Wednesday, June 05, 2013


By now you've heard about Michelle Obama taking a heckler to task for rudely interrupting her at a private fundraiser. Now (very) rough video of the incident has surfaced. I can't recall a first lady ever being held responsible for her husband's policies before -- am I wrong here? -- but I kind of think this activist was completely out of line.

Ellen Sturtz talked to the Washington Blade about what happened HERE.


Anonymous said...

I know you won't publish this but it's worth a shot.
We all know that if the situation was reversed and this were a republican first lady, accosted by a gay activist and the first lady dealt with the activist the exact same way this one did, the press and every gay person in the world would be ready to crucify said first lady. Don't say a republican first lady wouldn't respond the same way because a republican first lady wouldn't have thrown a childish hissy.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

But aren't you making an argument that has nothing to do with what I -- or anyone else -- said? I don't remember Barbara Bush being heckled about her husband's pardoning of Iran-Congra criminals, or Laura Bush being heckled about the Iraq war. Did I miss that? (Seriously asking.)

Anonymous said...

I understand our struggles with policies, etc., but I believe that this approach was too heavy-handed, and misplaced.

Michelle Obama doesn't set policy and has been and hopefully still is a supporter.

We do not do ourselves any favors by attacking our friends/supporters.

If we really want things to change permanently for the better, then we need to start where laws are started -- Congress. An Executive Order is nice, but also easily removed.

SEAN said...

Anon #1 - for your scenario to take place, a Republican 1st lady would have to be heckled by a tea party (or similar conservative) activist and complain that the president is not doing enough for the conservative movement.

I think you'd likely get Kenneth also saying that he doesn't think it's appropriate for any 1st lady to be heckled.

Anonymous said...

i appreciate your approach, but honestly, regardless of who the first lady is or what party we are talking...heckling a first lady just doesn't help our cause. Especially a first lady who has been our supporter for years.

Heckle the senator, the congressperson, the President even, but the first lady...please....just doesn't help our cause.

Focus on those who can further our cause. Otherwise we're heckling wives, children and relatives and not the ones who actually change policy.

It was not appropriate to attack the first lady and no matter what folks say won't make it more appropriate.

Patrick said...

Sean has the parallel exactly right. The First Lady, an advocate of LGBT rights, was lending her support as a speaker at a private fundraiser for a cause important to both her and the people in her audience, including the heckler. The heckler was thumbing her nose at the First Lady's support and rudely demanding a substitute message -- one which, of course, was beyond he First Lady's power to effectuate. It's as if Sarah Palin crashed Laura Bush's tea party because she didn't consider the tea to be a strong enough brew for her wanton tribe of Tea-baggers.

Kenneth, the closest situation I can think of when a first lady was called on to answer for her husband's policies is when Nancy Reagan, addressing the press alongside her obviously Alzheimer's-afflicted husband after Iran/Contra, feebly remarked: "We're doing the best we can." As Mrs. Obama put it, responding on behalf of your husband is not something a first lady can do well, under any circumstances.

Strider8 said...

Eartha Kitt -- spoke out at some kind of event that Lady Byrd Johnson was hosting -- I think it was about the Vietnam War -- someone will have to check -- I was only about 10-12 yrs old at the time.

Mark said...

If this event had been non-political, I'd agree that the First Lady might be an inappropriate target. But it was a political event, where she was talking about politics.

You're either in the arena or you're out of it. If the First Lady is an active political participant, then she's a valid and appropriate target for political dissent and disruption.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@Matk: I'm moved by your argument.

But then you agree that the heckler was being extremely rude and deserved to be removed from the event, right? I'd expect the same of a president's heckler.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin