By Colin McNeil
Michelle Obama changed her campaign strategy this fall. As a Harvard graduate with a high paying salary she was criticized earlier in the year for being unable to connect with the common. At the Democratic National Convention in late August of this year, she took a 180 degree turn when she addressed the convention. Her transparent speech was down-home, folksy and essentially attempted to trick America into viewing her as a working-class woman.
The Washington Post described her transformation as “a bracingly proud contemporary woman — mother, wife, career woman — into a prime time Betty Crocker.” An Obama campaign aide even referred to her speech as such: “‘It’s get to know the Obamas; they could live next door.’” Live next door? Please. She actually talked about struggling to pay the bills when, according to the couple’s (Barrack and Michelle Obama) income tax return of 2006, they earned just short of one million dollars.
One thing is clear, either she or the Obama campaign team decided that her intelligent, independent image wasn’t winning favour with the public.
On the other side of the bridge, Sarah Palin was a black-hole for attention with her moose hunting and Joe six-pack image. Of course, once her astounding lack of knowledge became obvious, she quickly fell from grace. But the point is her folksy image was a home run in and of itself.
Their male counter-parts need not make any such pleas for working-class status.
Hilary Clinton, a woman of formidable intelligence and barely a trace of the Palin virus in her, couldn’t even make it past the Democratic nomination.
The question begins to emerge; can an intellectual woman actually make an honest run and win a big-ticket election? Does a woman need to bring herself down to the lowest common denominator to have a chance?