Kantor’s most intriguing finding is that Barack and Michelle’s mood cycles are generally out of sync. Kantor’s big scoop is that Michelle’s grumpy initial reaction to her husband’s 2008 victory was to plan a separation: He could go camp out in the White House bachelor-style while she stayed in Chicago until their girls finished their school year.
Aghast aides had to repeatedly talk her out of this and other passive-aggressive faux pas. As her husband’s popularity declined, however, Michelle’s attitude improved, suggesting an underlying resentment toward her more accomplished husband.
In contrast to the enigmatic president, Kantor has little trouble making sense of the First Lady. Kantor’s Michelle is organized, conscientious, disciplined, deeply maternal, materialistic, disagreeable, self-pitying, and modestly intelligent.
Overall, she’s a decent woman who has improved at the job of First Lady, initiating prudently bland and unobjectionable drives against obesity and for soldiers’ families. But—at least in The Obamas—she’s not a terribly interesting person.
In Kantor’s telling, Barack has become even more introverted with age. He likes power more than politics. In contrast to Bill Clinton, who exploited the Lincoln Bedroom to make cool new friends such as Bono, the president has retreated emotionally to a tiny inner circle of two wealthy Chicago black couples godmothered by his adviser Valerie Jarrett, whose vapidity drives his white aides to distraction.
According to Kantor, Obama’s intimates all resent whites who resent affirmative action:
“I wasn’t supposed to have my own successful career,” Michelle once said. “They said my achievement must have been the result of racial preferences.”
Of course, Michelle didn’t have her own successful career. Her achievements, such as they were (having her salary as a diversicrat tripled upon her husband’s election to the US Senate), did stem from quotas and from being a politician’s wife.
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