Barack Obama couldn't disown his wife the way he disowned his former minister, so he had her remade. Here she is paraded before the Obama press office formerly known as the NY Times:
Michelle Obama’s eyes flicker tentatively even as she offers a trained smile. As her campaign plane arcs over the Flathead Range in Montana, she is asked to consider her complicated public image.
Conservative columnists accuse her of being unpatriotic and say she simmers with undigested racial anger. A blogger who supported Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton circulates unfounded claims that Mrs. Obama gave an accusatory speech in her church about the sins of “whitey.” Mrs. Obama shakes her head.
“You are amazed sometimes at how deep the lies can be,” she says in an interview. Referring to a character in a 1970s sitcom, she adds: “I mean, ‘whitey’? That’s something that George Jefferson would say. Anyone who says that doesn’t know me. They don’t know the life I’ve lived. They don’t know anything about me.”
Now her husband’s presidential campaign is giving her image a subtle makeover, with a new speech in the works to emphasize her humble roots and a tough new chief of staff. On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama will do a guest turn on “The View,” the daytime talk show on ABC, with an eye toward softening her reputation.
Now, check this next bit, ludicrously presented as a sympathetic and positive story of her professional efforts:
In the mostly black neighborhoods around the hospital, Mrs. Obama became the voice of a historically white institution. Behind closed doors, she tried to assuage their frustrations about a place that could seem forbidding.
Like many urban hospitals, the medical center’s emergency room becomes clogged with people who need primary care. So Mrs. Obama trained counselors, mostly local blacks, to hand out referrals to health clinics lest black patients felt they were being shooed away.
She also altered the hospital’s research agenda. When the human papillomavirus vaccine, which can prevent cervical cancer, became available, researchers proposed approaching local school principals about enlisting black teenage girls as research subjects.
Mrs. Obama stopped that. The prospect of white doctors performing a trial with black teenage girls summoned the specter of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment of the mid-20th century, when white doctors let hundreds of black men go untreated to study the disease.
“She’ll talk about the elephant in the room,” said Susan Sher, her boss at the hospital, where Mrs. Obama is on leave from her more-than-$300,000-a-year job.
What elephant? That at some point the black community needs to stop invoking Tuskegee as an excuse for ignoring the medical community? Jeremiah Wright cited Tuskegee as his basis for believing that the US government might have been responsible for the AIDS virus - per RAND, that paranoid fantasy costs lives.
In a different and better world the community affairs director for a hospital would use her college education and neighborhood roots to educate and reassure the community that her hospital was not actually interested in recreating ghastly medical misadventures from the past. In this world, it looks like the Sister Grim is less interested in resolving these grievances and more interested in nursing them.