This from a London account on Mrs. Obama's description of her feeling towards her new job: "Don't ask! It's hell. I can't stand it!"
Maybe Mrs. Obama has a different opinion of hell than others. To most people, hell is being unemployed; not being able to support one's family. Hell is not having enough food to feed one's children. Hell is losing the family home to foreclosure. Hell is a sick child. Hell is old and aging parents needing medical attention and living assistance. Hell is living with terminal illness.
Hell is mounting debt with no end in sight. Hell is living without resources as a battered spouse. Hell is waking to a feeling of utter despair each morning.
To most people, living the life of the First Lady is not hell. The First Lady, while functioning in a fishbowl and organizing responsibilities as she raises two young female children, is not living in hell. She is the recipient of a full staff - larger than previous First Ladies - and a live-in mother who helps with the girls. She is the recipient of more available opportunities than most people will ever dream of in real life. She can literally do as she pleases as she chooses what activities will fill her days.
President and Mrs. Obama do not even bother with the pretense of appearing to lead normal lives. While he plays round after round of golf at private and exclusive clubs, she shows up to do community service in designer, high end sneakers. She makes comments about checks that Americans received under President Bush to spur on the economy - about $600 each - and snarled that such an amount wouldn't even pay for a pair of earrings. This was such an oddly out-of-touch comment that I still remember it to this day. What a world she lives in.
It is an honor and exceptional privilege to live in the White House, the peoples' house, and be addressed as First Lady. She has a ready made audience at every event and rally. She is surrounded by people who are employed to serve. She even took a White House chef along to Martha's Vineyard on her last vacation.
France's First Lady Carla Bruni is justified in her surprise at Mrs. Obama's remarks. She has included the conversation in the book, "Carla and The Ambitious", in which she collaborated. She has plenty of critics, so expect the Obamatrons to come out in Michelle's corner. For example: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is a narcissistic sexual huntress and calculated climber who figures out whom to seduce and then does it to achieve her goals, or so says a controversial new unauthorized biography, Carla: Une Vie Secrete, by French journalist Besma Lahouri. Nice, huh?
No doubt the slobbering press will take this into account as quotes from Mrs. Obama come to light. Something to be remembered, though is this - Barack Obama didn't "inherit" this job and its problems. He campaigned for it. He begged for votes. He wanted it, as a career politician, as the highest political job in the land and in the world. Michelle Obama benefited from her husband's career, too. Even after he won his seat as U.S. Senator, her salary at the Univ of Chicago medical center almost tripled. It increased to over $300,000. Not too shabby. She herself is no stranger to politics. Her father worked for the city of Chicago and was plugged into Dailey machine politics. Her best friend was Jesse Jackson's daughter. She's no babe in the woods to the realities of politics. Her statements that are simply whines are unbecoming, to say the least.
Some spokespeople have dutifully come to the aide of Mrs. Obama. They deny the quote. The real problem with the denials? Michelle Obama has a history of making unfortunate remarks in speeches and campaign spots. She told one group of women in Chicago that Barack Obama could be shot while performing the ordinary task of filling up his gas tank at the neighborhood gas station - because he is a black man. She told an audience at a campaign rally that she was finally proud of her country - "for the first time in my life I am really proud of my country" - because Barack Obama was a presidential candidate. She told yet another audience that America is a "mean" country. All of this from the woman who was to become the First Lady.
Past performances do not inspire Michelle Obama's detractors to believe this latest blunder is any kind of mistake at all.