off to the present day Democrat left on the web?

Also, if that is the tactic you favor, does it not mean you should reassess things?

I am a Republican. I don't agree with John McCain on everything, but of the two main choices this November he is the man.

I darn sure don't agree with Richard Cohen on a lot of things, but if I think he is mistaken on some issue or another (and I often do) I would use argument based on data rather than the "dessicated old loser" style attacks. (Really? FDR was frail when he got his third and fourth terms, but he was no loser. Ageism is a nasty thing, and it does not befit the user. Especially in a country where more and more older people stay active, and the average age of the voting populace is rising to boot.)

Quite frankly, the Democrats have had a certain segment that has been in a hate mode for a long time on the web. The problem with hate is, as they said in the Star Wars movies, over time it will consume you. You will have so much, you will hit out at people you otherwise would not. It will hurt those around you, and eventually you will destroy yourselves.

You are currently attacking one of the longest serving voices for left of center thought in the country. You reward his advice with personal insults and his long service to causes you probably support by calling him old.

Then again, maybe after all the times he has stood as a Democrat you wish him to become a Republican. Well, I guess we can take him, after all, Democrats talk about ending discrimination, as with Goldwater with the Civil Rights stuff, Nixon with teeth in it, and Bush appointing two black Secretaries of State (Not to mention the Clarence Thomas appointment) it is the GOP that actually does it.

Come join the Republicans, Mr. Cohen. We'll be glad to have you aboard, and we won't insult you for your age, your frankness, or your intellect.

Quite frankly, you might find nicer company as well. It's just a thought.

"Some things we believe to be true are actually different, from a different point of view." - Paraphrasing Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi in "Star Wars."

Posted by: Jersey Dave | August 28, 2008 1:03 AM | Report abuse

"What do you expect from a guy who talks in vague myths?"

Um, how about: "Hi, my name is John McCain"?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Betty Crocker or not, you can't wipe that scowl off Michelle's face no matter how many times she professes her love of country. You know in your heart she just ain't telling the truth.
As for Michelle's "razor sharp wit" is that where the "finally proud" and "downright mean country" thoughts come from? If so maybe that's why she needs to suck up to Betty Crocker.

Posted by: Sam Deakins | August 28, 2008 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Jersey Dave, you said it.

Posted by: boogyman | August 28, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

It amazes me what people get paid to do these days. Washington Post, you guys are a class act dinosaur newspaper. Donna, oops Dana Milbank and this guy are top rate.

Posted by: Jaye | August 28, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

i'm a dem and I didn't thing mr cohen's comments were antipblack, anti-woman or anti-dem (ie partisan).

I think everything he says is true Except that i think what she shared was legitimate and true for her. It was part of her and a part (women's softer roles in life) that our world doesn't value. But real.

I think the purpose of sharing it with us is exactly as Mr Cohen says, but I don't think it was deceptive. Just pragmatic and important to show a woman's other side.

I think, given Hillary's experience for example, that we apparemtly still have trouble with Women...being strong assertive and powerful. Remember Hillary's experienc also in 1992, criticised for being a modern powerful career woman not a brownie-baking homemaker?

Onto of it is the additional thing about "mean" or "anger" that being a black woman, oh so sadly, Michelle had to avoid.

I find her powerful but compassionate and feminine and always have. I am sad she needs to do it, but its ok to show another side of her...i think it was real so in that way I don't feel it demeaned her.

Even career women if they are being honest with you and themselves often will tell you that their closest relationships, their children their families...mean the most to them more than anything in the world.

Posted by: laura lynn | August 29, 2008 1:51 AM | Report abuse

just because "Cohen" is likely Jewish
WHY IS IT ALLOWED for someone to use the term
Jew
in a pejorative way
apparently since no one said anything and there are alot of entries after it, thats FINE with you all. GREAAAT>.
IT seemed to me Mr Cohen knows MO to be powerful,accomplished,brilliant-he's just dissapointed she didn't portray that part of her and i think mistakenly thinks that the part she did portray wasn't true (I think it is)

-Laura lynn...I wrote the other comment before I saw the anti-jewish one.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2008 2:03 AM | Report abuse

"I prefer to love Michelle and her family.

A message to all Jew-Americans: stop hating Obama and don't give credit to the neocons' ideology. There is only one world.

Posted by: stearm | August 26, 2008 7:55 PM"
-all Jew-Americans...using my religion as a slur in this case. I hear your tone. FYI-it hurts us like the N-word for Black Americans.

extra-crappy because so called "Jew-americans" on average will vote for Obama in a higher percentage than other white Americans...as even Rich Jews tend to be Democrats...why, because they tend to care about others who are struggling

So called "Jew americans" have been and had been WAY more supportive of Black Americans struggle against all kinds of recism on average than other white Americans

Read your history and stop being a BIGOT
and please don't allow blatent racial and ethnic bigotry to have a place here.

cohen's an old guy, apparently a republican. who cares what his religion is. If he's a republican he's in the minority of Jew's anyway.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 29, 2008 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Quoting Elaine:
"Yes, there are still people who find a smart, articulate, tall African-American woman "intimidating" who would never be intimidated by the same characteristics in a Caucasian woman".
They were intimidated- remember that woman Hillary Clinton? much more accomplishements than her opponent, but a boy, black or white, getting power was still less scary than a woman.

Posted by: Carine | August 29, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

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