Wimpy David Brooks Cowed by Michelle Obama's Biceps

Have the Republicans reverted to a party with so little to say that they are reduced to making feeble jabs at Michelle Obama's biceps? Are they so afraid of the new Obama era that the First Lady's arms are enough of a symbol of power that they cower before them?

That can be the only explanation for Republican lite David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, to tell his fellow Times columnist Maureen Dowd that Michelle Obama should put away her arms, "Thunder and Lightning." Thunder and lightning? Has he actually named the biceps that offend him?

He went on to complain that Michelle's stunning eggplant sleeveless Narcisco Rodriguez dress, which she wore to Congress, was "ostentatious." And that the First Lady should not be known for one body part.

Brooks also had the nerve to say that "sometimes I think half the reason Obama ran for president is so Michelle would have a platform to show off her biceps."

If that doesn't sound like a sore loser running scared, then I don't know what does.

Let me respond to Mr. Brooks' insulting comments one by one. As a sometime fashionista who has edited the style bibles Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Glamour, I contend that Mrs. Obama's eggplant dress was striking, chic and very modern. It was not ostentatious. Ostentatious would have been a more "Dynasty-type" dress featuring sequins, gold glitz, feathers and enormous shoulders.

As for infamous Presidential body parts. There is a well-established tradition of presidential types being successful and still being strongly identified with signature features: George Washington for his ponytail and wooden teeth, Thomas Jefferson for his red hair, Abraham Lincoln for his height and heavy beard, Franklin D Roosevelt for his polio-crippled legs, Jackie Kennedy for her wide eyes and Ronald Reagan for his thatch of boyish brown hair.

Now as for Obama running to show off Michelle's biceps, then I say, good for him. Because if there's one thing this country needs right now besides a strong and principled president instituting change, it's a superhero, and the non-sexist American public will take a female one.

There's a long history of strong female warriors in Western culture, from the goddess Athena who was a wise warrior (how Michelle-like), to the the Brit chick Boadicea, to young French babe, Joan of Arc, to Queen Elizabeth 1 to tough bicepped protector-mom, Sarah Connor in "Terminator" to Xena, the Princess Warrior to ... WonderWoman. And since when did a woman's arms become something that should be covered up if they were well-sculpted ? Why is it OK for a man's naked pecs, abs and biceps to be admired as heroic? Think Rocky, Arnold and the highly-muscled Daniel Craig who always has a half-nude scene in the Bond flicks.

I think that Brooks, like many of his Republican cohorts, is more than a little jealous of the finely-toned Obama arms. When was the last time he saw the inside of a gym? I bet he's got jiggly girly-man arms.

Think about it -- all those big-mouth Republicans are major Mr. Softies: Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich. Between the bunch of them, they probably wouldn't last five minutes on a treadmill. They are afraid -- Michelle COULD punch them out.

Like the oversized Mr. Softie in the film "Ghostbusters," they're all huff and puff with no sturdy center. They're fearful that someone like either Michelle or Barack Obama with real spine, fresh ideas and actual empathy for Americans will blast them into oblivion.

Maybe if they took a cue from the First Lady and hit the gym, the flood of endorphins would spark some bright new ideas from their camp, not just another call for fresh tax cuts for the rich.

Let's not forget that it takes a strong man to partner with a powerful woman.The fact that Barack isn't afraid to love and live with a woman who is his equal just adds to his own power.

In the meantime, David Brooks and his ilk would be better served muscling up to help in the battle against the recession than mouthing off about Michelle's beautiful arms.


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