THE BLOG
04/13/2008 06:08 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Michelle Obama and the Poison of National Review

The cover of the just-out April 21st issue of that sophomoric rag National Review has a close-up photograph of Michelle Obama looking angry -- with the headline: Mrs. Grievance: Michelle Obama and Her Discontent.

The obvious aim of the article is to ridicule Michelle Obama.

Before I go on to consider some of the details of the article, I want to make it clear what National Review is all about. It's the late William Buckley's hobby magazine, a place where conservatives foam at the mouth in their hatred of progressives, liberals, Democrats, non-Anglo-Saxon immigrants, and anyone who struggles to survive in our free-market paradise. For example, a few years ago, when National Review celebrated its 50th anniversary, the senior editor Richard Brookhiser decided it was time to enlighten the American public with his views about "Happy Darkies". Here's what Brookhiser told us (National Review September 19, 2005):

Happy darkies are most of the world: people with skins generally darker than mine, who live in Africa, most of Asia, and much of the Americas. Sometimes they start at Calais. These days they certainly inhabit every restaurant kitchen in New York. It seems paradoxical to call them happy. They are poor, numerous, and pregnant; if they work, it is to little purpose; their religions span a simple spectrum from witchcraft to wrath, and their societies alternate between tyranny and chaos; they beat their wives, scarify their daughters, and occasionally eat their enemies; they have never read (if they can read) a book that was not holy, or heard a piece of music unrelated to copulation.

What a tragedy that Brookhiser seems so proud of his ideas, so unaware how un-American he is.

The piece in National Review about Michelle Obama is so badly written and incoherent that it's difficult to make sense out of anything but its vitriol. But here are a few pearls:

The author, Mark Steyn, says, "There's something pitiful about a political culture that has no use for Mitt Romney, a hugely successful businessman, but venerates a woman who gets more than 300 grand for running a 'neighborhood outreach' and 'staff diversity' program.

Now, pray, what the hell is this? Are we expected to make Mitt Romney president of the United States because he's a "hugely successful" businessman? Was Mitt Romney rejected by the same people that "venerate" Michelle Obama? Romney was rejected by his fellow Republicans, and if anyone is venerating Michelle Obama, I assure you it's not Republicans. The quoted sentence is so fatuous it jangles one's eyeballs.

In discussing Michelle Obama's Princeton education and undergraduate thesis, Mark Steyn says, "Ah, the benefits of an elite education. The thesis is dopey, illiterate, and bizarrely punctuated, but so are the maunderings of many American students."

Of course, given such a personal attack on a college student's talents, we hunger to read Mark Steyn's undergraduate thesis. No maunderings or bizarre punctuations?

Mark Steyn says Michelle Obama "embodies a peculiar mix of privilege and victimology, which is not where most Americans live."

Yes, indeed, most Americans don't live there, and they also don't live where Mitt Romney lives. But there's no inherited privilege in Michelle Obama, only achievement through intelligence and education, and the "victimology" is that of a black woman living in a thoroughly racist society. Is the mix "peculiar" or merely natural? Does Mark Steyn really believe that if a black woman finds success in America she ought to abandon any resentment at the many years of idiot prejudice thrown at her by the likes of the editors of National Review?

Thanks for the piece, Mark. Here's a toast to you and Richard and perspicacity.