Now, the fact that a lot of Americans are still opposed not simply to the presidency of Barack Obama but to the idea of the presidency of Barack Obama is not something that Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, or in fact any Democratic speechmaker will talk about at the convention. But it's indisputable, and it accounts for the almost fantastic nature of what many Americans think of both the president and the First Lady. To be sure, they're politically vulnerable on merit; but they're also vulnerable because even, after their four years in office, a weirdly unvarying percentage of America does not accept them as Americans. It is prejudice, pure and simple, and it manifests itself less in polling results than it does in a political discourse warped by whispers and suspicions kept sub rosa.—Tom Junod. Go read the whole thing here.
And so it was hard to say what Michelle Obama had to do on Tuesday night, because so much of what she had to do tonight was something outside the realm of polite speech. Republican commentators spoke almost winsomely of Ann Romney's need to humanize Mitt Romney; but no Democratic commentator could speak of the necessity of "Americanizing" Barack Obama without indulging the worst instincts of the American electorate. So what Michelle Obama did, quite simply, was engage the best...
So maybe Michelle Obama was supposed to humanize her husband on Tuesday night, in her big speech. Maybe she was even supposed to humanize herself. But she wound up doing something very different, and something far more rare, and something that not only answered the people who insist that she is not like them but also had to shame them: She was simply human, and so as American as any of us could hope or dare to be.
[H/T to Jessica. See also: Irin Carmon's "Michelle Obama: Beyond mom-in-chief."]