First Lady Michelle Obama appears to be changing her approach.
It appears she's now starting to speak out about school violence, immigration, and gun control — a bold shift for a First Lady who until this point has limited her platform to such (supposedly) crowd-pleasing subjects as promoting physical fitness and supporting military families.
Mobama hasn't stopped waxing poetic about the merits of garden greens, but, as she said to a group of Democratic donors, she is paying increased public attention after she noticed "these young people were consumed with staying alive," rather than "reveling in the joys of their youth" (in other words, broccoli).
"There are so many kids in this country just like them, kids with so much promise, but so few opportunities, good kids who are doing everything they can to break the cycle and beat the odds," Mrs. Obama said. "We need to be better for them. We need to be better for all of our children in this country because they are counting on us to give them the chances they need for the futures they all deserve."
OK, so perhaps it's not exactly boundary-pushing to say kids shouldn't fear for their survival during the school day. But at a moment in which the legislative debate over gun-control has stalled (and there are still people buying guns without background checks) even a simple allusion to school violence takes on a political hue. Add to that a keynote speech on immigration at the annual meeting of Latino advocacy group National Council of La Raza, and the First Lady seems less worried than ever about ruffling conservatives.
Her kicked-up politicking comes on the heels of remarks at the African First Ladies Summit earlier this summer, where she said that First Ladies “have probably the best job in the world because while our husbands … have to react and respond to crises on a minute-to-minute basis, we got to work on what we’re passionate about."
Mrs. Obama — who, may we remind you, has a Harvard law degree and at least as many qualifications as Barack — now joins a list of other outspoken first ladies, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosslyn Carter, Nancy Reagan, and, of course, Hilary Clinton. Unlike some of her predecessors, however, she strategized: Play it safe, build up those approval ratings, and strike when the second-term elections have been won.