Why do Republicans so hate Michelle Obama?

My friend Ari Rabin-Havt wrote an interesting piece yesterday about the Republican party’s obsession with hating-on First Lady Michelle Obama. Ari calls it “Michelle Derangement Syndrome.”

The Republican party has a long proud history of hating Democratic wives, with the most famous being Hillary Clinton, of course.  But they still did a bang up job on Teresa Heinz Kerry during the 2004 presidential election as well. It’s part of the larger GOP problem with women, particularly women who don’t speak and act like Betty Boop.

I’ve met Mrs. Obama twice, albeit briefly, and I can safely attest to the fact that Betty Boop, she ain’t. Which only makes her demonization by the Republicans all the more dreadful. Not that one’s spouse should be “fair game” in politics for any reason (though the GOP has raised abusing Democratic spouses to an art-form), but the fact that the GOP is trying to demonize someone who most assuredly is not a demon goes to the utter dishonesty of the far-right fringe controlling the GOP.

Republicans are not in it to stop people they think are legitimately evil.  They do what they do because it’s a tactic that they think works. It doesn’t matter to them whether they’re telling the truth. Bashing Democratic First Ladies is a growth business in the GOP, so a-bashing they will go.

The GOP’s Michelle Obama Derangement Syndrome is only a part of the party’s larger problem with women, which is only a part of the GOP’s larger problem with pretty much everyone who isn’t white, male and protestant.  Whether the victim is female, Latino, or gay, the GOP always manages to find enough red meat to throw to the fringe masses that now run the party.  The problem, for the Republicans, is that while the fringe is representative of elected Republicans in Washington, it’s not representative of most Republicans generally, or most Americans.

While putting down women, and bashing Latinos and gays, may win you friends at the RNC, it doesn’t do a lot to convince independents that the Republicans are serious about governing, and it doesn’t even win over a majority of Republicans themselves.  The party is far more hateful than its own voters, and worse yet, it doesn’t seem to realize that fact.  Thus, when the right-wing noise machine explodes at Michelle Obama for attending the Oscars, they actually think they’re scoring points that are going to help them nationally.  And they’re not.

Ari walks through some of the GOP hate directed at Mrs. Obama for her Oscar appearance:

Never mind the First Lady was invited to attend the event, Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post groused: “It is not enough that President Obama pops up at every sporting event in the nation. Now the first lady feels entitled, with military personnel as props, to intrude on other forms of entertaining (this time for the benefit of the Hollywood glitterati who so lavishly paid for her husband’s election).”

Fox News’ Todd Starnes took to Twitter to assert Michelle Obama “made [the Oscars] about herself.”

Christian Toto of Breitbart.com claimed her appearance was an “unprecedented cultural power grab.” He continued, “Michelle Obama hijacked the Oscars tonight, and we’re all supposed to be giddy at the chance to see her shine anew.”

And Rush Limbaugh bloviated “I thought of the Macintosh ad from the Super Bowl in 1984. Exact type of scenario except Michelle Obama was actually the dear leader of this — obviously a totalitarian state.”

The joke is that Michelle Obama is a relatively popular woman – the public at large hardly has the negative view of her that the Republican intelligentsia does.  But the Republicans have so convinced themselves that they’re not just right, but that most of America agrees with them, that they plod ahead with these bizarrely unpopular positions.

Whether it’s hating on Michelle Obama, or insisting that the budget deal not include any tax increases (something that only 19% of the American people agree with, and even Republicans disagree with their own party on this one), the GOP continues to woo a diminishing pool of extremists that might make up a majority of its members in Washington, but continues to scare the hell out of voters of all parties nationwide.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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90 Responses to “Why do Republicans so hate Michelle Obama?”

  1. mary says:

    She has no class and is unkind, impolite, nasty and arrogant. She’s not a likable person.

  2. JC says:

    Her very existence is an “in-your-face” backlash to racists and misogynists. Think about it. Here you have someone who is not only black but who is a woman who has power, status, and prestige. The fact that this enrages them is so obvious in the vitriole they spew. Makes me laugh.

