Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Lady

I settled in last night, anxious to hear Michelle Obama’s speech. I had to sit through a bunch of others and my patience was tested at times, but I stayed awake and watched in wonder as the First Lady addressed the convention.
by Charlie Leck

Wish I was allowed to reproduce Tom Toles cartoon for today in the Washington Post. I got a terrific laugh out of it and you can take a look at it here. Toles also writes a frequent blog for the WP and this morning he posted one he calls Oven Mitt. In it he includes the following… “I didn’t used to think of Romney as reprehensible. But he’s doing a good job of changing my opinion about that as his campaign flowers and brings forth its fetid fruit.”

Toles is a brilliant cartoonist – one of the very best on the current scene. As a writer, not so much!

This particular blog zings Romney quite thoroughly for only jokingly mentioning climate change in his convention speech. It was, Toles tells us, a “real zinger aimed at Obama’s poor priorities. Imagine, wanting to work on the economy AND climate both AT THE SAME TIME!”

To further display his burning dislike of the Republican candidate, Toles goes on: “One can only hope a rising tide will sink his campaign.”

Wow! Toles has taken poorly to Mr. Romney. Well, he is a remarkable cartoonist who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1990 for editorial cartooning; and he’s won a passel-full of other important sounding awards over the years. He’s syndicated in almost 200 papers around the country. He has also published a collection of his cartoons in six books. I follow a number of the really outstanding cartoonists, like Auth and Oliphant. Doing so usually gets my days started with a bit of an edge.

This morning, however, the morning after the First Lady’s speech, finds me in a remarkably good mood – bouncing, and with lots of energy. What a speech! This grand and beautiful woman might just carry her husband across the finish line this year. If you didn’t hear the speech, I’ve posted the video here for you (just below) and I urge you to watch it at a time when you can devote a half hour of quiet, undisturbed moments to it. The difference between this video and the live event is that you won’t get in on the wildly ebullient applause at the end of the speech that went on and on and on. If you’d rather just read it quickly, you can find a full text of it here, on the Washington Post web site.

There are, to be perfectly honest, differing views and ratings of the speech from the political columnists this morning. Those reviews generally, of course, reflect the political positions of their writers. One of the cutest columns about the speech is by the marvelous spinner of puns, Alexandra Petri (for a few chuckles, take time to read it here).

“Mayor Julian Castro gave an inspiring speech. Deval Patrick gave a pugnacious speech. But Michelle Obama reduced the audience to tears.
“The hallmark of the first lady’s almost alarming popularity is the fact that her key initiative has been to go across the country telling Americans that their kids are too fat, and 64 percent of Americans still view her favorably. In contrast, I once mistook someone’s child for a beached whale, gently, a single time, and now I can’t show my face in Cleveland. I am just saying, Michelle Obama has a power I do not understand, and could never have.”

To criticize this speech delivered by the First Lady last night would be like opposing “motherhood” or “apple pie” or a Saturday afternoon at a “baseball game.”

You know, I’ve been lightly and gaily thinking about whom I might like to see run in 2016 and her first name is Michelle and her last name ain’t Bachmann. Oh, I know she won’t do it ‘cause politics isn’t her game (and maybe that’s why she’s so beautiful). I suppose, somewhere, somehow, they rate First Ladies of the United States. As of this moment, Mrs. Obama has got to be up there at, or nearly at, the top. And that reminds me, Saturday night I’m going to the Fitzgerald Theater, in St. Paul, to see Eleanor, starring Loretta Swit. Can’t wait! I’ll give you a report on it next week.

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