John F. Kennedy was blessed, most agree, with the perfect political wife - Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. To the best of my knowledge, she never embarrassed or disadvantaged him.
Barack Obama, too, is blessed with a "keeper." Michelle Obama grew up in a stable two-parent family, went to Princeton as an undergraduate, then Harvard Law School, then returned to her native Chicago for a richly compensated legal career. She is, by all accounts, a devoted mother to their two daughters.
"Michelle Obama has achieved enormous professional success, political influence and personal acclaim in America," writes conservative blogger Michelle Malkin. "Ivy League-educated, she's been lauded by Essence magazine as one of the 25 World's Most Inspiring Women; by Vanity Fair as one of the 10 World's Best-Dressed Women; and named one of "The Harvard 100" most influential alumni. She has had an amazingly blessed life. But you wouldn't know it from her campaign rhetoric and her griping about her and her husband's student loans."
Although Mrs. Obama communicates for a living, she has brought discredit on her husband this week by an appalling gaffe.
In Wisconsin, Mrs. Obama told supporters Monday that "people in this country are ready for change, and hungry for a different kind of politics and let me tell you something, for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."
"America hasn't been good to her?" asks blogger Jim Geraghty in The Campaign Spot. "What, opportunities to go to Princeton, Harvard Law, working for top-shelf law firms and hospitals, sitting on the board of directors for a major Wal-Mart supplier — that's not enough?"
"If American ingenuity, a robust constitutional republic and the fall of communism don't do it for you, hon, then how about American heroism and sacrifice?" writes Malkin. "How about every Memorial Day? Every Veterans Day? Every Independence Day? Every Medal of Honor ceremony? Has she never attended a welcome home ceremony for the troops?"
"Michelle Obama is 44 years old," writes Commentary magazine editor John Podhoretz. " She has been an adult since 1982. Can it really be there has not been a moment during that time when she felt proud of her country?
"Forget matters like the victory in the Cold War; how about only things that have made liberals proud — all the accomplishments of inclusion? How about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991? Or Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s elevation to the Supreme Court? Or Carol Moseley Braun’s election to the Senate in 1998? How about the merely humanitarian, like this country’s startling generosity to the victims of the tsunami? I’m sure commenters can think of hundreds more landmarks of this sort. Didn’t she even get a twinge from, say, the Olympics?"
"The narcissistic, self centered, arrogant insult delivered by Michelle Obama," writes Liberal blogger and Clinton supporter Taylor Marsh, " is a slap at the American spirit that runs throughout this country, regardless of political party, race, gender, creed, religion, you name it. "
"I am a proud American first," she writes, "a liberal second. But Michelle Obama will never speak for me."
Malkin who, like Obama, is a woman of color and working mother of two, cited Michael Kinsley to the effect that a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. "In this case, it's what happens when an elite Democratic politician's wife says what a significant portion of the party's base really believes to be the truth: America is more a source of shame than pride."
But "even Dennis Kucinich would probably have no problem finding something to be proud of in the past two decades," blogger Mickey Kaus writes in Kausfiles. "If Michelle Obama's default position is set to 'Aggrieved,' it also suggests something personal, no?"
It's personal for John and Cindy McCain.
"I'm proud of my country," Cindy McCain, wife of the Arizona senator, told supporters Tuesday as she introduced her husband at a rally. "I don't know if you heard those words earlier. I'm very proud of my country."
"I have never lived a day, in good times or bad, that I haven't been proud of the privilege" of being an American, the senator said in his victory speech Tuesday night.