Saturday, June 21, 2008

Image Makeover

Mark Halperin of Time reports on Barack Obama speaking to approximately 600 paying guests at a reception at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center in downtown Jacksonville. The candidate warned

The choice is clear. Most of all we can choose between hope and fear. It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy. We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?

He’s got a feisty wife.

You may have noticed the pre-emptive play of the race card. But I found even more interesting,though less significant, the juxtaposition between the charge that Obama's opponents will claim "he's got a feisty wife" and this (apparently accurate) description of Michelle Obama's appearance on ABC's "The View" on June 19:

she played up traditional first lady attributes such as graciousness, comportment, good grooming and style.

No one (except Taylor Marsh) doubts that softening Mrs. Obama's image is wise, but how does one go about confronting opponents for complaining that Michelle is "feisty" and then go about trying to change her into the traditional first lady- in fact, the stereotypical traditional wife?

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