  3. JC says:

    And I consider you a ignorant wing nut with obviously the mental IQ of a slug. And that conclusion is based on significantly more evidence than you based your absurd conclusions on. LMAO

  4. Blue Dogs says:

    I never voted for that uppity AGITATOR Obama in 2008 or 2012 because I knew he was a phony and a joke. The Clintons were right about Obama from the jump.

  5. Mike Brown says:

    …and I also have the right to my opinion that you are not liberal, and you suck at trolling.

  6. MistieRose says:

    Have you ever looked up her grades for high school and college? They were mediocre. Her thesis reads like a tenth grade research paper that was edited for college. She says “me and Broack,” and absolutely is a horrible speaker. I just want to shampoo her wigs or hair or whatever is on her head. How bright do you need to be to get a wig put on your head so that it looks appropriate? She looks like a linebacker for the Chicago Cubs in a sleeveless top or dress and always looks like she has tons of grease all over her body.

  7. MistieRose says:

    Colleen 2 and your intellectual capacity is…what…liberal blogs?

  8. MistieRose says:

    That’s because you never knew what it meant before.

  9. MistieRose says:

    Michelle never works in her organic garden. The gardners to all the work. In fact she has genetic altered wheat in her garden. That is not organic at all.

  10. MistieRose says:

    Indeed you are right!!

  11. MistieRose says:

    I can’t stand Michelle Obama and I am a registered Democrat. I think she angry inside and out and is disloyal to America and its people. Sorry, but I consider her a racists and an elitist. She caters to celebs and people of power, ignores poor blacks, and definitely has distain for anglos and American traditions. She has never been raised to attend a christian based church and only goes to church to pretend that the Obamas celebrate religious serves on holidays as a family. Before living in the White House, the Obamas only attended Rev. Wright’s church where they listened to speeches that were full of hate for America and for anglos. Say what you like, I have the right to my opinion the same as others on this blog.

  12. Exactly!!

  13. Nite says:

    Republicans hate everyone

  14. Better yet, about 45 Buds could probably do the same job and you could brag to your cohorts what a big drinker ya are.

  15. Why would anyone think they need a reason? They are conservatives, after all.

  16. splashy79 says:

    Because she lets the men be the “boss of her” all the time.

  17. mucholderguy says:

    It’s obvious and simple: Republicans are racists.

  18. karmanot says:

    Because she’s not ugly or a war criminal like Condi Rice?

  19. Jim Olson says:

    Well…if the glove fits…

  20. matt woolston says:

    Because she did what she was told always.

  21. colleen2 says:

    Their intellectual is Newt Gingrich. Newt Gingrich.

  22. colleen2 says:

    I’m really amused that two Republicans voted your pithy and accurate analysis down.

  23. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Latent racism.

  24. colleen2 says:

    Nobody has less class than a Republican woman.

  25. rmthunter says:

    “I’ve met Mrs. Obama twice, albeit briefly, and I can safely attest to the fact that Betty Boop, she ain’t. Which only makes her demonization by the Republicans [delete: all the more dreadful] inevitable.”


    As I’m sure others have pointed out, she’s a woman, she’s a Democrat, she’s African American, and worst of all, she’s visible.

    I think the key factor is not the Republican party as a whole, but the teabaggers. They’re a minority even within the party, but they control the primaries, and they are in turn controlled by the socially regressive, “no taxes,” government-is-bad professional manipulators. I mean, look at the major contenders in the last Republican presidential primaries — not an impressive bunch to anyone who lives in anything resembling the real world — and they best they could settle on was a clueless sociopath who’s not even sure what the middle class is.

    Oh, and add in the little old ladies in the Village press corps/talk-show/cocktail party circuit who spend all their time tsk-tsking over things not being “seemly,” whether it’s leaving earned benefits alone or Michelle Obama’s dress, and you’ve got a closed loop that makes the Republicans think they’re still part of this country.

  26. Dakotahgeo says:

    I know!!! It’s scary!!!

  27. Dakotahgeo says:

    Just because YOU don’t measure up…! Sad sack!

