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Marriage Obama-Style

8:50 PM, Oct 30, 2009 • By RACHEL ABRAMS
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There's a profile of the Obama marriage by Jodi Kantor coming out in this Sunday's NYT Magazine which, while I can't recommend it due to the incredibly high stultification factor of its subject and prose, I did find compelling on account of a) its confirming what I have thought about the two of them, and particularly the spear side, since they appeared meteorically on the scene, namely, that they are a pair of self-regarding pompous bores -- he a worse one than she, I think -- with little to recommend them as president and first lady other than the historic fact of their being elitist leftists of color; and b) its manifesting everything that's causing the New York Times to slide slowly like melting ice cream dripping off the counter into dull obsolescence, in this case by sending the woman who trolled Facebook during the campaign looking for high school friends of Bridget McCain who'd be willing to dish on her mother to seize on the insipid details of its favorite politician's marriage and proffer them as journalistic gold.

"Theirs is by no means a co-presidency," Ms. Kantor writes.

[A]ides say the first lady has little engagement with banking reform, nuclear disarmament or most of the other issues that dominate her husband's days. But their goals are increasingly intertwined, with Michelle Obama speaking out on health care reform, privately mulling over Supreme Court nominees with the president and serving as his consultant on personnel and public opinion. When they lounge on the Truman Balcony or sit inside at their round dining table, she describes how she believes his initiatives are perceived outside Washington; later, say advisers, the president quotes the first lady in Oval Office meetings.

I awake from a deep sleep: Little engagement with banking reform and nuclear disarmament? Am I relieved or disappointed? Don't know. But it's bracing to learn Mrs. Obama's got her finger on the pulse of Washington outsiders. Oh, at first, like the skeptical denizens of Hyde Park, the Upper West Side, and Beverly Hills, she had her doubts:

But slowly he worked on her. One day she heard him give a speech and found herself captivated by the possibilities of what might be. . . . "When you listen to her tell that story," Robert Gibbs, the campaign spokesman and now the White House press secretary, told me, voters thought, "It's O.K., yeah, this could work."

The possibilities of what might be. Yeah, this could work. That's a story worth repeating! And so, if you are still awake, is this: "What I value most about my marriage," says the president of the United States, "is that it is separate and apart from a lot of the silliness of Washington, and Michelle is not part of that silliness."