The idea that the first lady is publicly and uncontrollably “angry” — frequently alleged, never demonstrated — has been kicked around in the conservative blogosphere since the early days of campaign ‘08 and is reasserting itself as the 2012 season revs up.
Or, as Atrios puts it: “MICHELLE SMASH.”
So how’s that campaign coming, anyway? Here’s a clue, courtesy of the new Marist poll:
When President Barack Obama hits the campaign trail, it probably wouldn’t hurt to bring his wife along. 63% of registered voters nationally have a positive impression of First Lady Michelle Obama. 21%, however, have an unfavorable view of Mrs. Obama, and 16% are unsure how to rate her.
Little has changed since Marist last reported this question in May. At that time, 66% thought highly of Michelle Obama, 17% had a less than stellar opinion of her, and 17% were unsure.
Most Democrats — 85% — and nearly six in ten independent voters — 58% — think well of Michelle Obama. Even 42% of Republicans share this view.
Oh, well. Looks like Operation Michelle Smash isn’t working out too well.
At what point are these good people going to realize that this line of attack is a complete and total bust? It has taken many forms over the years, from the early criticism of her claim that she’s really proud of her country for the first time, to the recent attacks over that bogus video supposedly showing her sneering about the flag at a 9/11 ceremony. None of it has moved the needle at all.
Presumably this campaign is about pushing the cultural buttons of a certain type of cautious moderate. But anyone who would find this kind of stuff persuasive has already made up his or her mind about the First Lady. It’s hard to see the political upside in attacking someone with a 63 percent approval rating. It’s even harder to see how personal attacks on the First Lady will do anything but make her more sympathetic to the voters this campaign is designed to reach, to the degree it’s got any coherent objective at all. The fantasy about raging or sneeringly elitist Democratic first ladies just won’t die among a tiny slice of voters, but when it comes to the broader electorate, those cultural cues just don’t have any potency anymore.
But, hey, keep hope alive! That silver-bullet video has to be out there somewhere.