Messing With Michelle

Memorial Day Commemorated At Arlington National Cemetery

Barack won’t go there; Sash and Malia apparently tread very gently; but a self-described “old abrasive lesbian” did, heckling her at a private DNC gathering – and kinda regretted it:

“I think she was upset by the interruption, no doubt,” Sturtz said. “But I really didn’t feel like there was a lot of anger or felt like I was in danger at all. Even though she was pretty — I would like to say assertive — but obviously it was pretty aggressive.” …

“She cut me off immediately and leaned over podium, sort of her put her big hand towards me and said something to the effect of ‘You don’t do that to me’ or ‘I don’t do that,’” Sturtz said. “Then I made a comment that I’m interested in making sure that we have employment protections, and I’m not going to be quiet any longer.”

Sturtz said things became even more testy as Michelle Obama left the podium to talk to the activist face to face. “She came down from the podium and got into my face — probably within three inches of my face,” Sturtz said. “She basically took the microphone down, and she said to me, ‘I don’t do this, and if you want the microphone, it’s either I have the microphone or you have the microphone. I said, ‘I’ll take the microphone.’ And she said, ‘If you take the microphone, then I’m leaving.’”

Ms Sturtz was protesting for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (see correction here), something over which Michelle Obama has precisely zero control, and that the Congress has to pass, and, despite this being the top priority for Big Gay Inc. for thirty years, somehow hasn’t. Quite how this protest in a private home was supposed to accomplish anything is somewhat beyond me, but sometimes an old abrasive lesbian’s gotta do what an old abrasive lesbian’s gotta do. But she picked the wrong woman.

The audio here doesn’t exactly sound very dramatic, but watch the right-wing jump all over this. Meanwhile, there is a genuine First Lady issue that Dan Drezner notes – a conflict between public diplomacy and family life:

In the grand scheme of things, the relationship between Michelle Obama and Peng Liyuan doesn’t matter. That said, the major theme in all of Tom Donilon’s leaks the press coverage has been that this summit is about Obama and Xi trying to forge a good personal rapport so as to better define the bilateral relationship. Furthermore, for the Chinese, this relationship is a lot about prestige. Even small gestures that acknowledge the importance of China in the eyes of the United States can matter. This is just smart diplomacy.

Michelle Obama not attending the summit is a diplomatic own-goal that could easily have been avoided.

I agree that Michelle should go to the summit, if only for necessary optics. What Dan does not account for is the First Lady’s relentless dedication to her children. It’s their last week of school this year. And she has been adamant for five years that their needs take first place. And don’t try to get between her and her daughters. You’ll get the same treatment as Ms Sturtz.

(Photo: First lady Michelle Obama hugs a women while she and her husband U.S. President Barack Obama (R), visit section 60 at Arlington Cemetery, May 27, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. For Memorial Day President Obama layed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, paying tribute to military veterans past and present who have served and sacrificed their lives for their country. By Mark Wilson/Getty Images.)