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Michelle Derangement Syndrome

Is there a point where one's political dislike becomes so engrained it seeps into a personal hatred that borders on psychosis?

Michelle Derangement Syndrome

First lady Michelle Obama, appearing on screen, presents the award for best picture during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
First lady Michelle Obama, appearing on screen, presents the award for best picture during the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday Feb. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Is there a point where one’s political dislike becomes so engrained it seeps into a personal hatred that borders on psychosis?

The first lady has endured four years of attacks not on political positions -- where criticism would be completely in-bounds -- but on her style, her weight, and her butt.

The reaction to her appearance, by video, at last night’s Oscars ceremony demonstrates the depth of conservative delusion.

Never mind the First Lady was invited to attend the event, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post groused: “It is not enough that President Obama pops up at every sporting event in the nation. Now the first lady feels entitled, with military personnel as props, to intrude on other forms of entertaining (this time for the benefit of the Hollywood glitterati who so lavishly paid for her husband’s election).”

Fox News’ Todd Starnes took to Twitter to assert Michelle Obama “made [the Oscars] about herself.”

Christian Toto of Breitbart.com claimed her appearance was an “unprecedented cultural power grab.” He continued, “Michelle Obama hijacked the Oscars tonight, and we're all supposed to be giddy at the chance to see her shine anew.”

And Rush Limbaugh bloviated “I thought of the Macintosh ad from the Super Bowl in 1984. Exact type of scenario except Michelle Obama was actually the dear leader of this -- obviously a totalitarian state."

I get it.

They hate the President. They hate the First Lady. They hate the fact that the majority of Americans voted to reelect Barack Obama to another four years in office.

And they hate that the vast majority of people watching the Oscar’s reaction to the First Lady’s appearance was to think, “Oh cool, Michelle Obama – Wow Argo won. Good for Ben Affleck. Remember Gigli, wow that movie sucked.”

Get over it. (Not Gigli, America is still owed an apology for that film.)

For better or worse our President and first family serve both a political and ceremonial role. Conservatives who cannot stand to see Michelle Obama on television without shaking with rage need to get some perspective.

It’s not unprecedented for political figures to appear at the Oscars. Laura Bush took part in the ceremony in 2002. I somehow doubt the right considers that a hijacking. (Fun fact: the first President to speak at the Oscars was Franklin Roosevelt in 1941.)

Michelle Derangement Syndrome is not a new disease. For six years conservatives have tried to paint the First Lady as an angry black woman, a stereotype designed to cynically scare white swing voters away from the President. With “positive views of [Michelle Obama outstripping] negative by about 4 to 1,” they are infuriated with their failure.

Ari Rabin-Havt
About this blog
Ari Rabin-Havt is host of The Agenda, a nightly national radio program airing on SiriusXM 127. He is also a senior adviser to Media Matters and was on the faculty of the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management. He is co-author of "The Fox Effect: How Roger Ailes Turned a Network into a Propaganda Machine" and has served as an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic National Committee and worked on John Kerry's presidential campaign. Reach Ari at TheAgendaAri@gmail.com.

Ari Rabin-Havt
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