  28. Dakotahgeo says:

    he only reasons the Repugs hate First Lady Michelle Obama is that she has 10 x the grace and intelligence of any old conservative men or women! Michelle has shown them all what being a LADY is all about and she does it without even trying. Those poor Bush women should have stayed in the bushes of Texas. Be jealous… be very jealous, Repug/TPods!

  29. I think that conservatives hated Elinor Roosevelt, too.

  30. pappyvet says:

    because hating is what they do

  31. pappyvet says:
  32. Bill_Perdue says:

    ^^^^^ Obots who think that Democrats like the Clinton’s aren’t racists and that Obama can’t be a racist in spite of his treatment of imported and immigrant workers and people in the Arab/muslim world. Sad.

  33. “It’s hardly been the role of the First Lady to present an Oscar.”

    Nothing to lose sleep over. Just write it off as librul Hollywood grandstanding, finish your Genny 12 Horse, go to bed and leave the grownups to talk, OK?

  34. Bill_Perdue says:

    Why on earth would anyone be compassionate towards Democrat racists like the Clinton’s, Barak Obama or their counterparts in the the Republican party?

    Ask Clinton if he was compassionate when he ordered the murder of half a million Iraqi children or Bush when he ordered the invasion and occupation of Iraq, killing another million Iraqis. Ask Obama is he was compassionate when he deported millions of imported and immigrant workers or escalated in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya, killing thousands.

    Then get back to us.


  35. keirmeister says:

    “Who exactly has been attacking Mrs. Obama?”

    Ha ha ha ha! Luckily, this information is readily available, so I don’t have to do the work myself. Just for the appetizer, go check here:


    Any more proof you need, use The Google.

    Gene…as an old Vietnamese friend of mine would say, “You have issue.” It’s hardly the role of a First Lady to present an Oscar? Says who? Is the FLOTUS job description described in the Constitution? it’s amazing, you are ANOTHER Conservative complaining about M.Obama’s appearance at the Oscars like any of it matters. You don’t like them. Fine, but grow the hell up!

    By the way, I’m a BLACK douchebag leftist. How racist of you not to notice. :)

  36. Gene says:

    You and Ari Rabin-Havt might be paranoid schizophrenics.

    Who exactly has been attacking Mrs Obama ?

    It’s hardly been the role of the First Lady to present an Oscar. And both parties use US troops as props, so I condemn both sides.

    This entire thread is white douchebag leftists calling anyone who disagrees with them, racist.

  37. willardcottrell says:

    this is an example of republican intelligentsia.

  38. willardcottrell says:

    oxymoron – they’re actually mental midgets

  39. willardcottrell says:

    ARE NOT!!!!!!! They’re socialists, damn it.

  40. Bill_Perdue says:

    The fact that you have to resort to slurs and personal attacks tells me that you’re a Democrat and incapable of refuting what I proved, which is that Democrats are as racist as Republicans.

    The fact that you’re a Democrat is your personal tragedy. Please don’t impose it decent people.

    I’ve been a socialist and a revolutionist for decades and have fought racism whither it comes from Democrats like Obama, Dixiecrats like the Clinton’s or Republicans. I’m not a racist but Obama is.

    He conducts racist wars against Arabs and muslims and he denies health care to Latina/o immigrants while he deports them in record numbers. Racists support Obama because, and not in spite of, his racist policies.

    For those who want to see real opposition to Obama read some of the posts from Black Agenda Report and Labor Notes.BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon says that “Abject and unwavering support of President Barack Obama on the part of blacks and what used to be called “the left” has made them pretty much irrelevant since Obama emerged as a viable presidential candidate back in mid-2007. After five years of the Age of Obama, four of them as president, one would imagine there are lots of new reasons to endorse him… Some African Americans and self-identified leftists relish their irrelevance so much they feel called to preach it.” Dixon and the others at BAR are not racists either. Neither are Belafonte, Travis Smiley or Cornel West.

