Theodore's World: Michelle Obama Raises Fears Over Hillary Clinton-style Debacle

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June 28, 2009

Michelle Obama Raises Fears Over Hillary Clinton-style Debacle

Michelle Obama has sparked fears that she is suffering from 'Hillary-itis' and wants to influence politics on healthcare

Michelle Obama raises fears over Hillary Clinton-style debacle


Democrats are fretting as the first lady seeks a wider role in the White House

Over the past five months Michelle Obama has basked in some of the most flattering reviews ever earned by an American first lady. Yet the first stirrings of discontent are beginning to surface as President Barack Obama’s wife emerges from her newly installed White House vegetable garden in search of a meatier political role.

Reports last week that she is seeking to expand her influence in her husband’s administration set alarm bells ringing among Democratic veterans.

Despite denials from White House officials that Michelle Obama is suffering from “Hillary-itis” — a burning desire to help her husband run the country — her long-running interest in healthcare has raised painful memories of 1994, when Hillary Clinton presided over a political debacle as her health reform proposals collapsed in Congress.

As a Harvard-educated lawyer and a former hospital administrator from Chicago, Michelle Obama has been dealing with the shortcomings of US healthcare for much of the past decade.

Yet since her husband became president in January she has mostly steered clear of the contentious debate over the soaring costs of treatment, insurance and care for the poor.

Instead she has emerged as a fashion icon, a model mother and a symbol of African-American achievement. The angry black woman who once suggested she had not been proud of her country until her husband ran for president has since been hailed as the most glamorous first lady since Jackie Kennedy.

Yet Democratic insiders have long suspected that Michelle Obama was ill-equipped for a background role as a dutiful spouse. “You know when she was happiest during the election?” asked one party strategist. “When Barack had to go back to Hawaii for his dying mother and Michelle took over his campaign.”

Earlier this month she caused a minor stir in party circles when she abruptly replaced her White House chief of staff after only four months in the job.

Jackie Norris, 37, had been Barack Obama’s campaign co-ordinator in the early primary state of Iowa and had apparently hit it off with his wife. But Norris later fell out with Desiree Rogers, a Chicago businesswoman and close friend to Obama who had become the White House social secretary.

When Norris was quietly shipped off to a different job, Michelle Obama turned to Susan Sher, 61, another old friend and her former boss at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Sher told The Washington Post last week that her first move as Michelle’s new chief of staff was to tell David Axelrod, the president’s senior adviser, that he needed to return her calls immediately.

Since Sher took over, Michelle Obama has become perceptibly more vocal about healthcare and community issues. Last week she visited San Francisco to launch a summer volunteer programme.

She also sent an e-mail to millions of Democratic supporters urging them to support her husband’s healthcare proposals, then gave a television interview to discuss her role in fighting childhood obesity.

Urging Americans to embrace a healthier lifestyle, she added: “Government can’t do it all . . . my hope is that if I play a role in sort of ringing the bell of prevention and wellness and exercise . . . I think that can be helpful.”

She has already instructed her staff to think “strategically” about maximising her impact on the issues she addresses; she is also hiring her own speechwriter.

Other Democrats are beginning to wonder how long she can restrict herself to such uncontroversial subjects as her daughters’ enthusiasm for vegetables.

Wild Thing's comment......

Well maybe if she 'helps' Obama she will do her mouthing off thing and it could speed up the two of them getting out of office. They both sure have a lot of hate for our country.

The angry black woman who once suggested she had not been proud of her country until her husband ran for president has since been hailed as the most glamorous first lady since Jackie Kennedy.

Are they serious??? I am a lifetime Republican and I will always say Jackie Kennedy and Laura Bush were the two best First Ladies. Both first class, beautiful and great examples of what I think a First Lady should be in many ways.

Posted by Wild Thing at June 28, 2009 05:48 AM


"discuss her role in fighting childhood obesity"

Did she ever look at her own hips?

I bet Osambo will appoint Richard Simmons as her personal trainer.

Posted by: Steve Gaston, American American at June 28, 2009 07:12 AM

The government can screw it all...up .

There is not one thing the government has done that has ever been done well. the Post Office is a prime example of Government incompetance, they never make a profit and the US Mail has become a joke, except for the employees who have gone 'Postal', mainly out of frustration from the complete incompetance of the whole organization.

Ths same with education , their excuse is always well we just haven't spent enough money on it. There war on poverty in the 60's is still being waged to the tune of Trillions of dollars which has yet to win a single battle.

Bitchelle, couldn't direct or lead a dry horse to water, somehow how she would screw that up.

Posted by: Mark at June 28, 2009 08:18 AM

"The angry black woman who once suggested she had not been proud of her country until her husband ran for president"

I am still proud of my country, but not proud of the government and where Barry Soetoro is taking it since he became president.

Posted by: Bob A at June 28, 2009 10:01 AM

Yes, please Michelle. Open your mouth and get involved. Show your true anger and your ego. Embarass your husband and turn America off on both yourself and that horible national healthcare project.

Posted by: TomR at June 28, 2009 12:50 PM

Come on Michelle, get your own teleprompter, whazzat? Don't need one. Good!!!

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt . -- George Eliot.

Posted by: Jack at June 28, 2009 02:05 PM

Steve Gaston,American American, heh heh

Richard would probably love to be the
white house trainer for Michelle.
I can see him running up and down the
halls..OMG Yikes.

Posted by: Wild Thing at June 28, 2009 07:50 PM

What is the deal in the last 20 years, where the First ladies think they too are part of the Package. The Hillary 2 for the price of 1 deal. Obama meddling in foreign affairs is bad enough now we got to have another first 'lady'( I hate using that word in this context, it just doesn't fit) thinking she can run Health Care.

As you said Chrissie, Laura Bush and Jackie Kennedy also my Favorite Barbara Bush was pretty great too. Even Bess Truman was more of a Mother and Woman that what we got now, as a matter of fact Bess Truman was not that bad as a first Lady.

Posted by: Mark at June 28, 2009 08:02 PM

Bob A., me too, I LOVE being an American.
But I sure as heck am not proud of our
government, and I will add I want
Obama to fail at every single socialist
communist thing he has on his vile agenda.

Posted by: Wild Thing at June 28, 2009 11:55 PM

Tom, heh heh I love all you said.

Posted by: Wild Thing at June 28, 2009 11:57 PM

Jack " whazzat"

Good quote too, thank you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at June 28, 2009 11:59 PM

Mark, Yesss I should have added Barbara
Bush too. I would include her for sure.

Well said Mark!!!

Posted by: Wild Thing at June 29, 2009 12:02 AM