Michelle Obama has been a busy and effective first lady, writes Robin Givhan, but not exactly inspiring. She has presided over scores of events, but usually in perfunctory manner from behind a lectern—"a metaphorical barrier to her down-to-earth personality and her wry humor." And while she's taken on a "dizzying array of issues," no single one has resonated.
The nation expects, "perhaps unfairly," that its first ladies have a single defining issue, but Obama's approach has been "scattershot," writes Givhan in a lengthy assessment of the first lady's first year in the Washington Post. That could change this year, with her pledge to focus on childhood obesity. "In 2010, the first lady will lead the charge to improve the health of the nation's children. And, perhaps, she will come out from behind the lectern for good."