Columnist Charles Blow performed some Rachel Swarns-worthy fawning over the first lady: "The Magic of Michelle." The text box left nothing to chance: "A fun and fearless first lady."
Give the pro-Obama, anti-Republican Blow points for honesty, anyway:
Forgive me in advance for fawning, but Michelle Obama is the coolest first lady ever. She clinched it for me this week by jumping double Dutch on the South Lawn as part of a "healthy kids fair."
The scene underscored my impression of the first lady as utterly unencumbered by convention. She seems to feel free - free enough to loosen up and laugh a little, free enough to let her inner child peek through the veil of parenthood, free enough to be herself.
I couldn't imagine recent first ladies jumping a puddle on the sidewalk, let alone two ropes swinging at the same time in opposite directions. So, on behalf of New York City, the so-called double Dutch capital of the world (so much so that this year it became a varsity sport in the city's schools), allow me to say: Well played.
I could pile on platitudes here about her professional accomplishments, or explore to what degree she is redefining the role of women, or predict how she will be viewed by historians in the pantheon of her predecessors. I could, but I won't. That's not my bailiwick.
But I will say that she seems particularly suited to these times. She provides a certain authenticity and clarity of self in a time of uncertainty, projecting a casual grace onto a world of amplified anxiety. She has become a powerful symbol of fearlessness, refinement, frugality and frivolity, managing to be both fun and serious simultaneously. She's genuinely human.
As opposed to other first ladies, who weren't?