    LABORNotes 09 07 2012 “Have Democrats abandoned teacher unions in their pursuit of a corporate-backed education overhaul? From the looks of the Democratic National Convention, it would seem so. At the podium, speakers like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt praised the Obama administration’s willingness to embrace such change, singling out the controversial Race to the Top program for special attention.”

    Before you dismss the the fact that Obama is to the right of Nixon, listen to what Glen Ford at BAR: says: “Let me say from the very beginning that we at Black Agenda Report do not think that Barack Obama is the Lesser Evil. He is the more Effective Evil. He has been more effective in Evil-Doing than Bush in terms of protecting the citadels of corporate power, and advancing the imperial agenda.” Glen Ford is not a racist. He. like me, is a leftist. It’s Democrats who are rightists.

    Obama is a union busting scab who attacks federal workers and postal workers. LABORNotes 03 06 2012 “During the Obama administration, and especially during its first two years when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, the alliance between unions and their political patrons began to wither. The Employee Free Choice Act, the law
    that would have eased union organizing drives, was shelved. When the administration bailed out the auto companies, it dictated wage cuts, plant closings, and tens of thousands of layoffs, and stripped workers’ right to strike. The health care bill attacked union-negotiated plans. A green-job transformation for the economy stalled. Then Obama announced in December 2010 that salaries for federal workers, already low compared to those of private-sector workers with similar education and longevity, would be frozen
    for years into the future…”

    In addition Obama is a mad dog warmonger and is leading the assault on the Bill of Rights, supporting FISA and the Paytriot Act, declaring that he has the right to murder Americans on a whim, signing NDAA and jailing and torturing gay/antiwar hero Brad Manning.

  41. Mary O'Grady says:

    Since the foul old William F. Buckley died, they haven’t had an intelligentsia.

  42. Janie says:

    I voted for Obama twice but it was entirely in spite of Michelle. I absolutely can not stand her. I change the station as soon as I see her face or hear her name. I have a friend who feels the same, so this “everyone loves her” is just a lot of BS.

  43. I doubt whether Republicans are really all that “fond” of their tokens, you know.

  44. Darren says:

    Not to mention Condi being an inveterate liar.

  45. Darren says:

    Michelle O simply rocks. I’m a white guy married to an African-American woman and I hold M. in as high regard as my wife (who’s a Ph.D. scientist BTW).

  46. xlrrp says:

    They think that they should be like “The Stepford Wives”.

  47. xlrrp says:

    “………and muslin people…….”

    I think you have them mixed up with the people who launder your sheets, and hood.

    Oh, one more thing. Everything you posted is pure bullshit.

  48. Because she does “what she’s told” and called G.W. Bush Jr. her husband (remember that?).

  49. emjayay says:

    Michele Obama has actually been very careful to stay within the role of the traditional idea of a First Lady, at least in modern post-feminist times. Organic home gardening, exercise, eating healthy, and most Patriotic of all, advocacy for military families. But no matter how careful she has been much like her husband vilified for being something that she isn’t. Remember there was Bill and Hillary derangement syndrome before. The Obamas derangement syndrome is exactly the same thing plus race. It’s how authoritarians react to a (even slightly) progressive stance. Like white blood cells to a foreign microbe.

  50. Gene says:

    So how come Republicans are so fond of Condoleezza Rice ?


  51. cole3244 says:

    its understandable that the gop would hate flotus, intelligent, compassionate, attractive, likeable, popular, aggressive, mother, educated, everything most in the gop are not, oh & she’s black and that is inexcusable to the racist scum in the party of hate.
    we like & respect you first lady and we have your back.

  52. Absolutely brilliant.

  53. nicho says:

    Mostly it’s because she doesn’t follow the rules that have been set down for first ladies.

    You pop a few Xanax, maybe have a martini or two, and then stand a couple of paces behind your husband, all the while looking at him lovingly with a dumb smile on your face — and, most importantly, STFU. That’s been working for the GOP for years.

  54. tomtallis says:

    I’ve never before seen “intelegensia” and “Republican” in the same sentence.

