Monday, November 2, 2009

You Have Exceeded Your Expectations

It’s about time. Jodi Kantor’s article about the O’s wonderful life and marriage finally came out last weekend in the New York Times Magazine. We haven’t had such complimentary coverage in the Times now for… days!

O's dancing in the dark

The Whole World’s Their Stage

We expected it a few months back, before the honeymoon was officially over. And it would have been, except that we had to keep sending it back for revisions. Boy, even the supportive media tend to wander off the reservation if you don’t watch them like a hawk.

Anyway, it turns out the timing is great because Nancy and Harry are letting us down big time and it looks like a little boost to the old  Obama magic is in order.

And wow, did Jodi deliver! Just like the pro she is. Al and Tipper might have been the inspiration for Erich Segal’s Love Story and invented the Internet, but BO and MO have re-invented love and marriage!

Jodi begins by talking about how indignant Big Guy was about all the crap they got about flying off to New York on Air Force One for a Broadway show and dinner on date night. BO has said from the start, he’d have been more than happy to have just hopped in the staff car and driven up to the Big Apple, but the uptight Secret Service wouldn’t let him. He explained how annoyed he was about hateful  people ruining their special date night by making it into a “political” thing.  Politics. In the White House. Who’d have expected that?  Being President really sucks!

But anyway, after a little help from our staff writers, Jodi really got a handle on this assignment:  she managed to make MO and BO out to be both elitists and yet somehow charming at the same time. Lady M helped her figure out how to work in the parts about their marriage being a “formidable brand” and  “an ongoing negotiation between two strong-minded people.”  It came out a lot better than it did when people were talking about the merger between Merrill Lynch and Bank of America.

Then there’s this part that Lady M really liked too:

… the two sat a few feet apart in matching striped chairs that made them look more like a pair of heads of state than husband and wife.

MO does like to think of herself as a “head of state.” Plus, it makes all the time she spends with the hair stylists seem somehow noble.

But speaking of stylists, she was a bit miffed about this unauthorized photo that they ran with the article:

mos noseShe said it makes her look like she’s had a nose job. Hello! Just exactly what does she think I do for her every damn day of her enchanted life !?!


A little slimming here, a little rounding there, get rid of that angry look around the brows. Sometimes I feel a bit taken for granted. It’s almost as if Lady M has forgotten what she really looks like without me.



All in all though, both of the O’s feel that Jodi captured the magic of their life. Especially the secret part about simply not settling for second best. A lot of the credit for that must go to Lady M. It was really her sense of style and grace that got them here:

…  the candidate’s wife was constantly trying to upgrade the campaign, eliminating anything that seemed tacky or otherwise redolent of the less-than-exalted standards of Illinois state politics. Instead of a beers-in-a-bar fund-raiser, Michelle arranged a party at the DuSable Museum of African American History with a band and a crowd of young professionals. When Harwell found an inexpensive office space with dingy walls, Michelle vetoed it. “She was like, ‘Oh, no, no, no,’ ” Harwell says. “ ‘Why would we reduce ourselves to this?’ ”

You see, if you think really big, if you have the audacity of hope, you might just end up in the White House yourself. In the words of those immortal souls in Broadcast News:

  Tom: What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?

  Aaron: Keep it to yourself.