But here's what I want to talk about:
If an American first lady, or would-be first lady, described herself as a “tamer of men” and had a “man-eating” past filled with naked pictures, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, sultry prone CD covers, breaking up marriages, bragging that she believes in polygamy and polyandry rather than monogamy, and having a son with a married philosopher whose father she had had an affair with, it would take more than an appearance on “The View” to sweeten her image.Why aren't Americans more like the French? But, really, the complaints you hear about Michelle Obama are not about sex, drugs, and rock and roll. They're about patriotism and racism.
It’s hard to imagine the decibel level on Fox News if Michelle Obama put out a CD this summer, as Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is, with songs featuring lyrics like “I am a child/despite my 40 years/despite my 30 lovers/a child”; and this song, “Ma came”: “You are my junk/more deadly than Afghan heroin/more dangerous than Colombian white. .../My guy, I roll him up and smoke him.”
Is it really the case that the French would shrug it off if Bruni's lyrics were "God damn France" and a rant against the nonwhite French? The Obama campaign has to respond to the interpretation of things Michelle Obama has said — "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country" — and rumors about what she is purported to have said — "whitey" — or condoned — Jeremiah Wright's "God damn America."
It makes no sense to suggest that we could just be more like the French. Imagine how the French would react if Bruni's songs had racist and anti-patriotic lines that were exactly strong as those sex and drugs lines. And if they did just smirk and tolerate it, would you think it a good example of sophistication for Americans?
And by the way, it's not good feminism to think that a President's spouse is a fluffy, silly decoration whose words don't matter. She is a human being who should be taken seriously, and she will be in a position to influence and advise the President. We should care what she thinks.
Now, we could have a Carla Bruni type First Lady, whose interests are fashion and music. That might be great fun. But Michelle Obama has not defined and presented herself that way. She is a Harvard-trained lawyer who has given long speeches on substantive issues. To respond to her the way French respond to Carla Bruni would be to insult her.