Michelle Obama Endures Public Scrutiny Potential First Ladies are often intensely scrutinized by the public — and Michelle Obama is the latest to undergo this ordeal. Essayist Diane Roberts wishes we would all get real.

Michelle Obama Endures Public Scrutiny

Michelle Obama Endures Public Scrutiny

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Let's see: she's aggressive, she's elitist, she hates America and she does "terrorist fist jabs." Could Michelle Obama be any more terrifying? According to the TV talking heads, Michelle Obama is scarier than toxic tomatoes and $5 a gallon gas combined.

Where Laura Bush is all pastels and soft-focus, Michelle Obama is strong lines and high def. Where Cindy McCain is a frat boy's dream girl — a blond beer heiress from the golden West — Michelle Obama is a tall, clever Ivy League lawyer from the South Side of Chicago.

She's Angela Davis without the 'fro; she's Anita Hill with a better dress sense; she's Aretha Franklin, not singing "Respect" but carving it on the nation's trembling flesh.

She's an Angry Black Woman. Now, we're not talking reality here; we're talking national neuroses. Americans are never happier than when a public figure seems to fit a scarcely-rational, mostly unarticulated, but long-harbored stereotype.

Many of us have been pleased with ourselves about how well we're handling Barack Obama. Yes, his middle name is Hussein and he's, you know, African-American, but we've decided to not be afraid of him, mostly. He's cool as a splash of Evian.

But we worry that while Michelle Obama usually looks elegant enough for a Vogue photo shoot, she's really seething with jalapeno-hot rage.

She doesn't seem angry to me, just confident. And self-assured. But if she were angry, well, could you blame her? I mean, one cable network show referred to her as "Obama's Baby Mama." Another featured a political scientist suggesting that she emphasize her "roles as wife and mother." And just about everybody congratulated this Princeton- and Harvard-educated woman for appearing on "The View," where she revealed to a breathless nation that she doesn't wear pantyhose and loves bacon.

Well, at least she's not a vegetarian.