Michelle Obama Is The Anti-Donald Trump Surrogate That Her Husband Has Been Striving To Be
Michelle Obama gave a speech Thursday morning in Manchester, New Hampshire, and it proved to everyone what we already knew — she makes a better case for her fellow first lady than either of their husbands ever could. She proved it with her memorable speech at the Democratic National Convention in support of Hillary Clinton, when she discussed the importance of female role models. Her Thursday speech was a new knockout, taking aim at Donald Trump and his "locker room banter." Obama told the crowd, “To dismiss this as everyday ‘locker room’ talk is an insult to decent men everywhere.”
Part of Obama's appeal as a campaigner is obvious — she is well liked by much of America. A Gallup poll in August found that 64 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the first lady, making her much more popular than Clinton, Trump, or even her presidential husband. She's proven to be an expert viral video star, and a charming advocate of causes alongside other public figures. She's not a politician — she's more like America's mom or even more, its moral compass.
But even more than that, Obama is able to speak as a voice for America's women that Clinton, in the midst of the vitriolic political fray, often can't. Clinton campaigns tough. She talks about her experience, her even-keeled temperament, her fitness for office. But she doesn't often talk about the historic nature of her candidacy, the way that she breaks the rules that have existed in this country since its inception, the revolution she is fighting without firing any bullets. Clinton doesn't talk about her gender, because she fights for a world where no one discusses that in relation to her qualifications.
But when Obama speaks about the experiences of women in American politics, people listen.
In Obama's speech, she didn't talk about Democrat or Republican, or any of the normal policy fights of an ordinary election. As a figure outside of elected office or the normal fights in Congress or the White House, Michelle spoke about the moral issues of the election. "It would be dishonest and disingenuous for me to move on to the next thing like this was just a bad dream," Obama said of allegations of Trump's sexual assault. "This is not something we can ignore. It's not something we can sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season."
Part of Obama's impressive ability when talking about Clinton is the rumored frostiness between the two. According to reports, Obama and Clinton are not exactly friends. But Obama's case does not depend on her liking her predecessor as first lady. Her case goes beyond just the candidacy of Hillary Clinton as an individual to the case for a strong, qualified woman striving for a position she has fought for her whole life. She transcends her own personal life to fight for politics, just as she denounces Trump in a way that makes politics truly personal.