Personally, I don’t care very much about Michelle Obama one way or the other, though she certainly seems like a nice person. But the punditocracy thinks that the popularity of the first lady is uber-important in general. Here’s Halperin two years ago:
In the twenty-year history of Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton(?) American politics, here are the five biggest stories respresenting the greatest political achievements, from greatest to less great:
1. George W. Bush’s fundraising, 1999-2000.
2. The large governor of a small Southern state (a/k/a “Bill Clinton”) defeating an incumbent Republican president, 1992.
3. George W. Bush’s consolidation of the Republican base, 1999-2004.
4. Bill Clinton’s surviving impeachment and thriving in his last two years in office, 1998-2000.
5. Laura Bush’s enduring popularity, 1999-present.