The Spectacle Blog

Michael Kinsley: So Earnest It Hurts

By on 7.11.08 | 10:10AM

In his Time column, Kinsley manages to make me forget why it is I love reading him. (That is, his ability to make fun of himself and take things with a grain of salt.) Completely earnest statements like these just send me up a wall:

"Affluent people who give to the Republican Party are advancing their own class interests, whereas those who give to the Democrats generally aren't."

"But true, professional unscrupulousness--the kind of do-anything-to-win pragmatism that Democrats envy in Republicans--requires more than just working yourself up into a lather of dislike."

Then there's this:

"Truth to tell, the radio guys would rather have had Clinton to rail against, out of habit if nothing more. They spent most of their energy during primary season going after her. (Hillary nostalgia is surely one reason they are so obsessed with Michelle Obama.)"

Now wait a second. The right did not create Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton was there and set the precedent for the over-involved first lady. In 2000, 2004, and this year, the Dems have offered outspoken wives who are positioning themselves for criticism. From Tipper Gore's efforts to "fix" rock and roll's naughty overtures to Teresa Heinz Kerry's telling off a reporter at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and on to Michelle Obama's conditional love of country, we've been provided with all kinds of fodder for criticizing spouses. Is it in Democrat DNA to thrust spouses front and center as part of the overall package? Do Republicans really do this? At all?!

To say that it's simply right-wing nostalgia, or even that such nostalgia fuels criticism of Michelle, when clearly she's just asking for it, is absolutely wrong-headed.

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