Last Friday I posted Black judges, lawyers cheer Wright, Pfleger.
I subsequently commented on the post’s thread. Among other things, I responded to a commenter who said other commenters here were making JinC into a “Hate Obama” blog.
There are many people who comment here who respect Ms. Obama's right on go on The View and explain what panty hose (sic) do to her.But they would rather she explain what she meant when she said America is "a downright mean country."That drew a response from a commenter who insisted:
Mrs. Obama did not say America is "a downright mean country"!Obviously, I didn’t want to say Michelle Obama said America is “a downright mean country” unless she in fact said that.
A subsequent commenter weighed in with:
Just for the record, The New Yorker magazine, in a puff-piece about Mrs. Obama dated Mar 10, 2008 quoted her as saying "America is a downright mean country." She said it in Jan, 2008 at the Pee Dee Union Baptist Church in Cheraw, SC. If she didn't say that, she's got a bone to pick with The New Yorker.I Googled “Michelle Obama” and “downright mean country.” Among the hits was one for The New Yorker’s Mar. 10, 2008 article which the commenter above cited – Lauren Collins admiring The Other Obama: Michelle Obama and the politics of candor. Here’s an extract from page 3 of Collins 10-page article, with my comments following below the star line.
… After warming up the crowd, Obama launched into her stump speech, a forty-five-minute monologue that she composed herself and delivers without notes. Obama has been open about the value of her ability to speak to black audiences in cadences that reflect their experience, but she makes clear her distaste for the notion that she is a niche tool, wielded by her husband’s campaign to woo black voters solely on the basis of their shared racial identity.“I mean, I’ve been to every early state,” she told me, when I asked her about reports that she was “deployed” in the South to reach black audiences. “I was ‘deployed’ to Iowa,” she said, making air quotes with her fingers. “I was ‘deployed’ to New Hampshire.”
The four times I heard her give the speech—in a ballroom at the University of South Carolina, from the pulpit of Pee Dee Union, at an art gallery in Charleston, and in the auditorium of St. Norbert College, in De Pere, Wisconsin—its content was admirably consistent, with few of the politician’s customary tweaks and nods to the demographic predilections, or prejudices, of a particular audience. (all emphasis added)Obama begins with a broad assessment of life in America in 2008, and life is not good: we’re a divided country, we’re a country that is “just downright mean,” we are “guided by fear,” we’re a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. “We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day,” she said, as heads bobbed in the pews. “Folks are just jammed up, and it’s gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I’m young. Forty-four!”
From these bleak generalities, Obama moves into specific complaints. Used to be, she will say, that you could count on a decent education in the neighborhood. But now there are all these charter schools and magnet schools that you have to “finagle” to get into. (Obama herself attended a magnet school, but never mind.) Health care is out of reach (“Let me tell you, don’t get sick in America”), …
Collins' entire article’s here.
One of the things I like best about the Internet is the capacity it gives us to locate and link to source documents.In this case that capacity leaves no doubt that three months ago The New Yorker reported Michelle Obama said America is “just downright mean.”
As to whether The New Yorker misquoted Michelle Obama, I could find nothing where she or the Obama campaign denied she’d said America is “just downright mean.”And I could find nothing from Senator Obama such as “That’s not the Michelle Obama I know.”
Message to Obama supporters: Many of you may hate it when people ask why Michelle Obama thinks America’s “downright mean” and why she and her husband took their children to a virulent, anti-American racist pastor’s church for their religious instruction, but those are legitimate and extremely important questions we should all be asking the Obamas before we decide how we’ll vote in November.Message to all of you: I don’t ever mean to misquote anyone. When you think I have, don’t hesitate to call it to my attention.