Those Aren't Short Shorts. They're Mommy Shorts.

By Steve Bryant
|  Wednesday, Aug 19, 2009  |  Updated 9:43 AM EDT
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Obama the Family Man

AP

First lady Michelle Obama and daughter Malia Obama, walk off Air Force One at Grand Canyon National Park Airport in Tusayan, Ariz., Sunday, Aug. 16.

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The first lady with a right to bear arms is now exercising her right to bear her legs.

That's what the chatty-o-sphere's saying about Michelle Obama's so-called "short shorts", which she was wearing when she strolled around the Grand Canyon on a family trip yesterday.

But those aren't short shorts. They're shorts, period.

What wizened, saggy chinned, fanny pack-wearing news anchor called them short shorts to begin with? What jealous, Dockers-clad, khaki-panted right wing zealot believed them? Who out there's really scandalized?

For serious. Those aren't short shorts. They're mommy bloomers.

Even webby bastion of liberalism The Huffington Post asked whether Michelle's attire was appropriate, before tut-tutting "after all, can you imagine Laura Bush or Patricia Nixon doing the same?"

Yes, but I'd rather stab my eyes out with drinking straws. The bendy ones.

The nut of the issue here is that the public's uncertain of how to judge Michelle Obama. We like her feminity, but we want her to be Jackie Onassis. That's the mold we're trying to put her in, with all that association entails -- high society sophistication, ball gowns, "Camelot".

That's a vision colored by nostalgia. That mediated vision from a less socially liberal time. The truth is Michelle Obama's not Jackie Onassis. But she's a helluva lot closer to that than Patricia Nixon, Laura Bush, or Rosalind Carter. Rejoice.

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