Michelle & Barack

Whatever the new administration’s success in handling the multiple crises it inherited, one aspect of Obama’s presence impresses me. I don’t like Obamamania but what I see of this pair makes me think, “All right. If young people need to swoon over celebs, let it be over this First Marriage.”

When they met, she was his mentor. He doesn’t mind that for a while she made more money than he. At the Inaugural Ball, he rests his head on her shoulder, eyes closed. He writes that calling home to crow over a Senate victory, he’s told by Michelle to buy ant traps on the way home. He would never cheat on her because “Michelle would kick my butt.” He calls her his rock.

When I watched Michelle and Barack on 60 Minutes, I marveled at their healthy marriage, but later I couldn’t quote any particular words they spoke as evidence of that. The difference between theirs and the usual marriage of male politicians was in their body language, their manner of exchange with each other and with the interviewer.

Michelle’s reason for living is not to advance Barack’s agenda. She is not his subordinate. When asked what Michelle would do as First Lady, Barack says she’ll determine that. He doesn’t feel the urge to nudge her in any direction.

This is truly “a union of self-sufficient equals,” to quote Andrew Romano in Newsweek, reporting on the swooning over the Obamas at the Youth Inaugural Ball. Would that the men in high finance and in the Vatican had such strength to accept strong women and relate as equals!


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