For guidance, they can turn back to a primary source about the ups and downs of life with Barack Obama—-Michelle Obama herself. Back in 2007, the future First Lady warned against expecting too much from him:
“Barack is very much human. So let’s not deify him, because what we do is we deify, and then we’re ready to chop it down. People have notions of what a wife’s role should be in this process, and it’s been a traditional one of blind adoration. My model is a little different--I think most real marriages are.”
Mrs. Obama could not have foreseen how much chopping down would occur in her husband’s first term, how the politics of hope would morph into the politics of nope with wall-to-wall GOP refusal to man the fire hoses as the national economy was burning down.
Now, as Mitt Romney woos the most unlikely constituencies, the question is: Do voters have to rekindle that 2008 rapture to escape their frying pan/fire dilemma? Can a new generation of young people, facing unemployment after college, fall in love with Obama now as they did then? Or must politics, like most marriages, go beyond that first fine passion and evolve into respect, sharing and caring?
Those are the questions this summer and fall. As they look for answers, voters may want to consider Michelle Obama herself, a woman of her time who knows that “blind adoration” is a myth of the old politics, in which wives gazed at their husbands like inflatable dolls during a campaign.
Americans may not be as much in love with Barack Obama this time, but do they want a four-year fling with the likes of Mitt Romney?