  55. indep_in_la says:

    The Repuklicans hate her for a number of reasons. First off, she’s (head looks right, then left) ‘black’. Next she’s a Democrat. She’s intelligent – probably brighter than her drone-loving husband. And she’s physically in good shape and probably stronger than many of the ‘men’ in the GOP.

  56. Richard_thunderbay says:

    She is hated in particular because she is likeable and not at all the demon that they want people to believe she is.

  57. karmanot says:

    Lost in the contretemps around our beautiful First Lady is the blatant theatrical propaganda of Michele’s reading of the Oscar for ARGOS—a piece of anti Iran political dreck. The hand in glove Society of the Spectacle mating DC policy and entertainment propaganda is complete.

  58. Well of course most of you are idiots. She is hated for the same reason Obama is hated: They are commies.

  59. Bill_Perdue says:

    They hate her and Barak Obama because they’re racist pigs. They mimic the racism introduced by the Clinton’s in the 2007-8 primary campaign. ABC News’ Rick Klein Reports: Bill Clinton accused Barack
    Obama’s campaign of “playing the race card on me” and told a Philadelphia radio station that the Obama campaign took his Jesse Jackson comment and “twisted it for political purposes.” http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2008/04/bill-clinton-ob-2/

    “Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed Wednesday to continue her quest for the Democratic nomination, arguing she would be the stronger nominee because she appeals to a wider coalition of voters — including whites who have not supported Barack Obama in recent contests.

    “I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article “that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

    That racism, and it’s very widespread in both parties, should not be used to excuse Barak Obama’s racist actions towards immigrant and imported workers, his racist wars of aggression towards Arab and muslin people and his attempts to bust unions and the Bill of Rights or to stop environmentally crucial laws and regulations.

  60. They hate her because they hate (smart) women, democrats and minorities. She’s all of those. She’s everything they fear.

  61. BeccaM says:

    “…the GOP’s larger problem with pretty much everyone who isn’t white, male and protestant fundamentalist Christian, hyper-conservative, Republican, and preferably wealthy.”

    There, fixed.

  62. karmanot says:

    Good writing John, witty and very funny.

  63. karmanot says:

    But they do believe in the Noah’s Arc of history.

  64. karmanot says:

    LOL…… ain’t that the truth.

  65. karmanot says:

    One explaination is that the RNC has become the ‘Hills Have Eyes’ Party.

  66. “Now the first lady feels entitled,” – why, she’s downright uppity!

  67. fentwin says:

    She could produce poop of solid gold, and there are those on the right who would complain that Ms. Obama is depressing the rpice of gold.

  68. Hell, right-wingers always pigeonhole women whom they deem to be “liberal”. Either they’re frumpy, joyless lesbians who hate everything; or they’re promiscuous tramps who want the government to pay for all the sex they’re having; or they’re emasculating Lady Macbeth types hungry for power.

    It seems to me that the Republican notion of what a politician’s wife is supposed to do is to be like a suburban mom. Maybe she’s allowed to have a pet cause of little importance–sort of the equivalent of joining a book club–but that’s about it.

    EDIT: It occurs to me that hatred for Michelle Obama often takes the same form as one of the common GOP charges against Pres. Obama himself, that he’s a self-aggrandizing “rock star” President building a cult of personality about himself. Apparently, judging from the tweets quoted above, Michelle Obama is guilty of the same thing.

  69. nicho says:

    Interesting, though, that no one was supposed to breathe one word about Anne Romney. We were just supposed to admire her from afar and gush.

  70. caphillprof says:

    The joke is on the Republicans and they still do not get it. They remain in denial over Obama’s re-election. They think everybody hates just like they do. Every time they trumpet their hate, they dig the grave of the Republican Party ever deeper.

  71. Michelle is a strong, confident woman. Some republican men are threatened by this; weak insecure women make them feel better about themselves.

