Here's the full quote (video here):
"What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It
is making a comeback. And let me tell you something -- for the first time in my
adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has
done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been
desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so
alone in my frustration and disappointment. I've seen people who are hungry to
be unified around some basic common issues, and it's made me proud."
If you listen to the full quote, this seems silly but not necessarily objectionable. As I've been dinging around the internet tonight, the part that's been used most has been this:
And let me tell you something -- for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am
really proud of my country.
As you might imagine, this fragment of the larger quote has been generating howls of outrage from various sectors of the punditocracy. And if you take just those words, I can see why someone might be outraged. But I don't think that you can or you should do that. Conservatives have howled for years about "Dowdification" - the practice (named after New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd) of some in the media to take a fragment of a longer quote and use the words as a brickbat with which to beat conservatives. We hate it when it happens to us. We shouldn't do the same thing to the other side.
Anyway, what I see in the fuller context of Mrs. Obama's quote is not anti-Americanism, but solipsism. What I see is a speaker who is so locked into her own vision of the world that she either refuses to see, or cannot see, the country that the rest of us see. That's unfortunate and it is potentially troubling that as a potential First Lady she should be so blinded to the goodness of so many other people, and of the many amazing things that have happened in her adult life, which roughly spans the same period as mine. But I also see something else - she's not the candidate. Her husband is. And he's the guy who should be getting the scrutiny. While Barack Obama hasn't seen nearly the scrutiny I'd like to see him get, it will come.