Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"The Closer" Opens Up

Remember when Michelle Obama came here to Henderson in June? Remember when she pumped up the crowd? And remember when she so beautifully and seamlessly tied powerful personal stories to progressive policy and Presidential politics?

Well, she did it again last night. And she may have very well outdone herself in Charlotte.

TPM's Benjy Sarlin may have very well nailed the pure political beauty of what Michelle Obama accomplished in Charlotte last night.

[Mitt] Romney’s name may have never come up in the First Lady’s speech once, but it was impossible to miss the message when she described learning from her parents that “you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules — and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square,” or that “helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.”

“[Obama] believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity you do not slam it shut behind you,” she said at one point. “You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”

Throughout her speech, Michelle Obama portrayed her husband as someone who didn’t just know what it was like to be down and out, but someone who had enacted his major policies specifically because of it. She singled out health care reform in particular, of which she said, “He didn’t care whether it was the easy thing to do politically — that’s not how he was raised — he cared that it was the right thing to do.”

“Barack knows the American dream because he’s lived it,” she said. “And he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we’re from, or what we look like, or who we love.”

What was truly amazing about Michelle Obama's speech was that she was able to paint a rather detailed portrait of the choice voters must make this fall, yet she was able to do it without mentioning Romney by name. Perhaps she didn't have to. It's not too hard to figure out who Mitt Romney really is and what he's out to do.

What Michelle Obama did last night was remind Americans that her story and her husband's story are truly American stories. They came from modest beginnings, worked their way through school, and struggled their way to success. And in progressing on their journey, they took advantage of the unique opportunity, which is the American opportunity of giving anyone a chance at success by providing public education and a social safety net meant to prevent Americans from becoming trapped in poverty. What makes America great is our middle class, and that's what Michelle Obama truly personified.

And this is why her husband somehow still manages to defy the DC pundits' odds. It's been said OFA staff refer to Michelle Obama as "The Closer". Last night, America had a chance to see why.

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