Michelle's Legacy

The Democratic convention highlighted how First Lady Michelle Obama has grown during her White House years.

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Media Outlet: US News & World Report

Liza Mundy was interviewed in US News & World Report about Michelle Obama's legacy:

Is there any way to vaguely measure Michelle's impact?
Mundy: I am no historian but would think she goes down as a successful first lady. I sometimes worry about first lady status, that the way you get popular is to totally soften your edges. I don't think that's the case. It's fair to say she has not been controversial and out there talking about racial issues. Her home city of Chicago is obviously deeply affected by gun violence and that is not really a cause she has taken on. Maybe it's a cause she will take on after they leave office.
Somebody on Twitter raised the question of whether the Democrats could claim now to be the party of family values. She will go down as comfortable with popular culture in a charming way. But I think nobody can argue with their family values and his attentive fatherhood and their enjoyment of family life. That's what resonates with me.
I was struck by her comments (in her convention speech), though she did so deftly, alluding to talking to her daughters about the sort of hate directed toward him and then having to talk to them about when their dad's citizenship and place of birth were questioned. It did provide a window on to their dealing with the kids amid the full force of the internet.
After the news of Malia going to Harvard, there was a lot of invective in The Washington Post comments sections. There was nastiness about "affirmative action," etc. I wondered if it had been the child of a white president, whether you would have that sort of invective. There was a racial tinge, it seemed.

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Liza Mundy is a senior fellow at New America, and the former director of the organization’s Breadwinning and Caregiving program. She is currently working on a book about female code breakers during World War II.