5 reasons why Michelle Obama would make a better president than Mitt Romney

Wow. If you saw Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention last night, you’re probably one of many still shaking their heads in awe.

Despite several outstanding speeches (Nancy Keenan, Julian Castro and Gov. Deval Patrick FTW), Michelle’s has been overwhelmingly marked as the best speech of the night — and arguably the best FLOTUS speech ever given. Yes, it was marinated in mom talk (as was the entire night, really), but she spoke a truth with such transparency, integrity and hope — which is exactly what America needs right now. Reports say it took her a month to write the speech herself, but despite as long as it may have taken, this was undoubtably the speech of her life. And my first reason for why she would be a better president than Mitt Romney is really the reason why I wanted to write this post:

1. She didn’t utter Mitt Romney’s name but completely destroyed him. Really, she transcended him. Her personal story of her life and love with Obama and the shared values they have, and how Barack brings his values and life experiences into his leadership, not only connects with people on an incredibly deep level, but also so subtly and ingeniously counters the alternative of Mitt Romney, his values and who he is not: ‎”We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make…that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself. We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters…that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules…and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” Boom.

2. She’s more popular as FLOTUS than Mitt as aspiring POTUS. At its peak, Michelle received 28,003 tweets per minute last night — nearly two times the peak of Mitt Romney’s RNC speech at 14,289 tweets per minute.

3. This. “[Barack] believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care…that’s what my husband stands for.”

4. She inspires. “If farmers and blacksmiths could win independence from an empire…if immigrants could leave behind everything they knew for a better life on our shores…if women could be dragged to jail for seeking the vote…if a generation could defeat a depression, and define greatness for all time…if a young preacher could lift us to the mountaintop with his righteous dream…and if proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that great American Dream. Because in the end, more than anything else, that is the story of this country – the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle.” In his lifetime, Mitt Romney will never say anything close to as moving as this passage.

5. She embodied “the personal is political.” Irin says it: “That reprise of the shopworn feminist slogan — ‘the personal is political’ — was the essential premise of her entire speech. In a cloyingly theatrical modern tradition, first ladies attend the national conventions to testify about biography, not policy; they talk about the man as they only know him. But Michelle Obama managed to effortlessly marshal both to tell a story about change in America — with the promise of more to come — and to deliver her speech transcendently.”

Okay, maybe 6 reasons: She walked off the stage to Beyonce’s “Get Me Bodied.” Done and done. Really, just watch/read the entire speech. Now.

(Video after the jump. Transcript here.)

Join the Conversation

  • http://feministing.com/members/latinafeminista/ Margie

    I think you mean Julian Castro, not Anthony Castro right?

  • http://feministing.com/members/stellarose/ Stella

    “Yes, it was marinated in mom-talk (as was the entire night, really), but she spoke a truth with such transparency, integrity and hope — which is exactly what America needs right now. ”

    Sorry, Vanessa, but how is it feminist to imply that speaking about one’s role as a mother is somehow a “but” to an otherwise successful speech?

    The fact that I am a mother is a KEY part of my feminism. The fact that I claim the right to make a living, live in the public sphere and have political views AND ALSO reproduce is a key part of my feminism. For me, being a parent and being a smart and politically engaged person is not a contradiction. Not even for females. I find it incredibly offensive and deeply anti-feminist to imply that a focus on the fact you are a mother would somehow detract from a political speech. Especially considering the fact she also focused a lot on how her husband was a DAD in addition to being the president.

    • http://feministing.com/members/delizcious2/ Elizabeth

      Thank you, Stella, for posting my sentiments exactly. Becoming a mother – or creating public discourse surrounding motherhood – is no reason to apologize. Forcing these conversations to be confined to a “more appropriate” place and time is dangerous to motherhood, feminism, and women everywhere.

      Also, “better president than Romney”? Why not reasons why Michelle would make a better president than Barack? Yeah, I went there.

    • http://feministing.com/members/erose/ ERose

      Sorry, Vanessa, but how is it feminist to imply that speaking about one’s role as a mother is somehow a “but” to an otherwise successful speech?

      Because there are also women like me who do not want to be mothers. When powerful women with children glorifies their motherhood over all else in the public sphere, it reinforces the message we get every day – that society believes anything we are proud of accomplishing and becoming matters less than whether we have kids.
      The idea that “mother” is the highest and most important label a woman can aspire to is simply not true in my life. I do consider it a feminist thought to note that when someone as prominent as Michelle Obama contributes to that narrative it does make it harder for other kinds of women to overcome it.
      It’s not a contradiction to be a mother and a feminist. It is problematic when a childless women become increasingly marginalized past a certain point in life, and having such a prominent woman’s political statements be so heavy on the mom talk does contribute to that.

      • http://feministing.com/members/tetesagehen/ Tae Phoenix

        *I accidentally clicked “report this comment” instead of “reply.” My apologies.*

        I think it’s sad that we’re still at a point where one prominent woman speaking about her personal experience as a mother (even if it is part of trying to get her husband re-elected) carries so much weight that it can be a force that further marginalizes women who are child-free. We just don’t talk about this part of our population enough.

        It’s clear that child-free women need a lot more representation and recognition. And we also need to recognize that child-free women are by and large just as in favor of things that make the world better for the next generation as moms are.

        That said, I don’t object to Michelle’s mom-talk because it’s her authentic experience. And the right to be authentic is a key part of my feminism.

      • http://feministing.com/members/freckledpapaya/ Maya

        Your claim that women cannot simultaneously be mothers and feminists is extremely problematic. Just because a society pushes women to believe they are born into a specific role does not mean they should ALL reject that role. Many women aspire to be great mothers, and whether or not it’s a result of society, it is still their choice. What does need to change is the common ideology that men have no place in caregiving, as women continue to push into other kinds of careers. There should also be far more (financial and other) support given for people who choose to care give rather than work in paid careers, or choose to do both. Perhaps you should examine how you have internalized the idea that care giving is somehow less valuable to our society than any other job.

        With regard to the “mom talk” comment, I haven’t finished the whole speech yet, but I feel like the way she’s talking about her kids and uprooting them and whatnot is a bit of eye-roller for some people. Whether or not that’s right is up for debate, but in terms of strategy, if she’s addressing such a large audience she should use relatable experiences. I would be a bit of an eye-roller myself, but I’m sure much of the American public empathizes, which would make it a good move on her part.

  • http://feministing.com/members/amck/ AMM

    She’s more popular as FLOTUS than Mitt as aspiring POTUS. At its peak, Michelle received 28,003 tweets per minute last night — nearly two times the peak of Mitt Romney’s RNC speech at 14,289 tweets per minute.

    More tweets does not prove more popular. An equally reasonable interpretation of the Twitter stats is that Michelle Obama appeals to a demographic that is far more likely to use social media, especially Twitter, than Mitt Romney does.

    Also keep in mind that in both cases, the tweeters come from that subset of the US population that has enough interest in the Democratic and Republican National Circuses^H^H^H^H^H^H^HConventions to follow them in real time.

    Preventing the right wing from getting even more control over the US than they already have is going to require a lot of hard, ungratifying work between now and November, and will require more than just getting Obama back in the White House (Senate? House? remember them?) Reducing the right wing’s power will require even more. The conventions — and Twitter stats — are just a sideshow.

    Votes. It’s the votes, stupid.

    • http://feministing.com/members/uplift23/ Uplift23

      This – more tweets is about demographic appeal and tech-savviness, not “popular”. As well, some unknown number of those tweets might have been critical: attention is not “popular”.

  • http://feministing.com/members/toongrrl/ toongrrl

    She is so full of win