  72. You sound like you’re describing a gay man ;-)

  73. FLL says:

    You’re right, John, she’s no Betty Boop. America already has the political equivalent of Betty Boop—Marco Rubio. Watch the Betty Boop clip that you attached and compare it with a Marco Rubio video: the childlike voice and intonation; the precise pronunciation; the dainty, rhythmic hand gestures. It’s all there. The Republicans accept Marco Rubio because he’s white rather than mixed-race, but they’re rooting for the reincarnation of Betty Boop.

  74. FLL says:

    John’s use of the word “intelligentsia” might be tongue-in-cheek. This is the “Republican intelligentsia” that denies climate change, thinks the earth is 6,000 years old, etc. A contradiction in terms.

  75. sunmusing says:

    Yeah…that’s what I thought too…

  76. FLL says:

    And you thought “driving while Black” was the only thing that would attract unwanted right-wing attention? FLOTUS while Black… POTUS while Black… How about successful or even popular while Black? No wonder Southern radio stations censored Black singers during the mid-twentieth century.

  77. DarrinQ says:

    FLOTUS while Black.

  78. lilyannerose says:

    She’s a charismatic and dignified woman who also very much seems to have a refreshing sense of humor and quite the capacity for fun. Further, she could have walked that Red Carpet and owned it with every step she took. She’s a fantastic First Lady who does this country proud and I think it’s not just that Obama won two elections it’s also that the country fell in love with the First Lady like they’ve never fallen in love with a GOP First Lady, and OMG, don’t tell anyone but she’s Black and that’s what gets their proverbial panties in a wad.

  79. So, she is smart, pretty, healthy, strong, tall, well spoken, successful, stylish, energetic, concerned about other human beings and is capable of having fun and showing joyful emotions. But, she is Black and married to the black arch enemy of the GOP. Is there any other explanation?

  80. Republican intelligentsia?

  81. keirmeister says:

    I think it’s pretty simple: Social Conservatism succeeds by making people afraid of “The Other”. African Americans, Gay People, Immigrants, Liberals…these are all groups that Conservatives call bad for one reason or another. But when people from these groups present themselves for society to see, and we all see just how basic and normal we all all, the Conservative demonization falls completely apart.

    Conservatism lives by lies, and it’s harder to cover over a lie when we can SEE it. Thus, as FLOTUS appears on TV more, she is attacked more. The attack is an effort to “re-balance” the lie back to the Conservative’s favor. What they keep failing to realize is that the more they do this “re-balancing”, the less effective it is.

  82. reya88 says:

    She is a black successful woman who is an equal to her husband. That is a recipe for Republican hate.

  83. Randy Riddle says:

    It’s actually very simple why they hate Michelle – they look at her and see a classy, articulate, smart, powerful woman and cannot square that with the fact that she happens to be Black and isn’t cleaning the toilets in their office.

  84. Indigo says:

    Republicans are conservatives and bound ceremonially to the “little woman” syndrome. Among other things, they are obliged to express contempt for strong women and their wives are obliged to resent beautiful women. Michelle looses on both fronts in that playbook. She strong and she’s beautiful. How much worse could it get to an ultraconservative male politico with ulcers and resentful wife?

  85. Hue-Man says:

    Even more bizarre, this is the demographic they aspire to attract – minority, wealthy, educated, women in two-parent homes raising children. Absent TeaParty/GOP racism, someone like her would feature prominently in their ad spending – instead it’ll be someone like Herman Uzbekibekibekistan Cain.

  86. gamelan9 says:

    Ann Romney would have run in a steeplechase, dragging her horsies behind her, to present at the Oscars…not that she would have been invited…

  87. S1AMER says:

    Well, hell, wouldn’t you hate somebody who’s married to and borne the spawn of a commie, fascist, foreign-born, moslem, gun-seizing, fag-loving terrorist? I mean, really …

  88. David Foster says:

    I don’t recall any of this kind of talk when Barbara Bush, or Ronald Regan had a appearance on the Oscars. Double standards at its best! And I agree… great shot standing next to the First Lady!

  89. Jafafa Hots says:

    Seems they think she doesn’t “know her place.”

  90. gaylib says:

    The reason they think everyone agrees with them is because they only hang out with other old, straight white people, which is the crux of their problem. Great pic btw.

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