FLOTUS 'Ballers,' Then and Now


“Michelle Obama’s new ‘baller’ motto” — Another first for the Obama administration?

First lady Michelle Obama debuted a new motto as she hit DNC fundraisers in New York on Wednesday.

“We need you to keep on writing those checks, and if you haven’t maxed out, you know, what’s my motto?  Max out,” she told attendees at the DNC’s LGBT Gala on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “Let’s say it together: Max out. And if you’ve maxed out, get your friends to max out. It’s a very — maxing out.

“Sounds kind of baller, too — maxing out. Everyone here should be maxed out. “


“That’s what I want. A First Lady who uses the term ‘Baller’ when seeking donations,” Kathleen McKinley tweets.

Ugh. Particularly since the FLOTUS seemed to think only recently that being a “baller” was a bad thing. At least it was earlier this month, when Mrs. Obama spoke at college commencement address:

In an address at Bowie State University, Mrs. Obama told graduates to bear the goals of the university’s founders in mind by highlighting the role of education in the black community.

Citing the high dropout rates of African-American students, Mrs. Obama lamented that–  despite their ancestors’ fights to ensure that African Americans have access to education — too many young people still “can’t be bothered.”

“Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper,” she said.

But why would young people think that being a lawyer or business leader is a positive career path? Particularly given the POTUS and FLOTUS and their own thoughts on the topic? In 2008, Jim Geraghty spotted this telling passage in a book by David Mendell titled Obama: From Promise to Power:

“[Barack Obama] always talked about the New Rochelle train, the trains that took commuters to and from New York City, and he didn’t want to be on one of those trains every day,” said Jerry Kellman, the community organizer who enticed Obama to Chicago from his Manhattan office job. “The image of a life, not a dynamic life, of going through the motions… that was scary to him.”


And then there was this classic bit by Michelle Obama on the 2008 campaign trail:

“We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.” Faced with that reality, she adds, “many of our bright stars are going into corporate law or hedge-fund management.”

I guess the FLOTUS doesn’t consider that very baller. Or does she?



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